Once again this summer, on Saturday, June 22nd, I’ll be participating in the Ride for Roswell in honor of my wife Laura, a survivor of lower mandible osteosarcoma. Roswell Park Cancer Institute, along with ECMC, have played a huge part in both her past and ongoing treatment for the terrible disease that shook her world, along with myself and our four sons when she was diagnosed a little more than two years ago. Ever since she has been physically able to following her recovery, Laura has been an amazing advocate for those suffering from cancer, especially other young moms. I can’t come close to adding up the hours of phone calls or hundreds of texts that she has exchanged with others going through a similar situation of their own, doing whatever she can to help them out. As tough as it is for her to relive her experience everytime she describes it, I can’t think of a better way to help someone else who’s going through a horrendous situation.
In addition to helping patients, she has made it a goal of hers to raise enough money for sarcoma research to someday change the way the chemo is administered so future patients will have additional treatment options. The drugs Laura was administered were the same drugs someone with her diagnosis would have given 50 years ago. How amazing would it be to have new research uncover new ways to rid the body of sarcoma without the need of long term chemo drips or intricate surgeries?
Last year Laura’s Ride for Roswell Team, Sunshine for Sarcoma, raised over $26,000 – an amazing sum, especially considering it was Laura’s and my first year doing the ride. Though it’s a lofty goal, we hope to raise at least that much again for 2019.
While at Roswell, Laura’s chemotherapy protocol called for a cocktail of 3 drugs, given over a 96 hour period, that required her to stay at the hospital for the entire time. For the months prior to her surgery, she lived through 4 chemo “cycles” – Monday through Friday at Roswell, then about two weeks recovery time. You can imagine the how tough living through the ordeal was for her and our family. She fought through as tough as anyone could have, but it took a huge toll on her body, one that she’s still in the midst of recovering from.
Post-chemo, her 9 hour surgery required the removal of her lower jaw (replaced with her tibula from her leg), some teeth and associated tissue, nerves and skin. Her jaw was wired shut for 5 weeks following the surgery. As heartbreaking as it was for me to watch her go through the trauma and recovery, I can’t imagine what it was like for her. However, she persevered and has since made a miraculous recovery. Her amazing attitude is infectious to anyone who meets her. Once a dedicated runner and workoutaholic, she was reduced to a few steps at a time with the aid of a walker in our living room following her surgery. Now, she’s back outside, running as far and as fast as ever. People who had never met her until now would never fathom the nightmare she’s been through.
We just found out that over the next year, Laura will be undergoing multiple reconstructive surgeries in her jaw, stemming from her original surgery a few years ago. While these procedures were always planned, her jaw bone has only recently healed enough to allow for these surgeries to progress. Her plan from Day 1 of her diagnosis was to get back to the point where she felt like herself again, no matter how hard the fight was. I’ve never doubted her for a day.
Please consider a donation, no matter the size, to the Ride for Roswell. Whether it’s on behalf of Laura and her continuing fight or someone else close to you who has their own story and struggle, every dollar helps. In fact, Roswell Park Cancer Institute is able to leverage an additional $13 in new grant funding for every dollar donated.
Laura, myself, Carter, Owen, Hudson & Sawyer appreciate your support and look forward to the day when cancer goes the way of numerous other devasting diseases that were eradicated by the genius and hard work of doctors and researchers. If you’re willing to donate, please follow the below link to the Ride’s site. We sincerely appreciate any donation that’s possible to help others down the road.