On Sept. 9, 2016, our lives were turned upside down. Just five days before her diagnosis Grace was celebrating her 9th birthday with friends, happy and feeling great! Then shockingly, five days later, she was diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukemia. Dark bruising on Grace’s legs and petechia on various spots on her body led us to take her to the doctor. Once our pediatrician received her blood test results back, he called and sent us immediately to Children’s Hospital in Omaha. Little did we know that we would not be coming home, but instead, she would be having surgery the next day to implant her central line. She began chemo immediately, both through her IV and also injected into her spine. We would be spending the next five months in Omaha watching Grace battle for her life.
Grace fought with a positive attitude, faith and perseverance. She refused to let cancer bring her down! When Grace got down, the next day she was back up and determined to remain positive through it all. Grace talked to God daily about what she was feeling, and there is no doubt He carried her and all of us through this storm.
Grace now wants to become a pediatric oncology nurse . . . at Children’s in Omaha. The nurses would teach her anything she wanted to know, and by the end of her 143 days at Children’s, she knew how to take her own vitals, flushed central lines that her nurse implanted in her dolls and was only in her room if she was too sick to sit out at the nurses’ station with her nurse friends that had become family.
On Jan. 2, 2017 Grace had her final doses of chemo. She then fought another battle as she contracted a virus that led to severe sepsis. But ultimately, Grace won. We finally brought her home on Jan. 29. She is in remission, and she has lived life to the fullest! She is back at school and dance, doing all the things she loves so much.
When Noah was 13-months-old, he was walking, but went back to crawling. His parents took him to the doctor, but they couldn’t figure out what was going on. They didn’t know then that it was because Noah’s joints and organs were swollen. His body was trying to fight Leukemia. Since Noah’s family was getting ready to move back to Lincoln, his parents called back to some doctors they knew and scheduled a full work-up of tests.
They were getting into the car after Noah’s appointment, and a nurse came running out of the office after them. She said they needed to go immediately to Children’s hospital. Noah’s hemoglobin was really low. His white blood count was way up. Noah was lucky, because his type of Leukemia, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), is the most common kind. His chance of survival was 70 percent. Noah’s parents had strong faith that he would beat the cancer.
Noah feels blessed through his struggle. He said, “I’ve never really felt like a victim. I believe now that Leukemia has made me better. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been an incredible resource for me and my family. The research funded by LLS was a huge part of why I was able to win the battle and survive. But Leukemia isn’t just something that I was lucky to survive, I think about it all the time and use it as an example of how blessed I am to be here right now.”
I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend; I am a cancer survivor. On March 19, 2010, my husband Tyler, my son Cooper and I welcomed our baby daughter Sophia into our family. Three weeks later I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I would need to have surgery to remove a mass and pathology studies done to identify the type of cancer, which was presumably a kind of lymphoma. After two surgeries, numerous tests and scans, countless physician visits and lab draws, six rounds of chemotherapy and every side effect that goes with it, a hospital stay and finally 25 rounds of radiation, I heard those golden words … remission!
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) was a lifeline for my family and me when I was diagnosed. We visited their website frequently for information and LLS also provided me with valuable co-pay assistance.
I also happened upon information for their Team In Training (TNT) program, which raises monies for LLS. I made it my goal to join TNT and fundraise and train for a half marathon when I was done with treatment. I am proud to say that I completed two half marathons with TNT and in April 2012 completed my first full marathon. Please share my story of hope with your friends and family.
In April 2004, after having a CT scan to screen for marfans syndrome, Mac was told that he had cancer. After having a biopsy done, he was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This type of lymphoma is classified as treatable but not curable. In 2004, he had five months of chemo followed by two years of maintenance chemo. This treatment put him into remission. In 2011, the cancer returned, and he did additional treatments that reduced the amount of cancer he had but did not get him back into a full remission. In March 2015, he spent 20 days at UNMC and did an autologous stem cell transplant. At this point, he is cancer free with some hope that the cancer might not come back.
Mac served on the Nebraska chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Board (LLS). “Getting connected with caring people at LLS that can educate and help new patients understand the services and financial help that is available to them is huge. This says nothing of the treatment research that is funded to allow people like me to still be alive 12 years after being diagnosed. “
Mac is grateful to LLS and the work they do. “In 2004, our prayers were that I would live to see all our kids graduate from high school. And 12 years later we’re excited to welcome our first grandchild into the family. God is good, and LLS helps do his work for people dealing with cancer.”