Tracy’s Personal Page
Our lives changed in an unimaginable way in October 2012 when our then 3-year old daughter Abigail was diagnosed with cancer - acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). If her father or I had been diagnosed at her age, we would have had only a 10 percent chance of survival. Yet, after 40 years of research, Abby was looking at a 90 percent chance of event free, long-term survival. Still devastating and scary? Absolutely. But the odds were undeniably in our favor.
It is still difficult for me to believe that it has been almost 7 years since Abby was diagnosed and 4 years since she completed treated. We continue to deal with the effects of Abby's illness and treatment EVERY SINGLE DAY in numerous ways. But, by the grace of God, our story remains a happy one.
This is not the case for every family or every child. We have lost a number of friends along the way. Like one of Abby's best clinic friends, Sarah, who relapsed 7 months after she completed her first treatment for ALL, and succumbed to the disease at age 10 after an unsuccessful second round of treatment. Like our neighbor and friend who lost his battle with rhabdomyosarcoma at age 10 only 3 months after diagnosis. My heart breaks every single day for these children and for their parents and familes who continue to deal with devastating and unimagineable loss. And then there are those, like us, with a relatively happy ending but facing the after-effects of grueling chemotherapy treatment. Like one friend who suffers from daily seizures. Like another friend who remained wheelchair bound post-treatment because chemotherapy made his bones so brittle that he suffered from multiple fractures merely from standing up on his own two legs. Sadly, the list goes on and on.
Abby still wears a shirt made by Sarah after completing her first round of chemotherapy that says:
Faith is the Key;
Love is the Way;
Courage is the Medicine.
Pretty insightful for such a young mind! But faith, love and courage are simply not enough no matter how much I wish it to be true. According to the National Cancer Insitute, cancer remains the #1 disease killer of children; nearly 13,000 children are newly diagnosed each year. Yet, despite these staggering statistics, less than 4% of all cancer research funding goes towards pediatric cancers. Our children deserve more - much, much more!
I am thrilled to be a part of the 10th Annual Hope & Heroes Walk on Sunday, May 19th, 2019, at Pier 62/62 in NYC. Hope & Heroes funds the life-saving work on childhood cancer and blood disorders at Columbia University Irving Medical Center – including cutting-edge research, the newest & most advanced treatments, comprehensive wellness for patients & survivors, and and care that always puts children first. Columbia is home to the largest, most comprehensive and distinguished pediatric oncology programs in the country, treating over 1,500 children a year with high-quality, compassionate care.
The proceeds of this year's Hope & Heroes Walk will ensure that every patient receives the excellent care and support that they, along with their family, need from the day of diagnosis, throughout treatment, and beyond.
So please consider supporting Hope & Heroes by joining our team - Abby's Angels - and walking with us. The Walk is an inspiring & fun day with incredible energy that brings together patients, survivors, families, friends, doctors, nurses, co-workers, and neighbors - it’s truly not to be missed! If you cannot walk with us, please consider supporting our team fundraising effort by making a tax-deductibly donation today. Even a small donation will make a world of difference - helping children today and saving lives tomorrow.
Thank you, Tracy
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