Help Jim & Betty Babjak Cancer Fund
This is by far the most difficult letter I've ever had to write.
I am Jim Babjak, lead guitarist for the Smithereens and husband to Betty Babjak. Betty and I started dating in July of 1976, married in May of 1983 and are raising three sons. We are soul mates for life and have often talked of growing old together.
In September of 2014 Betty was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.
The tumor was found early, which qualified Betty to have a Whipple procedure performed by the wonderful Dr. Andrew Gumbs at Overlook Medical Center in New Jersey. The surgery lasted over ten hours and was successful in removing the tumor. However, this sneaky cancer had already spread to some lymph nodes, which required Betty to undergo four months of chemotherapy. Betty stayed strong in her resolve as she developed every possible side effect and was physically debilitated by the aggressive course of treatment. Thankfully, the treatment seemed to have worked and by mid-summer Betty was starting to feel better, and we were all happy to see her enjoying the season.
In September of 2015 we discovered the cancer had spread to her lungs and liver and is now considered Stage 4. Betty has been in and out of the hospital ever since. She is now receiving chemotherapy again; a powerful combination of Gemcitabine and Abraxane, which we are hoping keeps this cancer at bay as long as possible. Betty is debilitated once again.
Every time I wake up I hope I am just having a bad dream, but I soon realize that this is our new normal. My family and I are learning the true meaning of living one day at time. This period in our lives has given me a tremendous feeling of helplessness. I try to do everything I can to keep Betty alive and happy. I have used unpaid family leave days from my day job and took off November, December and most of January from playing with the band to care for my wife. Not only is our family devastated by this horrific disease, but finances are also now a concern until life gets back to normal and we get on our feet again. With most of our savings depleted during the past year, many friends and fans have suggested using gofundme.com to help with ongoing bills and to continue Betty's treatment and care. Victor Erlanger is a friend of the Smithereens and has offered to set up this fund. This is a very difficult decision for me to make. I am truly humbled.
In better days ahead, I pledge to continue your generosity and "pay it forward" by helping other people in need and raising funds for charitable organizations through my music and our concerts whenever possible.
Please feel free to private message me on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
From my heart, thank you for all of your love and support,
Jim and Betty Babjak
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Please PM me..I am a nurse, actually specializing in Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine...I would like to help in whatever way I can...I may be able to help you navigate some of the aspects of medical care that seem daunting..I am so sorry that you are all going through this..know that there are many people here to help..
Wish I was able to help. My husband is fighting same cancer. He was sole income as I was and still am full time care giver to our special needs 24 year old son so now I am able to care for husband as well. We pray for another day together and cherish each day we are given
Please know that you and Betty are in my prayers.
Much love to Betty and Jim, and belated birthday greetings for yesterday! Courage and strength to you.
You're gonna beat this, Betty!!!!!!!!
Jim..I am hoping this finds you in good spirits. Please tell Betty she has thousands of people praying for her and keeping positive thoughts. Love is what will carry you through this...sending you mine.
This is Michael Vialpando Andrea's husband. I met you in Blackhawk Colorado when you guys played here back in September of 2013. I never had the chance to thank you for the guitar pick I got in my Smithereens Christmas CD. You are one of the very few musicians I've met that went out of their way to be friendly to me as a fan. Thank you. My family and I our praying for your wife's health and all the strength and comfort God can offer the both of you. I was going to put this comment on my donation but must've missed it by mistake. Please take care.
The Mattress Firm has adopted pancreatic cancer as its corporate project. You might want to contact them. I believe their local stores could put you in touch with those who have more information on their participation.
Jim- I know what you and your family are going through. 10 years ago, my father, brother, and I went through the same thing with our Mom. She started out 2005 with breast cancer, and was finishing her last radiation therapy at the end of June, when the oncologist notice my mother was losing weight rapidly. She had her go for tests, and they discovered she had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I have never seen anything like it before! My mother died 3 weeks later, but in that 3 weeks time, you could see the cancer eating away at her, bit-by-bit. It was an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. I just hope and pray that they can help your wife. Keeping all of you in my prayers.
As a huge Smitheens fan, my heart goes out to you and your wife, and I will pledge what I can.
All our love Jim...many years have passed but we do not forget....