My mother Kathy was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in August 2017. At that time, her blast count was 13% (0-5% is healthy). She started a four-month treatment plan, with each month consisting of three injections a day for seven days, followed by three weeks of blood cell count monitoring. Without question, she was black-and-blue by the end of the seven days of injections and required blood transfusions every single time she went in. However, she never complained.
On January 8 2018, I took her for her usual monitoring appointment. Because she had uncontrolled bleeding from her gums and her platelet count was 6000 (healthy is 150,000 - 450,000; her transfusion threshold at the time was 20,000), she was admitted to Roswell. Two days later, her bone marrow biopsy results came back. Her blast count was now 83%; the diagnostic criteria for leukemia is 20%. She was officially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Her oncologists, Dr. Swapna Thota and Dr. Elisabeth Griffiths, spent that evening and the next day calling other oncologists around the world getting their opinions on the next step. Dr. Thota admitted that she could not sleep that night, knowing that Mom would need a Miracle to beat the most aggressive case of leukemia that she had ever seen.
Mom did get a few miracles along the way: the fact that nothing happened while her platelets were at 6000, one brain bleed where she had only a little loss of peripheral vision, a fall out of bed in the middle of the night which tore her PICC line out, and two infections. But she never got the Miracle she needed to beat AML; she suffered a catastrophic brain bleed, passing away while my brothers held her hands, on February 21 2018.
There are a million stories like my Mom's. One of those may belong to your loved one.
So please help me in the fight against cancer.
The money that I raise from the Ride for Roswell will go to the memorial fund that we started in my mother's name. With that money, we have and will continue to fund studies done by Dr. Griffiths and Dr. Witkiewicz. If you would like to learn more about the studies that we are currently funding, please ask.
With your donation, the dedicated and compassionate doctors at Roswell will find a cure for cancer.
Julie, with my mom Kathy's spirit