Read more: http://imgur.com/gallery/z6oXY
Read more: http://imgur.com/gallery/z6oXY
Laura Hillier died just a few months shy of graduation, but her classmates still had something to say…
After battling leukemia for several years, 18-year-old Laura Hillierpassed away this January.
She had been waiting a long time to get a stem cell transplant and had several donors become available in July. However, due to a lack of hospital beds, she couldn’t get the procedure done until August.
The leukemia came back aggressively in November, and she was placed in the ICU before being brought home just a few weeks before she died.
Because of her condition and very weak immune system, many of her friendsweren’t able to say good bye to Laurain her last days.
Shewas also just a few months shy of graduating from high school, but she never made it to that special mile marker with her peers.
So her classmates decided to do something amazing to commemorate the beautiful life she lived that wascut much too short. They turned Laura’sentire coffin into a life-sized high school yearbook and wrote hundreds of endearing messages to their beloved friend.
The motto for Laura’s battle was also written on the side of her coffin: ‘Life is a song. Sing it til your hearts content.
And she surely did.
Though death is often represented by darkness, I just love how Laura was laid in the ground in vibrant colors, representative of the way she lived.
There, he performed magic therapy for kids fighting cancer, and brought some light and joy into their difficult lives.
Cancer is a disease that changes tens of millions of lives worldwide. Yet it’s seemingly at its cruelest when it affects children.
Ben Morris was diagnosed with cancer when he was just three years old. But recently, he received the amazing news that he is finally cancer-free! The now seven-year-old from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, was told the fantastic news by his mother, Casi, who had a video camera rolling to capture the heartwarming moment.
When you see his beautiful reaction you won’t be able to stop yourself from smiling. What a moment!
Beating cancer has to be an amazing feeling. Hearing the good news must be like winning the lottery! What’s better than getting a new lease on life after putting up an amazing battle?
Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/cancer-free-boy/
I learned the hard way that the time to change your life isn’t when something bad happens to you, it’s before. As a result, I know what rock bottom feels like.
I was once paralyzed from the neck down for close to four months. It was quite arguably the most humbling experience I’ve ever experienced in my 31 years of existence, but this story isn’t about me.
This story is about the only woman who has been in my corner since day one and will remain there for as long as she lives. This story is about Mom, and about how fortunate I am to still be able to enjoy her today:
I have now been in remission for six months from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), a neurological disorder that stems from the brain’s inability to relay messages to the rest of the body.
The feeling of paralysis can be described as being awake for a coma. I don’t wish that on anyone. At this point, I’m happier than a turtle on a conveyor belt, but this happiness will be short-lived.
Mom went for her annual mammogram, and since she has always been diligent, the expected negative result came back. We had some celebratory sushi that night.
More than a year later, my remission continues. I’m now free to go back to South Florida, which is where I was living before I became ill.
Mom recently went in for her yearly mammogram. After a few days, she picked up her results to find that there was a suspicious lesion in her right breast. Talk about denial! Neither she nor I could accept the possibility of the worst, so we got a second and then a third opinion.
Blood tests and a very painful biopsy followed. For some reason, the anesthesia did not run its course.
After about a month of suspense, we got a phone call from the doctor saying the results of the biopsy had arrived. I slowly drove to the clinic, as if I was trying to avoid some sort of finish line. My hands were shaking on the steering wheel.
When we got to the office, more than half of the women in the waiting room sported a look of worry on their faces; the tension was almost palpable. The impatience was evident. I couldn’t stop my restless leg from moving. They finally called us in.
Upon arrival, I could already tell by the tone of the doctor’s voice that the visit wasn’t going to go well. After some formalities, the doctor went ahead with her findings:
The biopsy is positive for cancer.
My heart dropped. I looked over at Mom and she was frozen. Ten seconds passed before she could even realize what she learned. I can’t think of hearing worse words than the ones we just endured. I can’t imagine what she was feeling at the time; come to think of it, I’ve never asked her. It’s not something I want to bring up again.
“There’s good news and bad news,” the doctor said. “The cancerous tumor hasn’t metastasized, which means it hasn’t spread and can be easily removed through surgery. But during the biopsy, there was another suspicious lesion in the axillary area, so we need to do a second biopsy there, and we can do it right now.”
I felt Mom sigh, but at least there was our silver lining. The cancer was relatively new and in the early stages, so we were somewhat relieved when we found out there was an immediate solution to our problem.
The second biopsy also came back positive of cancer, so a referral and visit to the oncologist was imminent to begin whatever treatment was necessary. He determined that the first step was surgery. The day after the appointment, we got on the phone and made proper arrangements.
If we were going to beat this, time was of the essence. Days before Thanksgiving, Mom went in for a lumpectomy (partial mastectomy) in order to remove the breast tumor and also all of the lymph nodes close to the one that was plagued with this disease.
As she went into the operating room, I helped her prepare, along with the nice nurses who were to take care of her right before surgery. The looks she gave me said it all: We were both terrified. I bid her farewell and began counting down the minutes until I could see her again.
Luckily, the hospital kept us posted through all stages, which made it easy for me to track her progress. What was forecasted to be a four-hour operation was taking longer than usual and I was starting to panic. The monitors on the waiting room walls were telling me she was now two hours past her initial timeframe.
Three extra hours had now passed and an attending physician finally told me that she was being carted up to a room on the fourth floor. I was so desperate that I took the stairs and skipped the elevator.
As much as I wanted to embrace her, I had to fight the urges because she was still coming out of anesthesia. She looked weak, but I knew she was strong. Her best friend was there to keep her company by my side.
The operation took longer because, along with the lumpectomy, 12 lymph nodes had to be removed, but thankfully, after two days in the hospital, they gave us the green light to take her home. We had dodged the first bullet.
A couple of weeks had come and gone while Mom was having a relaxing recovery at home. I was at her beck and call. One morning, we went in for an oncologist follow-up appointment so we could monitor Mom’s post-op health.
The doctor explained how he was always active with clinical trials surrounding this illness and suggested we partake in one that could ultimately prove beneficial. The study sought to find out if chemotherapy was a necessary post treatment for Mom’s type of cancer.
The members who agreed to be a part of the trial were to be divided into two separate groups. One would take an estrogen-inhibiting pill (believed to minimize the possibility of relapse) along with chemo and radiotherapy. The other group would take only the pill and receive only radiotherapy.
Needless to say, Mom and I were hoping she would fall into the latter. A few days later, that’s the news we received; we were elated.
As a participant of the clinical trial, Mom had to do her part and be the recipient of the infamous radiotherapy — daily sessions for 35 days, to be exact. I went with her on most occasions; they typically lasted 10 minutes each.
In the beginning, things were a bit uncomfortable for her, as one might expect, but Mom eventually calmed down. Repetition, however, would soon take its toll on her wounded area.
Slowly and steadily, she began to experience discomfort and it would rear its ugly head in the form of a black patch of burnt skin as a result of the continued radiation; it was devastating.
There were days when she would come home and the effects of the radiation became so taxing that she would have no choice but to crash for hours at a time. It was excruciating to watch an otherwise happy and active woman fall so helplessly into a defeated state, day-in and day-out.
As her only son, it crushed me; I felt so helpless.
April was a month full of rest, but not before scheduling endless trips to medical offices. Most of the stops were for lab work, CT scans, bone scans and every other test imaginable. Finally, the 20th of the month rolled around and we paid the oncologist a visit.
After reviewing the latest test results carefully, the doctor turned to my Mom and said, “Well, Brenda, after reviewing your results, it’s with great pride that I inform you there is no sign of cancer anywhere in your body.”
Mom describes the feeling that ensued as one of simultaneous calm and excitement. I know exactly what she means. And, yes, we ate a lot of sushi that day.
Now, months later, I’m happy to report Mom is back to her usual self; she picked up right where she left off. In the months following the great news, she has joined various tennis teams and rediscovered her passion for salsa dancing. I’m very fortunate to be sharing this story with you while enjoying a happy ending.
I am conscious, however, that many people around the world are not able to report such great news. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and early detection plays a huge role in the survival of your loved ones.
Without my mom’s diligent, proactive approach toward her health, I would probably be sharing a much different story than the one you’ve just read.
Cancer does not discriminate based on age, gender or race; it does not care one bit. Do yourself a favor: Go for a mammogram this month, if for nothing more than peace of mind.
Photo Courtesy: Twitter
When 9-year-old Jacob Marshall was diagnosed with terminal leukemia, his final wish was to meet his hero, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The wrestler and movie star heard about Jacob’s wish and decided to make his young fan’s dream come true. Eight years later, The Rock showed up to give his No. 1 supporter an amazing one-on-one.
