Adrian's Care Campaign
Adrian Lemberger could use a little support from us -- his friends -- right now. After battling what he thought was the flu for the past couple of weeks, he was just dianosed with something much more sinister: Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Luckily for Adrian, he was able to quickly begin treatment at a Chicago hospital, where he is expected to to remain for the next 30 days. Being in the hospital SUCKS, friends. Being in the hospital for a long period of time means putting your entire life on hold - no going to work, no band practice, no spending quality time with your child, no walking your dog. But here is where we come in: We can HELP Adrian by simply relieving some of the financial stress of having to put his life on temporary hold while he kicks cancer to the curb. We can take care of the mundane stuff that is bound to pile up, so he can concentrate on JUST GETTING HEALTHY.
Maybe you know Adrian as the ridiculously talented frontman to the Chicago-based band, Even Thieves. Maybe you know Adrian as the doting father to his young son, Cosmo. Maybe you know Adrian from his walks around the neighborhood with his fluffy dog, Cal. Or maybe you've just been lucky enough to call him your friend during his 40 years on this planet.
No matter your connection, please help him out in this time of need. Let's reduce his stress, take care of some bills, and get him healthy.
We love you, Adrian.
12/9/17 - Update: Folks, the generosity you have shown Adrian is truly astounding. Thank you for rallying around our friend in a time of need. I have added Adrian's sister, Ariel Schoeninger, as an administrator to this account. With his blessing, Ariel is able to access the donations and will begin assisting Adrian in handling the financial business of being away from home.
Bit of a Thanksgiving update here. It’s my favorite holiday, I love the food and the family and friends that comes with it. My mother Margaret has tirelessly spent her time between work and here, Pilsen or the hospital for almost a year. I simply don’t have words to thank her for her constant sacrifice. Thank you, Mother, from the bottom of my heart.
I will most likely be here a couple more weeks as they sort out what is going on with my lungs. The main issue I’m experiencing is what’s called graft vs host or GVHD which is essentially my body fighting itself. My lungs are inflamed and I can’t breathe without that use of oxygen support. I got down to about 125lbs, lost a ton of muscle so they are trying to build me back up, get my lungs healthy and my weight up.
I am eternally grateful for your continued love and support through all of this, so many friends and family have supported me over the last year. It’s scary to feel out of control and not be able to do simple things on my own. But I’m trying to stay positive while I go through this. I have my days where I’d like to just sleep and not wake up. I’m also trying to “yes and...” this damn thing (for all my Second City friends) and take things as they come with positivity and hope for a better healthier future
Thank you to my neighbors Janice and Marc and Britt for taking care of my cat. Thank you Alan for great stories and spending time with me. Thank you to the Aldinger’s, Michael, Cynthia, Nathan and Tim for being such guiding lights through this. Your unwavering support and guidance has been so helpful. Thank you to Nancy and Maria and all the others that share their love, lives and light and positivity and for supporting my mother as her friends and as a caregiver for me. I am moved by the community that surrounds me. I’m not a religious man but I feel surrounded by all of your good energy and love and it HELPS. Thanks to Kaustubh, Stephen, Kevin and my entire Even Thieves family for being supportive and flexible. Thank you for the texts and messages from all my friends, Eli, Marc, Nathan, Benjamin, Ava, Sarah and all of you. Thank you to all the Third Eye Blind's Bonfire friends too. Thank you to my Music Direct family, Jon, Jonathan, Mark, Besflores, Brooke, Chris, Danny Bad Grease, Rocco, Josh and Jim for their support.
People have asked how they can help while I’m in the hospital and what kinds of things I’d appreciate in ”care packages”. Here are some ideas...
