Light the Night Wrap Up
Nov 11, 2013 by Ashley Salvo
Just wanted to post a few photos of the wonderful Light the Night event from last week.
BIG thank yous to everyone who helped us by baking yummy treats for our bake sale, supporting the bake sale by buying yummy treats, donating, walking at the event, and keeping us and our mission in your thoughts and prayers. MUSC is a great community of medical professionals, volunteers & patients and that was definitely evident at the walk last week.
Our survivors, Adrian (and Adrain's wonderful mom, Tony) and Hayden meeting each other for the first time.
The walkers & baloons - red for supporters, white for survivors, & gold in memory
To date, we've raised $4,222.00!
The online donation page will remain open through December.
Thank you everyone!
Ashley & Bonnie
Oct 15, 2013 by Ashley Salvo
Hayden McIntosh Geer, Age 38
11 Year Survivor of Stage IV non-Hogkin’s Lymphoma
Patient of Dr. Robert K. Stuart, MUSC, Hollings Cancer Center
October 4, 2013
If you read nothing beyond the next few lines- read this. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with cancer, you MUST go to a cancer center engaged in research, such as MUSC. How do I know this? Because I’m alive when I shouldn’t be.
I was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 27 while living in New Orleans. I was referred to a very reputable oncologist working within a highly respected hospital system. When my parents and I met with him, he stated I needed to start treatment the very next day and, despite treatment, would most likely not make it ten years, most of those spent in treatment.
God intervened and a friend got us an appointment at M.D. Anderson, a six hour drive from New Orleans. Upon meeting my doctor there, we quickly realized he was as warm as the clinic floor and spoke to us as if we had advanced degrees in chemistry and medicine. But this we understood. When we told him the type of type of treatment the doctor in New Orleans had wanted to prescribe, he hesitated and then burst out laughing. “We haven’t used that type of treatment in twenty years to treat your type of cancer.” Our jaws dropped. We had only driven six hours but had come light years in terms of science and medicine. As far as my possible life span, he replied, “Any one of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow.”
Recognizing MUSC Holling’s Cancer Center (HCC) for its excellent research and treatment outcomes, M.D. Anderson allowed me to come home to Charleston to have my treatment administered by HCC. That’s when my true healing began.
Bonnie Boyce, RN was working with Dr. Stuart at the time and what a team they made. Bonnie was meticulous, always accessible, always had an idea to solve my latest crisis. She was unfailing in getting back to me for the smallest issues, because she realized, at that point in my life, there weren’t any small issues. She is the reason I am an RN today.
Dr. Stuart was obviously dedicated and had great warmth and genuine concern for his patients’ overall well being. And when I posed the dreaded: “How long do I have to live?” question, he thought for a moment, put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes and replied, “I think we can beat this thing.” For the first time since I was diagnosed, I was given hope.
Everyone from valets to the CNAs, the volunteers with the snack carts, and certainly the infusion nurses looked after me during my treatments with a familial like responsibility. And I could always count on Bonnie or Dr. Stuart to drop in during my treatments, whether at the HCC or in the main hospital.
A year and a half later they honored me by dropping in at my wedding party. I married my high school crush who had survived childhood Hodgkin’s Lymphoma only because his information had gotten to the National Cancer Institute where his diagnosis and treatment were corrected and he is now considered cured. But Dr. Stuart keeps an eye on him, too, just the same.
And now the National Cancer Institute recognizes Holling’s Cancer Center as one among only 66 cancer centers offering the most advanced research and clinical trials in the country, setting them apart as one of the nation's leading cancer research centers. Where else would you want to go if you had to hear the dreaded words, “You have cancer.” There’s no where else regionally even comparable to MUSC. Go with hope and confidence. And God Bless.
Hayden during treatment
Oct 08, 2013 by Ashley Salvo
From his mother, Toni:
Adrain woke up in the middle of the night and whimpered. His two year old body was weak, his eyes vacant. We took him to the East Cooper Emergency Room and before his father had even returned from the parking the car, Adrain was hooked up to fluids and a life- saving a blood transfusion. Little did we know, this was to be the first of over 25 transfusions our son would receive.
Adrain was transferred to The Medical University’s PICU where he was stabilized. The doctors suspected leukemia but initial test results came back negative. Dr. Xavier requested genetic testing and sent the original blood work to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion. And that is when we discovered why this gentle boy had become so sick. Adrain has a rare genetic condition known as Mosaic Downs Syndrome. Twenty percent of the cells in his body are affected with an extra 21st chromosome and this left him especially susceptible to contracting Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
We felt fortunate that the doctors didn’t give up and discovered his AML early. Less capable, less compassionate doctors would not have acted so persistently and effectively on his behalf. They began treatment almost immediately. Adrain spent a year at The MUSC Children’s Hospital while he went through six rounds of chemotherapy.
The nurses and doctors allowed him to participate in his care and he received a therapy doll which helped him to adjust to the initially frightening experiences. He spent hours painting pictures and stringing beads provided by child life specialists.
We were unable to work during this time as Adrain required constant supervision. I sat by his side day and night making sure he didn’t pull the line out of his body that was connected to give him medication and life saving blood. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society helped with small cash donations that made a big difference by covering an unpaid electrical bill and food.
I watched as nurses administered warm hugs alongside morphine and cancer killing drugs. The doctors came in before the sun rose and left late at night. They laughed and played with the little ones who were well enough and then disappeared quietly to mourn with families whose children hadn’t made it. Housekeeping staff carefully disinfected floors and sinks. They knew that in a cancer ward, fragile immune systems would not have the ability to fight off the usually irritating but harmless bugs that pass invisibly from doorknobs to people.
Adrian walked out of the hospital for the last time 18 months ago. He is in remission and doing the things healthy four year olds do- climbing, digging in the dirt, getting into things and making friends.
It hasn’t been easy, but it could have been much worse. Thanks to research made possible through generous donations from people like you, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has made new and better treatments possible- improving the odds of survival and making the painful symptoms easier for our son to handle.
I sometimes wonder “how many people chose to give up a new pair of shoes, or their daily latte in exchange for my son’s life?” We encourage you to give other families that gift of life. Donate today! Adrain says “Thank You!”
Adrain awating a chemo treatment at MUSC.
Adrain taking advantage of some play time at the Child Life Atrium Playroom.
Adrain (officially in remission!) and his mom, Toni, hanging out on one of the boats at the Leukemia Cup Regatta, 2013.
Welcome to our Team's Homepage
Oct 01, 2013
Welcome to our Light The Night Walk Team Fundraising Page
When The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk funds treatments that save lives, it's all due to people like you. Without your efforts LLS could not provide these lifesaving treatments. LLS really is making cures happen with your help.
Friends, families and co-workers form fundraising teams and millions of consumers help by donating at retail outlets. These efforts culminate in inspirational, memorable evening walks in over two hundred communities each fall across North America.
Please join our team's effort today by registering to walk or by making a donation. Your participation in the Light The Night Walk will save lives today.
Check back to this site frequently to see our progress and we'll be updating it with stories of survivors and people who have been affected by blood cancers.
Thank you for your support!