Back in 2006, Jacob’s doctors gave him a week to live. Family, friends, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation reached out to the The Scorpion King star, hoping he could send a letter or signed DVD to Jacob. What happened was even better: The Rock himself showed up in person after eight years to spend time with his biggest fan.
A truly amazing visit for a truly amazing kid.
The Rock plays heroes on the big screen, but the most incredible hero he plays is the one in real life. He was only scheduled to spend 30 minutes with Jacob, but he ended up staying for over an hour.
“He’s a brave little guy,” The Rock said. “He should be out there running around with the other kids, and all I wanted to do was make his day a little brighter. I was happy to spend some time with him.”
Take note, Hollywood: It doesn’t require a lot to make a sick fan’s dreams come true. The Rock’s actions have proved that.
His wife died of cancer 2 years ago, but she instructed her friend to send this letter to the radio station once he remarriedand its heartbreakingly beautiful.
Brenda Schmitz lost her battle to ovarian cancer in 2011, leaving behind her husband and four sons. What no one knew was that she left behind a letterthat she entrusted to her close friend with a simple assignment, deliver this letter to the local radio station if her husband ever falls in love again. Two years later after Brenda had passed, her husband David fell in love again.
The radio station invited David in to be on the show,only telling him that he’d been singled out as part of a program and was going to be interviewed on air. Then the letter came out. It starts off with Brenda saying,‘When you are in receipt of this letter, I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer”.
It goes on to list 3 wishes that she has for her former husband and his new love. The first wish? A spa day for the woman marrying David.“She deserves it,” the loving mother wrote. “Being a stepmother to all those boys and especially giving little Max a mother’s love that only she can give. Make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me.”
Brenda was forced to leave behind her kids and has a deep appreciation for the woman who is now marrying into the family, “I love you, whoever you are”.
Here’s the full interview with the husband (the letter reading starts at 3:47):
The letter reads:
“Hello my name is Brenda Schmitz. When you are in receipt of this letter I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer. I am writing this letter to have sent to you by a dear friend who has instructions to do so when it was the time. I had to type this because I can barely write anymore because of my shakiness. I told her that once my loving husband David had moved on in his life and met someone to share his life with again to mail this letter to all of you at the station.
I always enjoyed thru the years the Christmas wish you all put on. It is a tremendous and thoughtful deal you do for people that truly exemplifies what Christmas is all about. As I was thinking about my last months on earth I told David my wishes after I was gone that I believe he followed thru with the attitude and courage I know he possesses. What a great husband and father he is. I know all this is extremely hard on him. He is the one making the best decisions from here on out for my family and ultimately finding a caring, compassionate loving woman in time to help raise the boys. She must be quite a lady and I wish I could have met to take on the task of raising a larger extended family with unwavering love and devotion and a huge heart. I also gave my friend some things to do and this letter sent to you is 1 of them when the time presented itself.
We have 4 boys, Carter, Josh, Justin and my lil’ Max. Max is the youngest at 2 years old. I was diagnosed right after his 1st birthday. No child as young as Max should lose his mother and it brings tears to my eyes now thinking of it. God I will miss seeing him and the boys grow up to be fine men. I have relayed to David to try and not let him forget me. He is such a bright, intelligent beautiful boy. I will miss all my boys. My favorite has always been the one standing in front of me.
My reason for writing is this. I have a wish. I have a wish for David, the boys, and the woman and her family if she has kids also. I want them to know I love them very much and they always feel safe in a world of pain. I was hoping that one small act you all could do for me can changeand help their lives forever and they know I am with them always.
First, for David’s new lifelong partner. A day or better yet a weekend of pampering in all aspects of her life. Hair, makeup, body massage, clothes, shopping, spa or weekend getaway. Whatever. She deserves It. Being a step-mother to all those boys and especially giving lil’ Max a “mothers love” that only she can give. Make her smile and know her efforts are truly appreciated from me. Perserverance will prevail. Thank you- I love you- whoever you are. Talk to me- you are heard. For the family a magical trip somewhere where they all can enjoy their company and companionship as a family and create those memories that will be with them forever. Finally the cancer doctors at Mercy Hospital and nurses of 8 south. Dr. Carlson, Dr. Turner, Deb Schnoor, Marie Rudolf. A night out full of drinks, food and fun for all they do everyday for the cancer patients they encounter.
May God Bless and keep all of you safe there. Thanks for this. When you wish upon a star…. Brenda.”