- Short visits with quiet time, hand and head rubs. Visiting admittance is 7:30am to 8:30pm, I can’t talk a lot but I appreciate the company for a football game or something and just having good friends nearby for a half hour or so. **Again... I’m struggling to breathe so having in-depth conversations or having too many people in my room gets really overwhelming very quickly and makes me tired quickly. Please don’t be insulted if I’m not my normal chatty self...**
- Small portions of homemade vegan food, in microwaveable containers, on the lighter side, soups, mashed potatoes & gravy, pumpkin pie, stuffing (no sage or eggplant, please), spicy sweet Chili Thai Doritos ☠️
- Grubhub gift cards for eating out of the hospital occasionally
- Audible credits (my eyes are very dry from this experience so while I try read, I listen A LOT. I’m listening to the Beastie Boys book right now and it’s so good!)
- Genuine expressions of love, color and form (ART) to place on walls.
My address here at the hospital is
16th Floor Room 1670
Prentice Women’s Hospital
250 East Superior
My gracious friends Amanda and Ashley Semrick and my fantastic sister Ariel have reactivated my goFundMe page and once I’m out of the hospital the meal train page also. The links are here and please feel free to share with anyone you think would be inclined to help out:
I have a couple Amazon wishlists here. I hope it’s not too impersonal to share and I’m not desperate for stuff or things, but feel free to peruse. As many of you know, I enjoy the Simpsons and New Wave/punk rock music, watching movies and the directors commentary and laughing when I can. I do not expect anything by any means but if you’ve got an itchy gift giving finger...
Also thank you to my support team here at Northwestern, my oncologist Dr Altman, my stem cell transplant oncologist Dr Frankfurter, the stem cell transplant team Lisa and Michelle who have worked tirelessly to get me back on my feet and make me laugh and make sure I don’t just fade into oblivion and my current rounds Dr Moriera who has talked to me like a fellow human and fellow father and not just a patient, knelt beside me, SAT ON THE FLOOR and held my hand when I cried about not being strong enough to pick up Cosmo. He’s a breath of fresh air and I’m so thankful for him.
Last year my dear family friend Robert Ivens passed away and at his funeral I was reunited with my friend Poppy from my childhood. We used to listen to Cyndi Lauper together and hang out a ton before my family moved out of Milwaukee.
She’s been visiting, sending care packages, recaulking my bathtub (!!), making delish chili and just generally been here, whenever she can be, to help out. She helps my mom and has been such a great support system, sending pictures and goofy messages. Thank you so much, Poppy!! I love you and I’m so thankful for our friendship!
Struggling to exist seems a human condition. We succeed at it and even thrive for periods of time. Having a sense of purpose and feeling included in life is deeply intertwined in this and our sense of worth.
My son, Adrian was diagnosed Thanksgiving of 2017 with AML. On March 21, 2018 he had a stem cell transplant. The doctors told him/us from the beginning that this is a major detour in life. Expect it to take at least a year from transplant to feel better. It’s almost been a year since diagnosis. Next spring will be a year from transplant. A little over a month ago Adrian felt better. He got out in the world and did some stuff. Then something changed. He doesn’t feel good. Food still doesn’t taste good. He is weak and lethargic. He is depressed and lonely. His sense of better was fleeting.
Better as in how most people go about their days. We consider it the mundane or ordinary. We create a list of things to do and set about doing it; shower, eat, work, play...There is nothing ordinary about it. Life is a gift. The moments we have are anything but ordinary.
