On June 4th, Wil and I and our friends Shawn and Michelle will be running in the Rock-n-Roll Marathon in San Diego as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation. This will be the second time we have participated in this marathon. The first time we did it was in 2004, because our friend Kris was diagnosed with leukemia and we wanted to do something to help funding for finding a cure. If you didn’t read about this when we did it the first time, here’s a brief summary of what happened.
In August of 2003, our friend Kris was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. A month later she started chemotherapy at her local hospital. Treatment was unsuccessful, so she was admitted to City Of Hope Hospital in Duarte, California to begin an aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy. The cancer was taking over quickly so her only hope was to harvest her own stem cells and transplant them back to her after treatment. This was a very grueling time for Kris as well as her family and friends as we all felt so helpless to do anything. I wasn’t Kris’ blood type so I couldn’t donate to her. I tried donating platelets three times, but my body decided it didn’t want to let me. Then I heard about the Rock-n-Roll marathon in San Diego for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and knew that was the way to help. A nurse at the hospital told me it costs $25,000 a day for cancer research so I decided that would be our fund-raising goal. I wrote about Kris’ progress on Wil’s site and our own training progress for the marathon. So many people wrote such wonderful words of support and had stories of their own with loved ones battling cancer and making it through, I printed out all these comments and brought them to Kris in the hospital to read. It was very inspirational for her and a great distraction while she spent all those weeks in bed. Kris said her treatment was the hardest thing she had ever done and would never do it again. When it came time to do the marathon, we were so excited because not only did WWdN readers raise $28,420, but Kris was waiting for us at the finish line.
Over the past two years, Wil has mentioned to me on several occasions that people wanted to know how Kris was doing, and if I’d make a post for his blog about her. Today, I can finally tell you. The first year was great. Kris’ bone marrow biopsy came back clean and her health continued to improve. She got her hair back and was able to go on vacation.
In October of last year, Kris went in for a check up. She had been feeling a little tired, but didn’t think anything of it. A biopsy revealed that her leukemia was back. Fortunately, doctors had been searching for a stem-cell donor since Kris first started her treatment in 2003, so they had a match for her. With the progression of the cancer, she needed to start treatment immediately. She went home for a week, and tried to decide if she wanted to go through the treatment again. She finally decided to do it so she could see her son graduate from high school, and Kris spent all of the holidays as well as her birthday in the hospital. I would visit her as often as I could, even if it was just to bring her some lip balm or a crossword puzzle. We would watch TV together and talk about her son’s college plans. Some days were so bad for her I would only be able to write a message on the dry erase board in her room letting her know I had been there. It was so hard to see her like that; I was so worried she wouldn’t make it. She had the maximum amount of radiation with her first transplant, so this time was all chemotherapy which made her really sick. She was worried her transplant wouldn’t work (and so were we) but it did. She fought like crazy, didn’t give up, and came home shortly after her birthday at the beginning of January.
In late January, Kris wasn’t feeling well again. A high fever put her back in the hospital with an infection in her Hickman catheter and bacterial pneumonia. This time, Kris spent 45 more days in the hospital. It was really scary but she’s been home for a couple of weeks now. Last week she got her biopsy results: All clear!
During Kris’ second round of treatment, we were thinking about how she said she would never go through it again. At the end of the marathon in 2004, we said we would never do it again because it was the hardest thing we had ever done. To see Kris’ strength as she goes through all this is amazing. So we decided if she could do it twice, so could we. And this time, we are going to try to get twice as much in donations!
We were overjoyed by the kind words of support for Kris and for all the donations that came in from all over the world. Every single dollar makes a difference, and every single comment and e-mail helped lift Kris’ spirits. Her doctors told us in 2004 that she was a fighter; she told us on several occasions that she was fighting so hard because she didn’t want to let down all the people who were pulling for her. It was incredible to see how many people were willing to be a part of something so great. We have a donation page set up through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We only have a couple of months to reach our donation goal. Please help us reach it as we prepare for the marathon in San Diego on June 4th.
I’ll drop in here from time to time with more Comments from the Wife, to update you all on fundraising and our training progress (We’re way behind. Someone tell my husband to step away from the computer and exercise more!) Wil is going to have some in-person fundraisers in Los Angeles, and at least one charity poker tournament at PokerStars, so watch for that, too.
Thank you so much!!
Note from Wil: The original "Comments from the Wife" posts are: 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.0.
(Yeah, we just went for an entirely new version after 3.7, because we,
uh, found a new version of the working-it-out software in the CVS and
decided to, uh, recompile the . . . uhm . . . unit. Yeah.)