Gold Rush Cure!
Up until May 2006 I was a kid like any other. I filled my time with video games,soccer,computer,& having fun. The day after my 13th birthday in May '06, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia.
*After 20 months of aggressive treatment,2 Bone Marrow Transplants,3 relapses,16 months inpatient, Christian passed on 12/29/07 with our family at his bedside.
*Please pray for our family and be thankful for yours!
Considering Christian had been exceptionally healthy his entire life with perfect attendance (or close to it) every year of school, the diagnosis of Leukemia came as such a total shock. It still is. I noticed a few bruises but thought it was just some virus and increased his vits. A week later he came home from spending the night at a friends house (his 13th birthday was the day before) and was tired and feverish. He took a shower and got ready to go to bed when I noticed over 30 huge new bruises on his legs. It shocked me! I called the doc first thing in the morning and requested a full blood panel. We got the call that evening that further testing was required. I knew what they were thinking but prayed it was something else. They actually thought it was a virus for many reasons. A bone marrow aspirate was done the next am and it came back positive for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. When we got this bad news, we all prayed right then for God to heal him and use us to help others some way through this. We have received bad news many times since his dx, but the toughest news came on June1st. We were told that many of Christian's cancer cells contain too few chromosomes (called near-hyploidy) and chemo will not cure his cancer. This occurs in less than 1% of leukemic patients. It is the rarest form of leukemia. The only treatment is a bone marrow transplant. We got great news that Kendall and Garrett are donor matches with Christian. Garrett will be used because he is bigger and a boy. He actually thanked God when he found this out. Kendall was sad it wasn't going to be her. God has blessed us with wonderful kids! Since then, Christian has undergone more 'procedures'/chemo than you can imagine. He has been very sick and in the hospital for about 5 weeks so far. After researching many hospitals/doc's who offer this treatment, God lead us to Seattle's Fred Hutch. We feel confident in them. We just arrived here Monday 7/24/06 (Garrett's 11th birthday) via a private jet my awesome patients arranged. I cannot tell you how proud I am of Christian's strength, courage and faith he has shown. He is an inspiration to me. I have cried a lot since May but I have a lot of hope. It is so difficult to see someone you love more than life itself going through this. We are very positive and know God will heal him. We are blessed with the most supportive family and friends. We thank God daily for all of your selfless acts of giving blood, bringing meals, carpooling, taking Garrett and Kendall, sending things to Christian and the kids, supporting us, the wonderful emails, and the numerous prayers that are offered up for Christian and our family. You don't know how much it means to us. Please continue to pray for Christian's total healing without side effects, for our family to get through this, and for God to use us/this challenge however He wishes. You may email us at email@example.com or leave a message for us on this site.
Thanks again for your support and prayers. Appreciate and Hug your kids often!! They are blessings!!
Love, Sandy and family
Christian's 6 year ^^Angelversary^^
Dec 29, 2013 7:54pm
Today is Christian’s 6 year ^^Angel-versary^^ in heaven!!
Letter to Christian:
Today is such a hard day for us because it is the anniversary that you died at the age of 14-1/2 and we miss you so much, but it is also a happy day because we know it is the day you earned your ^^angel wings^^. After a heroic and intense 20 month battle with cancer, you are happy and healthy in heaven.
Sometimes my mind wonders to what you would look like now, sound like, be interested in, be studying in college, etc... if you had never gotten cancer. You would be 20 and I am sure you would still be the great kid you were before you got sick. I don’t linger there because I know that you are happy in heaven.
You taught us so much about trusting in God in all circumstances (even facing death), having determination to live, and always showing compassion, love, and respect to others. You will always be our inspiration as we face challenges life throws our way. You inspire us to do things in our lives and with our Gold Rush Cure Foundation (mentoring other families afflicted with childhood cancer, speaking to legislature in DC, running half-marathons to raise awareness and funding, and so many other things for this cause) that I never thought we would do.
I hope you know how much we all love you, miss you and respect you. Please pray for our family as we continue to face life without you. A piece of our family is missing, and that is so hard. But we celebrate this day because we know 6 years ago today you were told by God “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We love you and miss you sweetie,
Mom, Dad, Garrett and Kendall
To most people December 29th is a day just like any other day. For us it’s a date that will always signify the day Christian, our oldest child, died and went to heaven. There is nothing that can prepare you for when your child is diagnosed with cancer (or any other disease) and eventually dies from it. One day you’re living a normal life, the next day your life has changed forever. To try to put into words the loss we feel is nearly impossible. After Christian died 6 years ago, we have really tried to push our grief and sadness down so we could raise Garrett and Kendall in a happy home. We are usually successful, but other times the pain of losing Christian is intense and unable to be stifled. Someone summed up the pain and yearning aspect of our loss perfectly in a facebook note to me: “Loss is not only what WAS, but what COULD HAVE BEEN!” Not only for Gary and I, but for Christian, Garrett, Kendall and everyone else. That is where our faith has to kick in and we know that God is in control, he is STILL using Christian’s life and legacy to impact others, and Christian is happy/perfect/cancer-free. We are happy for where he is (heaven) and wouldn’t selfishly want him back, but we yearn for where he isn’t (with us).
Our final days with Christian were spent pouring out our Love to him and making sure that he knew that we were with him every step of the way until he went to heaven. Christian had slipped into a coma-like state, but we took turns lying in bed with him, ‘loving’ on him and we could tell he still knew we were there. If our everyday lives could be spent showing family and friends how much we value them and love them, what an amazing place the world would be.
We appreciate the emails that occasionally come letting us know the impact that Christian’s battle had on their life. They often tell us they appreciate their kids and family more, they try not to sweat the small stuff their kids do, etc. We will forever remember the legacy Christian left for us of faithfulness, determination, respect, compassion, and love. This verse is comforting to us:
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.”
THANK YOU to all of you who still take the time to stop by and read these updates, and remember Christian and our family. Please pray for us as we move forward with our childhood cancer foundation, Gold Rush Cure (goldrushcure.org). If you would like to keep current on what we are doing, find Gold Rush Cure on Facebook here. To make a 'tribute donation' to honor Christian on his ^^angelversary^^, click here. It will go to Gold Rush Cure and our fight against childhood cancer and is 100% deductible.
Love, Sandy, Gary, ^^Christian^^, Garrett and Kendall
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