By Jenn LoConte
Whether providing hope for cancer patients or an education for his own children, Doug Senecal has always had a profound impact on the lives of those around him.
Dedicated to Caring for Patients
Born and raised in a blue collar family in Rhode Island, Doug realized, in his adolescence, that he wanted to do something meaningful with his life. So, at age 20, he joined the United States Air Force (USAF) to serve 4 years as an aircraft and structural firefighter, 7 months being in Saudi Arabia as part of the “Desert Watch” mission. While at his permanent duty station in middle Georgia he met his wife, Lauren, a true “Southern Belle”. During and after his service, the military’s financial assistance afforded him the opportunity to earn a degree from the Medical College of Georgia and he later completed fellowship in Liver Disease and Transplant at the University of Florida.
Early on in his training he was disappointed to learn of several liver cancer patients that had fallen through the cracks during follow-up and that there was a significant need for developing a multidisciplinary program.
“I didn’t want to see that situation repeat itself and at that point I knew I wanted to further advance research and therapies for those diagnosed,” says Doug.
It was at that point that he and his colleagues worked to develop a unique cancer care and research program. Doug was later recruited by the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, where he practiced for in the field of liver transplant and cancer research.
For the past 10 years, Doug has been committed to the world of medical and scientific research, developing therapies for a variety of cancers. Currently, he and his team from across the U.S. are working on a product for patients with recurrent prostate cancer. This radiopharmaceutical imaging agent, known as Axumin, detects prostate cancer very early in the course of recurrence and provides patients with much better options and outcomes. Doug has also been influential in his role developing better research and therapies involving liver, colon, pancreatic, and biliary cancers.
“Change is happening, but there are still obstacles to overcome,” says Doug. “The coordination over care in our horizontal healthcare system is complicated and both clinical and corporate medicine has had to adapt. In that, my teams have been able to facilitate and advocate for, now several, multidisciplinary cancer programs that support better patient care and more expeditious research.”
He recalls many memorable patient interactions that still affect him today. One, a woman from St. Augustine, was diagnosed with a very aggressive liver cancer.
“She was a prayerful lady who was led to seek the care of an advanced cancer program we had developed at UFL and we were able to, despite all odds being against her, extend her life so she could plan her daughter’s wedding and later meet her first grandchild before going to be with the Lord,” recalls Doug.
Doug’s family shares his compassion for those in need, and he is most proud of seeing his children — Jasmine (20), Spencer (12), Mollie (9), and Luke (6) — working together to serve others in the Christian mission field. The entire family spent 5 summers in the jungles of Honduras supporting a medical clinic and developing a pharmacy to better care for patients. Doug also spent time in West Africa, helping to improve medical conditions there. He is thankful to have had the opportunity to improve lives in that part of the world, especially those who were critically ill.
“I remember a 5-year old Honduran boy with a severe machete injury as well as an infant from Africa with failure to thrive. Both were palpable and memorable examples of the remarkable improvement that can be gained with Christ led medical mission efforts” he says.
Devoted to His Family
Spending quality time with his family is also very important to Doug. Homeschooling has allowed the Senecals to enjoy the opportunities of traveling while learning. This past summer, the family RV’d throughout the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast, learning about the history and geography of the country, including touring a potato chip factory, piano factory, and walking the Freedom Trail in Boston — a mobile school effort of sorts. They plan to travel out West after the holidays.
When Doug’s oldest daughter, Jasmine, was 13, part of her homeschool curriculum included an entrepreneurial business start-up. Father and daughter purchased several small properties located in underserved neighborhoods and in need of renovations. Doug says, “While we definitely gained a fair share of sweat equity, I also wanted Jasmine to learn the concept of entrepreneurial possibilities through successfully experiencing property renovation and then management of the property itself. All the children, in one way or another now contribute to managing those properties. We want our children to understand the importance of working their way through college and not having the proverbial free ride.” Doug was able to help his daughter create a modest, yet successful portfolio, develop a strong work ethic, contribute to her college education, and develop something successful that her siblings will also learn from. Doug says, “This portfolio is now maturing to include passive real estate investment as it grows and to allow more flexibility and time with my family.”
Larry J. Hickernell, DLP Capital Partners Investor Success Manager and friend of Doug’s, comments, “Doug is the ultimate family man, man of faith, and community leader. We are fortunate to know Doug and the Senecal family, and we are honored to have them as a part of our DLP family.”