Join Michael Joseph Lopez’ Conquer Leukemia Campaign!
Profile of a Scholar and Two-Sport Athlete: Freshman year of high school started off with a bang for our 14-year old son, Michael Joseph Lopez. His lifelong dream of playing high school football and baseball as a 4th generation Gander at Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas was being realized. He applied to and was accepted into Lee’s S.T.E.M. Academy with a focus on Engineering, was elected Freshman Class President, joined the Spanish Club and earned a spot on the Freshman "A" Football Team. After the Christmas break, Michael was in the top 10% of the freshman class academically. None of us could have foreseen that just a few weeks later, he would learn the devastating news that he was about to face the toughest challenge of his young life.
Short Illness, Hateful Diagnoses: T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Michael, the youngest and healthiest of our five children, was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on February 3, 2016. He had been sick the week before nasal congestion and bad cough, which seemed to be getting better. He had several uncharacteristically long nosebleeds during the week but we thought it was due to the nasal congestion,nose blowing and sneezing. He had baseball tryouts on January 29 and, even though his cough worsened over the weekend, insisted on going to school to learn if he made the team. He messaged me, ecstatic, that he had made the team and wanted to stay for practice after school. I allowed him since he said he was feeling better and was so happy. Michael was in class all day, spent 8th period doing football workouts and after school baseball practice. When I picked him up from school, he hadfever of 102.7 and his color was gray, he was covered in sweat and weak. Overnight, he developed a hemorrhage in his left eye, but the fever and cough were better. I took him the next morning to his pediatrician who diagnosed him with strep throat and referred us to a local Ophthalmologist to examine Michael’s left eye. Dr. Thomas Marshall found flame hemorrhages in both eyes and noticed “Roth spots” within the hemorrhages which indicated an underlying medical condition. He sent us back to the Pediatrician for more tests after calling her to discuss his concern. Dr. Diana Romo Grave re-examined Michael and ordered bloodtests. We made plans to return for the results on Thursday, February 4 but very early the next morning, on Wednesday,February 3, she called at 5:25 a.m. and said, “I need you to be strong. The labs are back and it is leukemia. I am sosorry.” She cried right along with me.
Hospitalization and 3.5 Years of Ongoing Treatment: Michael’s journey started from that moment. He spent a few hours in the Emergency Room at Texas Children’s Hospital, was then admitted to the Pediatric ICU once his labs confirmed leukemia and spent three days in ICU before being transferred to the Oncology floor at TCH. After a week, Michael was discharged but has been treated every week, twice a week as an outpatient in the TCH Cancer Care Clinic under their very skilled, very capable care. Michael’s first, most aggressive round of chemotherapy will last between 6 and 8 months followed by radiation therapy and approximately 36 more months of maintenance chemotherapy and treatment until he completely, courageously conquers leukemia!
Team Lopez: One Heart. One Mission. One All-powerful God.
As his parents, we are heartbroken that Michael has to wage this campaign to conquer leukemia. Michael’s three older brothers and one older sister are similarly devastated. We have always referred to ourselves as Team Lopez and Team Lopez is united. We have one heart. One mission. And believe in One All-powerful God.
Campaign Goal: As a family, we are launching this campaign to help offset the incredible costs associated with this hated illness including his hospitalization, medications, procedures, tests, scans, and other unplanned, unbudgeted expenses. We have always been a two income family but I will be serving as Michael’s full-time caregiver and working, as I can, from home. Michael’s father, my husband, also has the support of his employer and we are both using the Family Medical Leave Act to ensure we can return to our jobs full-time once Michael’s campaign is successful and he conquers leukemia. We are blessed to live only about 30 miles away from the hospital (depending on traffic) but in one month traveled more than 700 miles to and from the hospital and clinic and the medical bills and out of pocket expenses are adding up very quickly. These first phases of treatment will last between six to eight months and then maintenance treatment will last another three years… Michael’s entire high school career! Your support will make a huge difference and help us offset these medical and related expenses and still allow us to get and provide the best care possible for our incredible son so that he can fight this hated disease, recover fully and go back to being the outstanding scholar, athlete, competitor, fighter, and champion that he is.
Michael’s Campaign Promise: “After I kick leukemia’s a-*-*, it will just be something I put on my resume.”
Oh, how we love that child and his fighting spirit! By the way, he did ask permission to use that word; under the circumstances, Mom allowed it.
Conquer Leukemia Campaign Headquarters:
Team Lopez: Campaign Co-Chairs: Fred Lopez, Jr.& Leasa Renteria Lopez (Dad & Mom) Campaign Volunteers: Randy, Matthew, Freddie, and Annelysse Noelle (Big Brothers & Sister) Campaign Beneficiary: The Mighty-Mighty Michael-Mike Lopez, aka The Stallion 1307 E. Texas Avenue Baytown, Texas 77520
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