Why I’m Fighting Back Against Cancer

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My whole life I’ve been blessed with good health. Sure, I’ve had my share of viruses and bacterial infections. I’ve enjoyed (said with HEAVY sarcasm) the Norovirus… TWICE… and both times had to fly home the next day. Talk about brutal. Don’t know about the Norovirus? Google with care…

But goodness knows I’ve never personally had to endure any long term illnesses or broken bones. For that, I praise God daily.

I, also (THANKS, BE TO GOD), have not had any of my immediate family members battle a serious illness or condition, barring a few broken bones and outpatient hospital visits.

So when my sister-in-law, Sarah, broke the news to us one warm May that the bout of pneumonia her father, Clive, had been battling turned out to be much more than that, my heart fell and broke for their family.

I saw Clive during one of his visits to Saint Louis just a few months before and he was in great health. He was jovial and putting back craft beers with family while laughing over a Christmas meal. Sarah and Kyle, my brother-in-law, had just been married the month before and everyone was in great spirits with a happy disposition for life.

clive-2014

Within only a matter of five months, Clive went from seemingly good health to fighting the most difficult fight of his life. Clive was diagnosed with not one, but TWO rare forms of leukemia. He endured numerous treatments, an uncomfortable amount of medications and lived at the hospital for months. He and his wife had to put off plans to move to St. Louis. Within a year, Clive’s life had changed and that of his family’s had, too.

Clive, fortunately, had a fantastic relationship with his employer and was covered with wonderful insurance. In September of 2015, Clive’s daughter, Rhian, volunteered to donate her bone marrow (she had proven to be the closest match to her father’s blood type) in an effort to conduct a bone marrow transplant with Clive. The hope was that the GOOD, healthy blood cells would break down and defeat leukemia in Clive’s blood.

Clive 2016.jpg

After living in what seemed like a bubble for over a month (to avoid any chance of catching a virus with a delicate immune system), Clive emerged CANCER-FREE.

After getting firsthand witness at the devastation cancer can cause in such a short amount of time, I made a promise that I would stand by my family and work to give back to others. I joined “Clive’s Crew,” a group of friends and family who seek to generate awareness for Leukemia and raise funds to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Our current campaign, for the Man/Woman of the Year 2017, is a challenging one. Within a matter of ten weeks, we’re going to work our BUNS off to raise close to, if not more than, $50,000. WOW!

So where does your money go, do you wonder? Check this out!

LLS is the leading source of free, highly specialized blood cancer information, education and support for patients, survivors, families and healthcare professionals.

PATIENT SERVICES

  • LLS Information Resource Center: LLS has created a toll-free call center staffed with master’s level healthcare professionals equipped with the latest information on all blood cancers, offering in-depth, individualized attention tailored to each caller’s needs, including customized clinical trial searches.
    • The IRC has touched more than 1 million callers since its inception in 1997.

  • Copay Assistance: Imagine having to visit the doctor MULTIPLE TIMES A WEEK. Imagine each visit incurs a copay until you meet your deductible. LLS offers assistance to eligible blood cancer patients who find it difficult to afford drug co- pays or health insurance premiums.
  • Travel Assistance: Some diagnoses require travel for the patients and their families. As funds are available, LLS offers financial assistance to qualified patients who need help with approved expenses such as ground transportation, air travel, and lodging.

 

 

RESEARCH

  • Since LLS first started investing in research more than 65 years ago, cures for many patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and Hodgkin lymphoma have been achieved.
    • Survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled since 1960.

    • From 2001 through 2015, more than 40 percent of new anti-cancer treatments were FDA-approved for blood cancer patients, more first approvals than for any other group of cancer patients.
    • LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research to find cures for blood cancer patients.
      • In Fiscal Year 2015 alone:
        • $67.2 million commitment in grant funding
        • 277 grants
        • 24 partnerships and supported projects through the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP)

 

 

Okay, so, I have you interested in donating. Whoo hoo!

But, how much should you donate? I can’t tell you that, but I can give you a general idea of how much it can cost families when a family member requires hospital stays. This was provided by my sister-in-law and should help you to understand how even $5 can go a long way for a family battling health and financial strains:

  • $10 – Parking Costs: Many hospitals charge patients and their visiting family, friends and caregivers for parking in the parking garages. The average cost-per-day of parking at a hospital garage is $10. Your donation of just $10 will provide a full day of parking for a family member/caregiver to visit their patient.
  • $20 – Meals: Hospital food is expensive, but that’s no surprise. The average cost-per-meal in a hospital cafeteria is $10. Your donation of just $20 will provide two meals for a family member/caregiver while they spend the day with their patient.
  • $30 – Gas Money: By making a donation of $30, you will be providing a family member/caregiver the fuel they need to make their daily trips to and from the hospital to visit their patient.
  • $100 – Therapy Session: By making a donation of $100, you will be providing a patient and/or their family members/caregivers the opportunity to visit a mental health professional to receive the help and support they need for their emotional wellbeing during the vicious cancer battle. It is important for patients to be able to express their feelings about their illness to prevent/combat depression – positivity and determination are key components of fighting cancer, and therapy is the best tool to achieve a good mindset. **Healthy Mind ~Healthy Spirit ~Healthy Body**
  • $150 – Hotel Accommodations: By making a donation of $150, you will be providing out-of-town family members the opportunity to visit their loved one.
  • $200 – Grocery Shopping: In today’s world we are all aware that we should be eating only clean, organic foods, but many families aren’t able to due to the high cost of good quality food. It is especially important for cancer patients to eat healthy, clean, whole foods to keep their bodies healthy and starve out the cancer cells which feed on processed and sugary fake foods. Your donation of $200 provides a patient with a supply of wholesome foods to nourish their bodies and help protect them against the sugar-loving cancer cells.

If you’re interested in giving back yourself or want to simply spread the word (the more people we reach, the more chance we have to make an impact), please visit my link below.

http://www.mwoy.org/pages/gat/stlouis17/klongo

Many thanks in advance for your love and support!

 

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