Mark’s Story

Site created on June 3, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,As many of you already know, Mark was recently diagnosed with a rare form of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma which is a cancerous tumor to the rear of the right nasal cavity where it meets the throat. It also involves some lymph nodes in the neck. The good news is that all of the many doctors who have examined Mark and consulted with us believe the condition is curable through an aggressive program of radiation and chemotherapy over the next 8-14 weeks.  Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes over the past few weeks. There have been many prayers for wisdom, guidance, peace, healing and more. We want you to know that God is listening and showing up in the unbelievable ways doors to information and decisions are opening. More so, He surrounds us with His peace that gives us calm and hope through the many questions and concerns that arise. The one thing we know for certain is that we are in God's hands and He has a greater purpose in all of this. We are already seeing amazing and beautiful ways God is showing His care for us in this. Please continue to keep us in your prayers and thoughts-they're working!!After much research, consultation and prayer, we believe that Northwestern Memorial's Lurie Cancer Center is the best place for his treatment. They specialize in head and neck Oncology and have the most expertise with this type of cancer in our area, including a clinical trial currently underway. We will be back there Thursday, June 11th, for a planning meeting and then expect treatments to start June 22 with daily Radiation and Chemo 1x/week for 7 weeks. They anticipate weeks 4-7 to be some of the most difficult as it may get difficult to eat and swallow due to the radiation.  We greatly appreciate your support as we go through this and we have already been overwhelmed with the love and encouragement from our friends and family. Mark is feeling strong, physically pretty well, has a great positive attitude and is even continuing to workout. He does, however, need to gain some immediate weight, so feel free to join him for a meal to encourage "the packing on of weight"!!   We will continue to give you updates on Mark's progress as important milestones are reached. This site will be the most efficient way for us to communicate with everyone who is interested in being updated. Please feel free to use this site to share an encouraging thought or scripture, etc. (and feel free to still call…we love hearing from you all). We would also appreciate your grace as a returned call, text or e-mail may be delayed.  We so appreciate all the offers and acts of help and support you have graciously extended to us in the past 4 weeks. Please know we are extremely grateful for your love and concern.  Love to you all,Mark, Julie and Mary Kaelin

Newest Update

Journal entry by Mary Stevens

Dearest Family & Friends who have prayed for 3 long years for our dear Mark, it is with great sadness we share that Mark went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 3:50pm. This past week Mark had been fighting extra hard through some very difficult days. When asked on Tuesday if he wanted to continue fighting, with the might that was in him, he replied "Absolutely!" with the desire to live for his family. It wasn't long and his organs began to shut down. Julie, Mary Kaelin and loved ones sat at his bedside at every moment. A dear friend prayed a powerful prayer that God's mercy would take Mark home peacefully to be with Him. It was a holy time as they felt a significant sense of God's unmistakable presence that permeated through the halls of the hospital. In the minutes that followed, Mark surrendered his spirit from the arms of Julie into the arms of Jesus.

Mark wanted more than anything to beat this cancer, and while he lost this battle, he "Absolutely!" won the war! Everything Mark talked of, believed in, surrendered to and lived for was accomplished when he claimed the victory in Christ, where he now resides with the Savior he loved so much. Because of Jesus, we have an eternity to look forward to. Mark embraced this Truth on earth and now fully experiences this Life in heaven. This is the sweet joy we find in the bitter as we grapple with losing our dear Mark.

Many of us grieve all over this country because he touched so many lives. Mark was a treasure. A heart unlike any other. A wise soul that kindly listened. A man of faith, kind, loyal, sacrificial, giving, trustworthy, tender-hearted, a confidant, and so funny. He adored & loved his family and cared deeply for his friends. He really did love everyone, always. Mark leaves a legacy of so much richness of character that many of us strive towards. No doubt, Mark will be missed uniquely and unlike any other.


All the support & prayers that have been poured out from so many of you is what has kept the Puccio's strong, encouraged and loved through these extremely difficult years. Their gratitude is limitless. We ask that you please continue to pray hard for Julie and MK. They are going to need your prayers/support in the days, weeks, months (and years) to come. The loss and heartache has left a painfully deep void. Julie said she now understands what it means to literally feel an aching hole in your heart. Please pray for peace and comfort to be found & experienced in the trenches of their heartache.

To Mark we say, thank you. Thank you for being who God made you to be. Thank you for touching countless lives. Thank you for being an example of what it means to love everyone always by extending grace and forgiveness. And thank you for leading the way to our Savior. Enjoy all that you've been promised by our Loving & Holy God! You are now MVP StrongER!

"His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!""
Matt. 25:23


A memorial service and celebration to honor Mark's life will be held:

April 28th, 2018 at 11:30am
Willow Creek Community Church
67 E. Algonquin Road
South Barrington, IL 60010
(Lakeside Auditorium)

(More details will follow, so please watch for a CaringBridge update.)


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