Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Not Giving In.

Last September, my family and I participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light The Night Walk" in honor of my youngest brother-in-law, Matt, who was fighting an extremely rare auto-immune disorder (EBV-HLH), as well as NK T-cell lymphoma. Since then, we've been through hell and have shouted, cheered, and cried from the ropes, feeling helpless, as he fought round after round. Until finally, he did come out victorious in the ring, and just in time to let his body gather the physical strength needed for his bone marrow transplant (BMT).

The BMT in December gave us all such hope! Then he just needed to make it to Day 100 without complications and we could all breathe easier again. But around Day 60 (mid-Feb.), he fell out of remission... the incredibly aggressive NK T-Cell lymphoma and EBV-HLH had returned.

Were we devastated? Depressed? Absolutely. But also determined.

"You gotta swim." That's what we tell one another, what we tell Matt, and have from the very beginning of this godawful ride. (The words come from Jack's Mannequin's song "Swim" on The Glass Passenger album.) In the months before the BMT, my husband had printed out the inspirational lyrics so they were large enough for Matt to read from his hospital bed, but they also reminded all of us who visited him to just keep our heads above and "swim for brighter days." If you care to, you can hear the song on the Jack's Mannequin MySpace page (it's the first song that plays when the page loads).

But the fantastic news? Within a month, he was back in remission. His new immune system kicked some lymphoma and HLH booty. :) Thank you to the anonymous stem cell donor, too! You saved a life back in December!

Yes, there have been up days and down days since, sure. But we're holding out Hope for more ups than downs now.

Which brings me to this...

Some of you may remember when I'd posted "Here With You" last September. Well, we're walking and fundraising with Team Jack's Mannequin in Anaheim again this year, but in August this time! Click here to go to my 2009 "Light The Night" page. (Or see the sidebar.)

And why did we chose Team Jack's Mannequin? Well, because the front man/lead singer of JM, Andrew McMahon, is an Acute Lymphatic Leukemia survivor, as well as a hero to many, as he gives to cancer research and helps others deal with cancer through LLS and his Dear Jack Foundation.

So, if you're able to help me raise some money to wipe out blood cancer... then WONDERFUL!!! Any amount is greatly appreciated. And believe me, I realize the economy totally sucks right now...I do. So maybe if you can't give, you wouldn't mind helping me spread the word? Or maybe donating and helping spread the word?! Wow, that would be awesome, too! :)

Of course, words of support and encouragement are always welcome! I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has reached out to us this past year... your support means more than the world to our family.

Also, if you're in the area and would like to join our team, click the "view team" button on my page and join in! We'd love to have you!! Oh, and there are Jack's Mannequin Teams all over the nation, so you can find one close to you and join that one if it's more convenient! Last year, the Jack's Mannequin "Light The Night" team (nationwide) raised $100,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! How cool is that?! (Btw, when our family read that press release last November, it floored us. Absolutely stunned and humbled us. And the tears flowed.)

Thank you so much and I hope you're all doing well.

Take Care,


P.S. Remember... Hope. Courage. Determination. Strength. Cure.