I want to thank you for supporting Mike and his mission to obliterate blood cancer. It means a lot to me that so many of you took notice.
Another dear family friend is raising money through Team in Training, but this time, it's personal. His letter below says it all FAR better than I could. Please hit the jump and take a read.
On October 17 I will be running the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco as a member of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training program.
This is a personal mission for me. I know that you are aware of my battle since November 2001 with a type of leukemia calledHypereosinophilic Syndrome. When I was first diagnosed with HES, I was told to do two things. 1) See a group of doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and 2) put my affairs in order.
HES is a rare disease and there were few cases to measure survival odds. I was told that the mortality rate at the time of my diagnosis was approximately 90% after 5 years, with a mean survival rate of 9 months once the disease is conclusively diagnosed. This was shocking news. Deb and I were expecting our second child, Jake, in June 2002, and I was stunned that I might not be around to see his first birthday, much less be there to enjoy and support him and his sister Morgan as they grew up.
After a battery of test and consultations in preparation for a bone marrow transplant one of my physicians at Sloan told me about a study that had been running for about a year, in which a small group of HES patients were on a drug that had been developed for another type of leukemia and it was showing some success. My doctor suggested that I go through a regimen of the drug before submitting to the bone marrow transplant and the challenges that process would create.
In June 2002, I started with a twice-daily treatment. In about two months my white blood cell count began to come down and within a year I was within a normal level. My organs were no longer being attacked by my own white blood cells and the oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells came back to near normal levels.
Jake turned eight on June 15 and Morgan is a precocious 11 and a half years old. I’ve exceeded the 90% survival rate by 3 years as of this writing.
Currently I am on a once-a-week cycle at one-eighth the originaldailydosage.
I cannot say I am cured. I am considered a survivor on a maintenance plan. However, I am symptom-free as of this writing. My doctors credit my recovery and the management of my disease to the development, testing and clinical use of the drug I took, which is called Gleevec, generic nameImatinib. I credit my team of physicians for their foresight in recommending I take Gleevec, and am thankful for the development of Imatinib.
Team in Training participants have raised almost 1 billion dollars since its inception 22 years ago.
One result of the Team in Training program has been contributions to specific research that has brought Imatinib, through research by Novartis, branded as Gleevec, to the market.
This drug has proven to be extremely effective in managing several types of leukemia. Originally developed for CML, Imatinib has proven successful in treating GISTs, several types of myelogenous leukemias and other types of cancer. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society helps fund research into major advances like Gleevec and helps cover the cost of care for patients who can’t afford it.
To bring awareness to the need for continued funding I’ve committed to running the Nike Women’s Marathon on October 17.
My goal is to raise $5,000 by August 15. I am committed to contributing an additional $1,000, once we reach the $5,000 goal.
Will you help me? I’m not asking that you train with me or even come to San Francisco to cheer me on (though of course that would be fun). Please visit my Leukemia and Lymphoma page (http://pages.teamintraining.org/li/nikesf10/hglobus). You can contribute using a credit card through the site or if you prefer you can mail a check to me made out to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My address is below.
Give what you can. No donation is too small. In fact, a lot of small donations can add up and we will be well on our way to the goal.
I thank you for being part of my team. Together we will make a difference in the world of cancer prevention and treatment, one healthy person at a time. Thank you.
P.S. Before I donate to any cause, I like to know where the money is going. Please take a look at these sites regarding The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training program: