On March 30th of 2012 I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma…cancer in other words, blood cancer. First I thought about how I was going to die soon. Then I thought about who was going to raise my two boys and who would teach them the things that a father would normally teach their children while I was awash in the grief of realizing that I wouldn’t be able to see the men that they are to become.
After seeing oncologists at Frankfort, Vanderbilt, the Cleveland Clinic, and at the University of Kentucky I found out that my chances weren’t so dire, that people do survive this, and that many people live long lives. I was given an 80% chance, much higher than I initially thought, but 20% was still enough to keep me up at night!!! 6 rounds of CHOP-R chemotherapy, 3 PET/CT scans, 2 bone marrow biopsies, 1 laparoscopic surgery, several prayers and boom, I’m in complete remission…that was easy.
Now I could rest on my laurels and enjoy the relief that remission has given…but I just can’t do it. One out of every five people like me doesn’t make it, and with many other blood cancers the survival rate is worse. This is why I have accepted a nomination to represent the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center in the 2013 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I’ll be competing against several other candidates from across our LLS chapter.
Fifteen years ago my chances would have been in the 40-50% range. One reason outcomes for people like me have been improving is the research funded in part by the LLS. This funding came in part from the hard work of survivors like me (there are more of us now) who have beaten this disease. I was given a better chance because of the work of these dedicated individuals. My goal is lofty, I need to raise $30,000 dollars, which would go a long way towards supporting the research scientists that are on the verge of the next big break through.
Why is supporting the LLS such a good idea? Your donation can potentially help people suffering from a variety of diseases. Many LLS supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients but are now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers. They're even being tested in clinical trials for patients with a range of cancers including lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. LLS funded drugs like Gleevec, Sprycel, Arinza, Tasigna and Zolinza are now being tested for patients with other non-cancerous diseases like Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis.
All donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible. On behalf of blood cancer patients everywhere I thank you for your support! For more information about LLS, please visit www.lls.org.