Jason * 2-Time Cancer Fighter *
Jason has been diagnosed with stage IV blood cancer Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL-NOS [not otherwise specifed]), a rare, aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are few forums out there, and treatment options/combinations are still only somewhat experimental.
Except, he's been here before - when he was only 19. Then, it was Hodgkin's Lymphoma stage II, a more treatable blood cancer, which they treated aggressively, including the removal of his spleen. It was largely a success - almost 25 years without regression. However, having a prior history of undergoing chemo and radiation have led to limited choices in his current treatment, AND he is disqualified from participating in any hopeful clinical trials.
This past Thanksgiving 2016, it was confirmed that the pain he'd been experiencing in his back was not a slipped disc, but large tumors, spread around his abdomen, and compressing his bladder and kidneys. They started immediately with surgery, but were unable to remove the tumor that was causing the pain. His first 2 sessions with the first chemo therapy combination proved to be ineffective, while the cancer had spread to his pelvic bone and bone marrow. He also developed blood clots in his leg and pulmonary emboli, causing him to take blood thinners for life, and further complicating his treatment and just plain movement. It's easy to feel depressed as a side effect of being forced to be immobile, or from just being unable to move, and therefore unable to participate in normal family life.
He has since undergone targeted radiation, and started a new chemo regimen we hope will be effective. The goal is to get the cancer into partial remission, so that he will be able to undergo a stem cell transplant, the only treatment that has been shown to have a more lasting impact on the disease. Without this option, the chance of recurrence is extrememly high.
Our initial goal of this fundraiser is to help cover the out of pocket costs he will expect to have to pay for the stem cell transplant, as well as ease some of the financial burden of not working. In order to receive the best treatment option, Jason will have to travel an hour away to a center out of his network. Jason is currently on short-term disability (60% pay) in a single-income family, where he cares for 5 amazing kids and an amazing wife, Allison. The normal day-to-day challenges of supporting a large family are now strained on top of trying to manage through treatment.
We lost our father at his ripe age of 57, having succumbed to a third fight against blood cancer, and are still feeling that pain. We know the challenges still ahead. But I also know that Jason will fight to stay with his family, to see his kids grow up, graduate, and have kids of their own.
This family does so much for each other, in the sweetest manner, and are doing their best to stay positive during this time. It's not always easy to know what to do to help in these situations; nor is it easy to ask for help. My wish is that by helping with this fund raiser, it will help ease the worry of costs as an immediate need, and let them focus on health and recovery.
Thank you so much for helping this amazing family - absolutely every little bit will be used and so helpful!!
As we start the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to share an update on Jason’s family.
The past months, through summer and start of school year, have understandably had it’s share of challenges as Allison and each of the kids deal with their “firsts” - the first Father’s Day without Dad, first birthdays, the first of first days of school, and soon will be dealing with their first Christmas without him. There are many good days, but also days of intense grief, each facing it or adjusting in their own ways - sometimes quietly and sometimes harshly, and I think for kids, it can be something very difficult to understand or accept.
Allison continues to deal with settling the insurance and legal stuff - none of which has proven to be easy, and is far from being resolved, which is a little troubling. She has found a small way to work from home as much as possible, which allows her some semblance of control with all of the kids’ busy schedules - you can find her on her Younique Facebook page here, where she cracks me up daily: https://www.facebook.com/Younique-Beauty-by-Allison-Peterson-1884694545127056/
I believe she is finding her feet and her strength again, even when there are days the weight still feels too much to bear. It would be wonderful if we all lived closer together, but I know she knows she’s not alone.
As kids growing up in a military family, we very rarely were ever in a location that afforded us the luxury of spending the holidays with our extended families. I think because of this, traditions became a huge part of our family’s holidays. I don’t know if it was because he was the eldest, or because he left the home so early, but one of things I always admired most about Jason was his insistence on carrying on some of our traditions (or making new ones) - especially important when you have a blended family. Jason was a traditionalist, and his greatest joy was having his family together. Taking the Xmas family picture - and then taking the one where EVERYone is grouchy and “so over” it. Hilarious!
During this season, which I expect may be one of the hardest, I would really love to make this Xmas easier for Allison, and to bring some joy to the kids. To not worry about bills - plus gifts - would truly be a blessing. I don’t know when she’ll be able to find out about settling the house, or the car, or the estate, but I also would love for these ongoing shadows to not cloud over one of Jason’s favorite holidays. Additionally, Jason’s eldest daughter Kyya, has an opportunity to march in the 2018 Holiday Bowl in California, and she is working to raise the $2000 to help cover the cost. This would be an amazing experience for her, and we don’t want to see the circumstances prevent her from going!!!
If you are able and would also love to bring Allison and the kids some holiday cheer, please know that the GoFundMe Donation Button is still active and open - the donations go straight to Allison every month! Even if you are unable to donate, please consider just sending on thoughts and wishes to bring some light into their lives!
To the Royal-Orleans family - and you truly are like family - it has been so heartwarming to see this site continue to live on and support each other. Jason would be so, so proud. You honor his work, his memory, and his family (as unbelievably, some of you continue to reach out personally to generously offer help). This has been most touching to both his wife, and his family. Eventually, I would like to pull together these snippets from you remembering his work, his quips, or even his beefs, to help share this piece of legacy with his kids someday. If there are any other testimonies or stories you would love to pass on and share, please do!!
Happiest of holidays to all of you, thank you for all of your continued thoughts, wishes and prayers,
If you live in their area, please consider offering up a little of your time to help ease their day-to-days right now, so that the kids can enjoy some of summer. Lots of love, Sarah Peterson Edwards
There have been multiple "firsts" already, and more to get through yet this year. I know Allison is doing all she can to both honor and remember him within their family, and there are good days and tough days.
Thank you to those of you who continue to make your way back to this site to offer support to his family. There is still a lot of work to be done to secure all of the paperwork and ownership - stuff that seems to take forever to close out. :)
With summer upon us, this is often the time of lots of mowing and home improvements. Allison herself is still recovering from shoulder surgery, and while the kids are amazingly great helpers, I think it could be really helpful to set up a volunteer sign-up to help them out with things - volunteer a little time to help mow, and hour or 2 to do handiwork in the house (change lightbulbs, etc), send/take the kids lunch/dinner .... just small random offerings of time/work to help give Allison a break. I will plan to look up sign-up sites for this, and will post when ready. I know summers can be crazy busy times, so I absolutely appreciate anything you can offer to help!
Happy Birthday, Ace.
Best wishes for a safe and happy summer to all of you!
You all have contributed to far-exceeding the initial goal, which is more than I could have imagined. I have now updated the fundraiser goal to help encourage ongoing support to this newly single-mother family. Jason's biggest worry during his uncertain days of treatment, was taking care of his family, whom he loved so much.
Again, we thank you for everything, including all of the kinds words, prayers, wishes, and love. We look forward to more stories on how he's touched lives, and created laughter. xoxo