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Clayton DeLane "Lane" Richards

Clayton DeLane “Lane” Richards was born in Bellingham, WA on November 17, 1957 to Gordon Richards and Willena (Shannon) Richards. He grew up in Forks, WA and started his family in Port Angeles, WA, living out his best years in Bellingham, WA. He was a diligent worker, loving father, wonderful husband, and one of the greatest friends anyone could ask for. The galaxy of lives he touched and people who loved him could rival the brightness and count of stars in the night sky.

On July 9, 2018, Lane was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. From there and through the rest of his life, he fought like hell, kept a persistent positive attitude, and made the absolute most of everything put his way. There is no doubt the cancer took a toll on Lane, but the fullness of his heart and warmth of his love and those around him was stronger than ever.

Lane passed away peacefully with his wife Karen by his side on August 22, 2020; he was 62. Lane was preceded in death by his father Gordon Richards and siblings Mike Richards, Lynette Anderson and Neal Richards. He is survived by his wife Karen Richards, his children Anthony, Lauren (Dalton) Smith, and Christopher, mother Willena, brothers Brian, Darren, and Chuck Richards, sister Angie (Darren) Voyles, sister-in-law Sherri Lepper, former wife Emily (Jim) Dryke, in-laws Curtis and Judy Winney, sister-in-laws Kim (Ken) Bechtold and Kathy (Pete) McKnight, and numerous nieces and nephews.

This fundraiser will support Lane’s former physician, Dr. Coffey, who is collaborating with Dr. Damian Green with furthering research into multiple myeloma that will help ensure future people who face-off against this cancer will stand stronger and greater chances at beating it back. In a way, it will be a legacy of healing that will embolden others with fortitude, endurance, and strength like Lane was known for.

The research that the team is pursuing is heavily influenced by the challenging disease course that Lane had experienced.  Like so many other patients with multiple myeloma, Lane’s immune system was severely crippled by his cancer as well as the powerful chemotherapy he had to endure to fight it.  As result, he developed frequent, life-threatening infections and dangerously low blood counts that required regular interruptions in his cancer treatment to give Lane time to recover at the cost of allowing the cancer to grow.  

The aim of this research is to understand why the immune system fails patients with multiple myeloma and to uncover new strategies to revitalize a weakened immune system giving patients a chance to fight the disease.  One such strategy is to use leftover blood stem cells after a prior bone marrow transplant that would have otherwise been discarded as a way to boost up the blood counts and re-introduce healthy immune cells.  In fact, Lane received a blood stem cell boost when there was no other option to pursue that enabled him a period of recovery so that he could go on to receive immunotherapy to treat the myeloma and buy him precious time.

 Your gift will support research pursuit in honor of Lane to restore what cancer has stolen from so many people to bring back quality of life and hopefully a cure for this terrible disease.


UPDATE 7/7/21: 

Dr. Coffey would like to sincerely thank everyone who contributed to Lane’s fundraiser page at the Fred Hutch.  Your contributions are going a long way to making a significant impact to find better treatments for multiple myeloma that will help other patients like Lane.

Dr. Coffey is excited to announce the completion of a recent clinical trial published April 2, 2021 in the journal JCO Precision Oncology.  In this study, twenty-five patients with relapsed multiple myeloma underwent testing to identify the optimal drug to treat their cancer before ever taking the medication.  Patients in the trial were asked to undergo a bone marrow biopsy to collect their tumor cells that were then exposed to 170 cancer drugs in the lab.  Within an average of five days, the research team was able to report back to the patients which drugs they are most likely to benefit from.  Among the patients who received the recommended therapy, 92% had an effective response.  This exciting result is the first time drug sensitivity testing was proven to be a feasible option to guide treatment decisions for patients with multiple myeloma.  Motivated by this success, Dr. Coffey and his colleagues continue to enroll more patients in the study and they hope that it will one day become the standard of care for all patients with multiple myeloma.