Adrian wrote these words yesterday. As I read his words, my eyes were overflowing with tears and my heart was gushing with emotions. He is coming from a place of strength and vulnerability. Asking for help is difficult, so hard sometimes we talk ourselves out of ever doing it. Yet he is doing it. We all want to take care of ourselves. People can even get irritated with you if you ask to help them, as if you are taking away their sense of purpose. When we are young we are told to “Ask for help if we need it.” How did we change the need to ask for help into a sense of weakness or failure? Let’s ALL work to turn that around✨♥️
These are Adrian’s words:
I’m struggling right now. I don’t alway know if I’m strong enough to get through this. I want to be. But I’m don’t feel like I’ve got it in me on a daily basis. There are so many things that have changed. My abilities and my demeanor, maybe my personality. I feel like half of what I was. On a daily basis, I’m struggling to feel normal and to a certain extent I’m struggling to find hope. It hurts to say all of this. My family has tried so hard to be supportive and helpful and guide me through this. My mother Margaret is tireless in her assistance to me, traveling almost every week to stay with me and do pretty much everything from cleaning to making food to making me laugh (which isn’t easy these days) my sister Ariel and her husband have taken my dog Cal in and made him part of their family, in addition to helping me with my finances and just lending an ear. My brother and his family and kids always check up on me and try to make me laugh. I appreciate it so much. But they can’t be there all the time. They all seem to feel so positive about me surviving. And that’s why it kills me to say that I’m feeling so hopeless. I don’t want to diminish all their love and work and effort to support me. The only thing that keeps me going is the possibility that I’ll be able to watch Cosmo grow up and share more of his life with him.
Every day I have to think about if I should eat something. Taste is still off, brushing my teeth doesn’t help. Taking a shower, walking outside, light cleaning around the house all just wipes me out. I’m always tired, can’t depend on my body to feel good enough to leave the house and not throw up. And it’s defeating. I’m trying to stay positive but most days it’s tough. I’ve isolated myself. Why ask other for help when I feel like I can’t help myself and I don’t know when or what I can offer others?
I’m looking into therapy and meds. I really don’t need any armchair psychiatry or doctor advice. But I do need... presence. People to stop by and cook a meal or hang out for a bit, maybe try to go for walk. Watch Simpsons commentary or the Twilight Zone.
Asking for help is scary for me. This entire time it’s been scary for me. I don’t think I’ve done enough for others to deserve any kind of help and everyone has lives and loves and responsibilities but I feel like I’m at a breaking point right now and I don’t know what else to do anymore. So please, if you can... help me.
Here is the latest new for you, his fans and supporters:
After an all-too-brief respite at home, Adrian has returned to the hospital to undergo the next stage of chemo. He will be here for 4-8 more weeks, which is an incredible life disruption -- but a very necessary step toward recovery.
This heavy regime is considered a "full" or "myeloblative" transplant and is intended to combat the leukemia, empty out his bone marrow, and eliminate his immune system. The intense chemo will destroy his current cellular activity so that the donor cells can find their way into the bone marrow and begin a NEW immune system.
Essentially, they will wipe him clean and begin a fresh start with healthy cells. Your positive thoughts and energy toward Adrian, his family, and his medical team are very much needed and appreciated.
If you are able to contribute during what is a tremendously difficult financial time for our friend, it is also very much appreciated. Life and finances go on despite illness. If you cannot give in a financial way, consider reaching out to Adrian personally and offering your support. His new address at the hospital is:
Prentice Women's Hospital
250 E. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60611
The photo I've attached is from Adrian's brief time back at home in his apartment, where he spent some much needed time being dad to his amazing son.
Thank you all for your ongoing care and support of our friend!
Warmly and with gratitude,
We have increased the target goal of this fund in order to help cover the dramatically increasing cost of Adrian's health insurance. If you are in a position to offer a donation, thank you. If not, please continue to share this campaign with friends and family across social media.
Read on for an update from Adrian's mother, Margaret.
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Health & healing update for my son Adrian Lemberger:
I am happy to tell all of you Adrian is home for a while. He was able to spend the weekend with his son and is progressively generating good white blood cells.
I will be attending his next appointment with the stem cell doctor to learn more regarding his upcoming stem cell (bone marrow) transplant. The medical professionals are debating wether to use umbilical cord blood over a live donor! All new to me!
We are celebrating the ease & comfort of being home and getting excellent sleep, something that is not easily obtained while in hospital.
Also the gifts of friends and family visiting, bringing delicious food and good cheer.✨
If you plan on visiting Adrian at home please contact him first to make arrangements. It is also still very important to be in excellent health if you plan to visit.
Thank you for your sustained love and support as Adrian continues to battle AML! He can and will beat this.✨♥️✨