Sunday, August 29, 2004

Dear Family, Friends and Online Supporters,

We are fast approaching Kendrie’s one-year anniversary of being diagnosed with leukemia. To say it has been a challenging year would be an understatement. The challenge for Kendrie has been enduring the numerous spinal taps, chemo sessions, blood draws, shots, and mountains of oral medicines she has taken since diagnosis, and will continue to take for another sixteen months. And let’s not forget the side effects like nausea, fatigue, bone and joint pain, and hair loss. She doesn’t necessarily do it willingly, but she grits her teeth and gets through it. The challenge for Blaine and me has been watching, and often facilitating, these very unpleasant tasks. But we try hard to stay grateful for every shot and pill we give her, for every needle stuck in her chest, legs and back, for unpleasant as they might be, they are what gives Kendrie her best chance for long-term survival against cancer.

Kendrie recently completed the first ten months of harsh chemotherapy and is now in the phase of treatment called “Long Term Maintenance”. It’s a real milestone for her (for all of us!) and we have decided to celebrate it by trying to make a difference in this world of childhood cancer. Now that our treatment roller coaster has slowed down, at least a little bit, we want to try and help others. In that respect, we will be walking in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” fundraising walk in Atlanta on October 9th, 2004, just four days shy of Kendrie’s one-year anniversary of being a cancer survivor.

The mission of the LLS is to support research to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. For those suffering from blood-related cancers, “Light the Night” means hope for a cure. As a non-profit, the LLS relies on the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations to support their mission. More than 75f every dollar they spend is for cancer research, education, advocacy and patient services.

Please consider helping our team, “Team Kendrie and Madie”, with a tax-deductible donation for our fundraising efforts. Its difficult asking for money, especially after so many of you have helped us already these past ten months in so many ways. But we really can make a difference with your help. No donation is too small. Our team goal is to raise $1000 dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Currently, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the kind Kendrie has, is approximately 85 percent. But believe me, when you are the mommy or daddy, looking at your sick child, nothing less than 100 percent is good enough.

If you would consider making a donation, you can go to Team Kendrie and Madie and make an online donation. We will be mailing out letters to family and friends, also, if you would rather make a donation the "old-fashioned" way by sending a check! If you live close enough, consider joining us in Atlanta for the walk! We are walking with our leukemia-buddy Madie and her mom Regina, and our friends Gary, Lisa, Evan, Cara and Anna are driving down to join us, too. Just call me to ask how; we'd love to have more of you!

Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t have made it this far without the help of family and friends (and you know who you are!)

Best wishes,

Blaine, Kristie, Brayden, Kellen and Kendrie

ps. If I could ask you for one more favor -- please take a moment to go to Carter's Corner and leave his family a note of encouragement. We met the Martins at our Family Camp last April and were struck by their faith, hope, and Carter's enthusiasm and energy. Carter is now at home on hospice and I can only imagine what the family is facing at this very difficult time. Sometimes it seems notes in the caringbridge guestbook are insignificant, and I never have anything wise or profound to say, but at the very least it lets a special family, and a very special boy, know that others are thinking about him. Thanks.

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