When his daughter looked out the window, she couldn’t believe what she saw…
Thereare only 48 days until Christmas, but that hasnt stopped the McClendon family from covering their house in Christmas lights. These lights though, are not a countdown to Christmas, but something terribly heartbreaking.
Seven-year-old Kayleigh McClendon has been fighting for her life since the day of her 7th birthday. On what should have been a celebratory occasion, Kayleigh was instead diagnosed with brain cancer.
This week, the Hartselle, Alabama, family was told that their time is running out. Kayleigh is not expected to make it much longer.
Kayleighs father, Tim McClendon, said, “This particular week, we were given some news from the nurses. Basically, they don’t know how long she has to live.
Kayleigh requested that her dad decorate the house with Christmas decorations, and without thinking twice, Tim got to it. Since purple is Kayleighs favorite color, he plastered the house in only purple lights and decorations.
The McClendons neighbor, Melissa Miller, got news of Kayleighs diagnosis and asked how she could help. They told her to string up purple lights on her house as wellfor Kayleigh. Miller did just that, and in no time, the entire neighborhood had followed suit.
Kayleighs parents run a Facebook page to keep people updated on Kayleighs fight and ask people for prayers. It was a post on the page that led to the purple-out on the McClendons street.
Tim knows that his daughters bravery is unbelievably inspiring. Shes a 7-year-old with strength possessed only by few, and the family knows that God is within her.
For a seven-year-old she’s been tough through all of it. Pokes and prods and tests, and she did every single MRI and CT without sedation. And even for adults, that’s a huge deal. It blows me away, the [support] we’ve had around us.
With the help of neighbors, Kayleigh got the purple Christmas shes always dreamed of. The family continues to ask for prayers, and proclaim Gods unending goodness and grace in every post. <3
Thank you for your consistent prayers. Tonight as you pray take a little time to marvel at the goodness of our Lord. Take time to be thankful for His infinite blessings. Even when things seem the darkest you can still find reasons to rejoice. And when you CHOOSE to rejoice in the storm – everything changes. I pray each one of you will choose well today. God is good, all the time – I promise.
The McClendons are raising money for Kayleigh’s fight atprayersforkayleigh.com.
Tasmanian devils, Sarcophilus harrisii, are being threatened with extinction by a transmissible cancer called devil facial tumor disease. This gruesome disease has been ravaging the little marsupial carnivores since it was first observed in 1996. And now, researchers have discovered another transmissible cancer that also causes facial tumors in the devils.While these tumors resemble the previously identified ones, theyre genetically distinct, according to new work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.
With clonally transmissible cancers, living cancer cells are transferred between individuals. We only know of three cancers like this in the wild, and they affect dogs, Tasmanian devils, and soft-shell clams. Devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) is spread by biting, and it causes tumors on the face and inside the mouth. It readily metastasises, killing the animal within months after symptoms appear.
Until now, the disease has been consistently linked to a single cancer cell lineage now designated as DFT1. A team led by University of Cambridges Elizabeth Murchison and University of Tasmanias Gregory Woods discovered a second transmissible cancer, called DFT2, in five devils from southeastern Tasmania in 2014 and 2015. That means the poor Tasmanian devils have given rise to two different transmissible cancers something thats rarely observed in any species.
After wild Tasmanian devils with signs of DFTD on the Channel Peninsula were either found dead or trapped, tissue biopsies were collected and tumor samples were drawn through a fine needle (either post mortem or from live devils who were then released). To the naked eye, DFT2 causes facial tumors that appear indistinguishable from those caused by DFT1, but a microscopic examination of the tissues revealed minor though distinguishable differences. DFT1 and DFT2 do not share any detectable similarities at the level of chromosomes, not to mention DFT2 carries a Y chromosome, sharply contrasting with the female origin of DFT1.
In addition to being both histologically and cytogenetically distinct, DFT2 is also genetically distinct from DFT1. While researchers expected DFT2 to be derived from DFT1, “as far as we can tell, DFT2 is a totally new cancer that has arisen independently of DFT1,”Woods explains to IFLScience. “The confusion is that both DFT1 and DFT2 appear to be derived from a similar precursor cell, but this has yet to be confirmed.”Theres also the slightest possibility that DFT1 fused or transferred some genetic information to a normal cell, creating DFT2.
If Tasmanian devils have spawned at least two distinct transmissible cancer lineages, that means these sorts of cancers may arise more frequently in nature than we think.