Careers Blog Home > Milestones in Remission — An Interview with Account Executives, Megan and Ethan

Milestones in Remission — An Interview with Account Executives, Megan and Ethan

Christin Sullivan

At Foundation Medicine, our commitment to transforming cancer care is driven by a wholehearted connection to the cause. This mission is meaningful for all of us, but for those who have battled the disease themselves, the connection is deeply personal. We’re proud to celebrate the significant cancer-free milestones of two of our esteemed Account Executives, Megan Clifford and Ethan Hawes. Join us in honoring the strength and resilience of these remarkable individuals as they share their inspiring journeys and invaluable contributions to the transformation of cancer care. 

Personal Cancer Stories

Megan's journey with cancer began at the age of 11, when she was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin's lymphoma — young for such a serious diagnosis. She received comprehensive treatment at Stanford in California: chemotherapy, radiation and various surgeries aimed at sparing her organs. During a formative period of her childhood, this early battle with cancer shaped her outlook on life and how her story might unfold. Her treatment was completed within six months, and she has had no evidence of disease since then. However, Megan notes that cancer experiences are often life-long. The treatments she received in 2003, which have since improved for this kind of diagnosis, led to risk of developing secondary cancer types. Megan vigilantly follows healthcare guidelines by undergoing regular screenings, blood checks and other health assessments to monitor for any lingering effects of treatment. Now 20 years cancer-free, her courage and resilience shine through as she shares her story, exemplary of the long-term dedication to health that cancer survivors face. 

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Ethan's cancer journey began at the age of 21 during his junior year of college. He was studying abroad in Spain when he decided to begin training for a marathon in Madrid. While training, he began experiencing gradual hip pain which intensified over time. He completed the marathon despite the pain, but it became unbearable two weeks later. Upon returning to the US in the summer of 2013, he found himself unable to put any weight on his hip. An X-ray revealed something suspicious, and a biopsy later confirmed it to be a plasmacytoma, a tumor of plasma cells of bony or soft tissue, in his hip. Further tests uncovered another tumor: which changed the diagnosis from a solitary plasmacytoma to multiple myeloma, a blood cancer found in the plasma cells in the bone marrow. In 2013, he underwent chemotherapy and radiation to treat an apple-sized tumor and surgery to stabilize the fracturing hip bone. Ethan commemorates the date of the successful stem cell transplant on June 23, 2014, as his point of remission. He shares his insights on an often-overlooked part of many cancer patients’ stories: time after remission, where he continued to feel the impact of his diagnosis. His hip did not heal, leading to a total hip replacement in 2016 to regain the quality of life he had lost over the preceding three years. The profound impact these events had on Ethan’s life has left every day of his journey vividly timestamped in his mind. He has now been cancer-free for 10 years since his point of remission, showing incredible strength every step of the way.   

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Holding the harvested stem cells following conditioning chemo right before the transplant in June 2014


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The Career Paths That Led to Foundation Medicine 

Megan's career has been shaped by her childhood experience with cancer, drawing her to supporting the oncology field in various ways. Her early battle with the disease fueled a passion for supporting cancer patients and survivors. In college, she worked in a psychosocial oncology lab that focused on how cancer survivors in college relate to their peers. Her commitment to oncology extended beyond academics; she volunteered at a nonprofit camp in Colorado, offering adult cancer survivors a week-long adventure in the mountains. Prior to joining Foundation Medicine, she worked in the clinic and screened patients for life changing clinical trials, utilizing genomic information to aid in testing novel therapies for cancer treatment. Her positivity and support of others has made a lasting difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. 

Megan's experiences brought her to Foundation Medicine where she continues to make a difference. Facing the disease she has personally battled can be a double-edged sword, but she gains inspiration and deep fulfilment from the opportunity to help others. She’s proud to know that her work directly helps patients and their families by offering them hope and options. Reflecting on her own treatment 20 years ago, Megan is grateful to be a part of an era where diagnostic tests and services are available and more patients can be helped. The sense of purpose and the chance to impact the lives of cancer patients drives her every day at Foundation Medicine. 

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For Ethan, it was not long after his hip replacement that he realized he wanted to support the field of oncology, starting with medical device sales. He was determined to be as close to the patient as possible to pay it forward by helping others who were going through what he had endured. From medical device sales to vaccine sales, he is driven by a deep intrinsic sense of motivation to work with and help patients. Ethan was once hesitant to share that he previously had cancer, worried others might question his strength — now, he sees it as his greatest strength, stating that he wouldn’t change his story if he could. His experience has changed his perspective, helping him build incredible relationships with oncologists and our partners and inspiring him to transform cancer care. He feels humbled by the opportunity to work in this industry and cherishes every chance to make a positive impact, always mindful of his journey and the perspective it has given him. 

When the opportunity at Foundation Medicine arose, it felt like the perfect fit for Ethan. The company culture is what immediately stood out; its size allowed for thoughtful collaborations across functions and the passion and dedication that his colleagues embodied was evident from the start. What really fuels Ethan is the memories of being a patient in Boston, the same territory he now covers as Account Executive. He gets chills thinking about his days of recovery after his stem cell transplant, exhausted, getting up from the bed and looking outside the window down onto the city of Boston and watching people walk effortlessly up and down the street. Now that he's on the other side of the patient experience, he is inspired every day by his full-circle journey. Ethan expresses immense gratitude for being healthy, alive and part of an organization dedicated to transforming cancer care. 

Looking Toward the Future of Diagnostics and Beyond 

Megan and Ethan are both very excited about what the future may bring both in the oncology space and at Foundation Medicine. Megan emphasizes that we are at a critical time for diagnostics. She is hopeful about our ability to meet patients’ needs and is proud to be a part of a company that is leading the charge in this area. Given her history, she wants to be at the forefront of oncology care because she is mindful that diseases can come back. She acknowledges that although there is never a good time to have cancer, right now patients have the most options available, and she's excited to be a part of the important work being done. 

Ethan echoes Megan's sentiments. He is proud to be part of a company that provides a comprehensive portfolio of high-quality tests that can help provide patients and their healthcare teams with insights and information needed. Additionally, Ethan is grateful to be a part of an organization that values the voices of employees who have battled cancer themselves. This collective commitment to innovation and patient care fills both Megan and Ethan with pride and optimism for the future of the important work being done in oncology. 

We are grateful to have Megan and Ethan on our team at Foundation Medicine. Their choice to work with us and offer their valuable perspectives as cancer survivors has touched countless lives in meaningful ways. They inspire us all with their exemplary strength, passion and good spirits which radiate throughout our teams and fuel our mission. We are incredibly fortunate to have them share their stories and unwavering dedication with us. As we celebrate their milestones — Megan’s 20 years cancer-free and Ethan’s 10 years cancer-free — we honor their resilience and gracious contributions to the transformation of cancer care.  

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