Why Don Walks

Don - I'm a Survivor

Don tells why he is walking with us this year.

“The Leukemia Research Foundation is near and dear to my heart.  They have come to my aid and that of others suffering with Leukemia.  I want people to know LRF supports both research and the patients themselves. They also serve as a conduit of information for us to find where we can go for emotional, financial and physical needs.

I don’t think most people are aware of what cancer patients go through.  From the initial doctor visits where I found out something was off with my blood count, to feeling just a bit tired at my annual physical, and the shockwaves of confirmation when I was told that I had cancer.  These are just the beginning of a long road that many cancer patients travel down. While insurance, for those of us that are lucky enough to have it, covers many things, it does not cover everything and it certainly doesn’t cover the loss of earnings when we can’t work. The journey I am on along with many others requires immense strength of mind, body and spirit.  It’s my hope that I can communicate to the public what LRF and cancer patients like me need to help survive. With LRF there is help and hope for a cure.

After putting my 3 kids through college, 13 days after my youngest got her diploma and two years to the day at almost the exact time my dad died, I was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia).  Less than a year after my dad died, my oldest brother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.  At that time, concerned not only for my brother, but for myself and my family, I went to my general practitioner and had various blood, x-ray and other tests done and found no issues.  A little more than a year later I was diagnosed with my AML.

Because of my (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) cancer I am in desperate financial condition.  I have a great deal of debt that was accumulated when I was unable to work for most of the roughly 6 months I was getting chemo. This is a huge problem for me and for many other cancer patients.

During the time I was in the hospital, I prayed and read multiple Christian books and read the bible.  I also worked as much as I could from my hospital room and home. It wasn’t enough, and the debt kept growing and growing.  While my blood counts are relatively stable at present, they are below normal ranges. I’ve had to be very careful since then where I go and where I don’t go, to try and reduce my exposure and potentially getting sick.

My brother John, who would have been 64, died of Multiple Myeloma Saturday May 21, 2016.  So I walk for him too.  John suffered for almost 3 years with the disease and was never in remission. He was unable to walk for over a year and half before he died.

Through God, I know he will strengthen me to do all things.”