Story by: Erica Coghill on August 12, 2019
Jeanne Pierce is working through stage 4 lung cancer and enjoys having some fun with Michael F. Driscoll, M.D., her oncologist with Norton Cancer Institute.
A few days before the Kentucky Derby, Jeanne dared Dr. Driscoll to bet $100 on her pick — Country House. The horse would leave the gate with the second-highest odds in the field. She just liked the name.
“I said, ‘My wife will kill me if I bet $100 on anything,’” Dr. Driscoll said. “So I bet on Maximum Security like everybody else.”
But Dr. Driscoll was thinking about his patient and her brazen challenge, so he put $2 to win on Country House at 65-to-1.
Maximum Security crossed the finish line first, but a historic disqualification gave the Derby to Country House.
“She won 130 bucks!” as Dr. Driscoll put it.
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Jeanne made her way to an appointment with Dr. Driscoll. Buzz about the controversial Derby was tapering off. Pretty much everyone who had money on Country House had collected.
But there was one person who’d yet to cash in on the horse she believed in long before the horses left the gate at the muddy Churchill Downs track.
Dr. Driscoll had been counting down the days to Jeanne’s appointment, anticipating how he’d surprise her with the winnings — hoping to put a smile on her face amid the cancer battle she’s been fighting.
Jeanne is undergoing her fourth round of immunotherapy. The 36-year-old recently fought through a stroke, blood clots and fluid in her lungs.
But she was all smiles during her latest visit.
“So you know what I did?” asked Dr. Driscoll, walking into the patient room with a gift bag in hand.
Jeanne pulled a fascinator out of the bag, which also contained the Derby winnings.
“You bet on my horse?” Jeanne asked.
“I bet on your horse,” Dr. Driscoll said.
“Aw, thank you!” Jeanne said with a smile. “He’s the No. 1 doctor. He takes good care of me.”
Dr. Driscoll said next year he’s letting Jeanne pick his Derby horse.
“Maybe one of these days I’ll go to Churchill Downs for the Derby, and I’ll wear this,” Jeanne said, holding her new fascinator.
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