In 2003, Alyssa graduated from American University, in Washington, DC with a BA in Education and Communication. She went on to obtain her Master’s in Communications and wrote her thesis on “The Power of Hope.” She graduated with Honors in 2006.
Alyssa’s surgery took 14 1/2 hours. Dr. Shah split her jawbone and opened it like a
book, then he removed the large tumor from her tongue and cancerous lymph nodes. Dr. Cordeiro performed a free tissue transfer to reconstruct her tongue and upper palate, removed a portion of skin and tissue from her forearm, then reconnected vines /microsurgery in her new tongue to ensure it would flourish and heal.
Dr. Huryn and his staff created a palatal augmentation prosthesis that lowered her upper palette. After spending two weeks in MSKCC Hospital in NYC, Alyssa began concurrent radiation therapy and chemotherapy at Greenwich Hospital in CT. Doctor Fass and the staff executed her radiation treatments. Doctor Arthur Rosenberg designed and implemented her chemotherapy treatments.
It was an absolutely grueling course of therapy. What should have been seven intense weeks of treatments turned into six tumultuous months. Alyssa suffered countless complications and numerous setbacks. She was rushed to the ER and hospitalized a multitude of times. Then had another surgery to insert a stomach tube to ensure hydration and nutrition.
“Throughout my battle with cancer, the power of hope is what kept me afloat emotionally and mentally. My team of world renowned doctors, my family and friends helped me survive and thrive. I taught myself how to swallow, eat, talk and laugh again. Without hope I’m not sure what I would have done.” Alyssa Fischer-Reeder
Following her recovery from HNC treatment, she has worked for health-related nonprofits and taught Pre-K. In 2013, she joined Doctor Jatin Shah and Michael Douglas on a radio tour to increase awareness about Oral Head and Neck Cancers which was nominated for a SABER award.
In 2019, she founded The HNC Fund [ Head Neck Cancer Fund]. In 2020, she became a featured blogger for Cancer Be Glammed raising awareness for Head and Neck Cancer. Doctor Peter Cordeior, nominated Alyssa for the Patient of Courage Award for 2020 by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and won the distinguished title. In 2020, she became an HNCA Ambassador [Head Neck Cancer Alliance] dedicated to educating the community at large about HNC. She was asked to join the Advisory Board for Courage Unmasked 9114HNC Fund.
In October of 2020, Alyssa underwent an emergent Mandibulectomy Fibula Free Flap Jawbone Replacement surgery. Thankfully, her newest world-renowned team of surgeons Dr. Ian Ganly and Dr. Evan Matros at MSKCC, orchestrated a 12.5 hour procedure to reconstruct her jawbone. Since surgery, she has learned how to walk, eat, and speak again for the second time while caring for her two children with the help of her husband. After healing from her latest surgery, she has been actively helping our Third HNC Fund Patient of the Year and has been working on expanding the HNC Fund vision.
In 2022, Alyssa became a Cancer Hope Network Support Volunteer. Later in the year, Alyssa was then selected to become an Elevate Ambassador for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivor-ship to develop and execute a plan-of-action to improve survivorship care in her local community.