Local Staff Contacts
Columbus, OH 43219
We are looking for the dollar...
...so that one day no one will have to hear the words "You have cancer."
I am a 32 year old, single mom of 3 children, a nurse, a friend, a daughter, a sister and an Aunt! In Summer of 2012 my life was going well. And suddenly I was hit with 3 little words that changed my life forever. "You have Leukemia" was told to me by a very shaken ER doctor. I had fallen down the stairs in the middle of the night while trying to get a drink of water. Being the stubborn nurse that I am, I went to work all week. By the weekend, I had a headache and was vomiting. Thinking that I had a concussion from the fall down the stairs, I went to the Emergency Room. I definitely had noticed that I had bruises all over my body, that as a nurse had never seen on someone who was not involved in a major trauma. I was questioned in the ER, if I was a victim of domestic violence and the normal history and physical. I had told the doctor that I had been ill for a month now with what I felt was a sinus infection, a fever and extreme fatigue. After I had a CAT scan and blood work a very shaken doctor come into my room. "I'm going to have our Hematologist come talk to you." "Why?" I asked. As he stuttered and stammered trying to find the words, I said "Just spit it out." "You have Leukemia!" And from that moment I was completely changed.
I was sent to The James where I would received countless unit of blood, plasma, blood test, bone marrow biopsies, spinal taps, Chemotherapy and eye surgery ( because I waited too long to get checked out, the pressure in my brain was so high they thought I was going to go blind) and treatment for Pancreatitis( a possible side effect of Chemotherapy). I was admitted for a month and a half, only getting to see my children when my mom brought them to see me (Some days were so bad, I didn't want my kids to see me that way) and I wasn't able to go to work.
My hair was starting to fall out in clumps and I was sick and tired of things happening to me so, I told one of the nurses to grab some clippers and we buzzed my head!!!
If you thought that I was healed at this point, you'd be wrong. I then had to go to Out patient Chemo 5 days a week for 5 weeks. I then got 2 weeks off, I went to work to try and feel some normalcy in my life. Then another 5 days a week for 5 weeks and a 2 week break which I again went to work. I was not allowed to take care of sick kiddos at my pediatrician's office, I do triage until I am healthy again!
I restart Chemotherapy on February 6th. These next 2 rounds will consist of 3 days of Chemo and then being home bound for the following 3 weeks because this will knock out my immune system. In between these rounds I will have to have blood work and a possible bone marrow biopsy to check how my body is responding. If all is well I will have to repeat the series and then I will have to take a medication by mouth every day for a year.
The doctors say the success rate for treating my type of Leukemia is 70%. I like those odds. I look forward to the day that I don't have to wear a mask to work, picking up my daughter from day care or to the grocery store, when I'm able to kiss those germ factories (my kiddos) again, and when I don't have an I.V line sewn into my chest! That will be a day of celebration for not only my family but my friends, co workers and many people I've just met on Facebook.
The only other day that will be a great day of celebration will be the day the world hears, "There is a cure and prevention of Leukemia!'
I thank each and every one of you for your efforts and donations to the Team In Training, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Each race, every breath, every penny and every life makes a difference and takes us that much closer to hearing those words, "We have a cure!"
Some of our amazing heroes from prior seasons!
Evan was diagnosed with JMML (Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia) at the end of 2007. JMML is a rare leukemia (cancer of the blood) that affects only about 2 in 1 million children. In March of 2008, two months after Evan?s 2nd birthday, he was admitted to Nationwide Columbus Children?s Hospital to undergo a bone marrow transplant (BMT) from a perfect-match, unrelated donor. The goal was to replace his failing and dysplastic bone marrow with an entirely new one that would help him live a full and healthy life. The doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of both surviving the transplant and beating his disease. After a long struggle, Evan finally began to show signs of engraftment (meaning that the new marrow had finally set up shop inside him and was beginning to send out new, healthy cells). From that point on, Evan?s body began to heal and slowly improve.
Evan is now 6 years old and entered Kindergarten in the fall of 2011. Deep down, Evan is an old soul from all he has been through, but on the surface, he is an ornery and funny kid that loves to laugh. He is also a tough kid that makes it a point not to cry when he has to get what he calls "pokers" (blood draws). He tries so very hard at all that he does and if you tell him that he can?t do something, it seems that just makes him try harder. Evan is an inspiration to us and we are so grateful and thankful that he is in our lives.
In August of 2009, while working on his Master?s Degree in Sports Administration, Matt began feeling fatigued and not like himself. Several weeks later he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very rare blood cancer that typically occurred in elderly patients. On Thanksgiving morning of 2009, he completed his last Chemotherapy treatment and began preparing himself for a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). A BMT is the best chance to gain remission, but Multiple Myeloma is still an incurable cancer. The survival rate is only 4-10 years so funding for this cancer is crucial. He decided that rather than staying put and hoping a cure was found, that he wanted to be a part of a cure. He and his family began fundraising and bringing awareness to this disease. He has gained an understanding of the importance of enjoying life, no matter what comes his way. Chances are likely that his cancer will return, and if and when it does, he is determined to go back to work to knock it out again.