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John’s Story

John was diagnosed on April 5 with Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia (AML-M4). John is at Presbyterian/St. Luke's hospital in Denver. He was transferred from Durango to PSL on May 15.

We are trying to stop his body from producing leukemia cells (a temporary remission) for enough time so that John is able to have a bone marrow transplant. He has had 4 chemo treatments so far. (Join the bone marrow registry at

John is currently in the ICU and on a ventilator due to severe pneumonia and other infections.

Each of your thoughts, prayers and messages mean the world to us: thank you.

While at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, John received 2 rounds of chemo (12 days total) in a period of 28 days. After 28 days at the hospital, he was able to go home to Silverton for about 10 days.

Essentially the goal of the chemo treatments is to wipe out his bone marrow, which destroys his red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

So for a time after each chemo treatment he lives with almost no immune system at all (yes, boy in the bubble type stuff) as well as very, very low red blood cells and platelet counts. He receives transfusions and platelets on a regular basis during that time.

When he went home to Silverton for that short time, his counts were just starting to recover and we were hoping that his cells would grow back healthy.

Unfortunately, his body began to make more leukemia cells and he was rehospitalized on May 14, then transferred to Denver the next day. 

When he got to Denver, he had a 3rd round of chemo. This also did not put him into remission.

This is one of the factors of the Monosomy 7 genetic alteration that is occurring for John. It is a more "stubborn" type of leukemia to treat and doesn't respond well to chemo. This is, of course, a significant problem because that is the way you treat leukemia. This is also why doctors know that they want to move him as quickly as possible to a bone marrow transplant.

However, you have to have the leukemia in temporary remission in order to move into the bone marrow transplant, so we are really hoping (wow, that's an understatement) that this 4th round of chemo - different set of drugs that he hasn't seen before - will do the trick.

Please read my journal updates for more current info.

Latest Journal Update


We lost John at about 10:15 pm on Wednesday, July 25. 

Please join us next Sunday. 

Come help us celebrate the life of John Clauson. We will hold a ceremony and celebration at the Number 4 rapid on the Arkansas River at 2:00 pm. We very much welcome anyone who would like to say something about John to speak briefly at this event. Please brings chairs and/or blankets if you would like a place to sit. This will take place in an open dirt area by the river. Dress is casual. 

One thing we would like to do as part of the ceremony is put flowers into the river for John. Please bring flowers if you would like, and we will also try to have extras for anyone who forgets. 

It could be hot (or cold and rainy) so please try to come prepared for various weather conditions. Good things to bring: water or other beverages, rain jacket, umbrella, and sun protection.

After the ceremony you are welcome to join us at Deanna and John's house in Buena Vista for a "steak-out." Two great pleasures in John's life were great steak and well-brewed beer. So please bring your favorite cut of meat to throw on the grill, your favorite beer or wine or other beverage of choice, and a chair. (We'll have some extra chairs for those from out of town.) We will provide sides and non-alcoholic beverages. Please don't feel like you have to join us for this part, but anyone is welcome. 

Directions to the location from Buena Vista: 
Take Hwy 24 North for approximately 9 miles. Between mile marker 201 and 202 take a right (East) on County Road 371. Shortly before this turn you will see a sign for the Railroad Bridge. Cross the river, then turn left on the dirt road that parallels the river going upstream (also 371). Continue on the road to the parking area. This road is slightly rough but is still appropriate for 2-wheel drive vehicles.

Directions to Deanna and John's House: 
410 California St. 
Buena Vista
From the Number 4 rapid, head back to Buena Vista and take a left at the only stoplight in town. After 0.2 miles take a right at Colorado Ave. Continue on this road until Colorado Ave. turns into California St (the 3rd block). The house will be on your right. Brown house with green roof.