Christine Tucker shares her partner Mark’s NET journey with hopes of raising awareness and funds for NET research.


“Mark and I met about ten years ago. We exchanged a few text messages, then a phone call and something about his demeanor eased my anxiety about meeting him. I was a very cautious dater – I had all kinds of rules – my friends thought it was laughable. But there was something about Mark that made me comfortable right away. The instant ease and connection we had both talking on the phone and our first coffee date nine days later made me let him into my life and my heart almost immediately.”

Christine graciously shared her love story with her partner of ten years, Mark, who passed from neuroendocrine cancer in October of 2023, just weeks shy of his 52nd birthday. Diagnosed during the pandemic, Mark’s journey was fraught with misdiagnoses, lack of accurate information and limited access to care due to the pandemic.

“In 2020, he noticed some blood in his stool and was experiencing some digestion issues. His general practitioner said it was nothing, that they sent a sample for testing but didn’t find anything. It took nine months to get a colonoscopy,” she said.

Mark was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.

“It was truly awful.  I couldn’t go to appointments with him because of Covid, so I would sit in the car and listen on my cell phone. And he was told that he was cured. But within six months, the cancer was back, and at a routine scan appointment, the doctor said, “You have a mass in your pelvis. Sorry.” And that was it,” Christine explained.

“That was a gut punch. Mark asked about surgery, and they said it wasn’t possible, that the cancer was already in his organs. The team at Sloan Kettering, where we went for a second opinion, were the ones who identified the neuroendocrine cancer. By then, it was in his liver, lungs, and spine.”

As part of her grieving process, Christine hosted an online fundraiser for NETRF to commemorate Mark’s 52nd birthday. She raised over $6200 in just a month and plans to continue to support NETRF however she can to raise awareness and fund critical research.

“His story didn’t have to end that way,” she said.

This past December, on what would have been the 10th anniversary of their first date, Christine revisited some of their favorite places and recalled one of their most romantic evenings.

“Every year, we would recreate our first “real” date, which was on the winter solstice. We went out to dinner in a blizzard and then to see the holiday lights in the park. No one was there that night. Everything was that perfect kind of silence you get in a snowstorm. The streets were empty, the lights dimmed and hazy in the falling snow, and it was magical. Pure connection in silence and beauty. A night I’ll never forget, and a night we celebrated every year after that.”

“I cherish the month of December for those beautiful times; I try to let go of the sad ones. I know that with each step I take, he will always be with me. The calendar of memories may be turned to the last page, but I carry them with me. He was the love of a lifetime and a part of my life I’ll always hold close to my heart.”

Christine and Mark in front of their town's holiday lights, the location of their first "real" date.