AmieJoe's Bucket List

$17,567 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 176 people in 32 months
Mo Weinman
on behalf of Heather Herman
 CORVALLIS, OR
AmieJoe Roper is an incredible nurse, mentor, and single mother to three amazing boys. 3 years ago, while pregnant with her youngest son, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been courageously battling it since. Recently, she was  given the news the cancer has spread to her lungs, lymph nodes, spine, bone marrow, and brain.

AmieJoe has been the epitome of a fighter. She has continued to work as the RN Stroke Coordinator at Good Samaritan Hospital in between her cancer treatments. She has supported her boys through milestones and sporting events - even making the local news after a referee at her eldest son's basketball game collapsed with a heart attack and she administered CPR! He lived.  She is ALWAYS giving back.

After receiving the devastating news about her cancer, AmieJoe and her son, JJ, compiled a bucket list of things she would like to do with her boys while she feels well enough. This list includes:

*A trip to Disneyland (covered!)
*Hiking through Fern Valley in the redwoods
* A road trip to the Grand Canyon
*A trip to Crater Lake
*The Polar Express train ride
*Great Wolf Lodge
*Bend snow sledding trip
*A trip to Bandon with a visit to the Wildlife Animal Park

Funds have been tight for AJ as her treatments have been lengthy and expensive, with many set backs. Her friend Heather Herman and I have decided to make this bucket list happen for her, starting with an unforgettable trip to Disneyland. As she may be weak from treatment, (she will be receiving radiation, followed by more chemotherapy) we would like to raise enough money for hotel, airfare, and tickets for her mother to travel with her as well.  If you have anything to contribute, even ideas, connections, or coupons, please contact Heather Herman or myself. Let's help AmieJoe create magical memories with her boys!
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AJ with the referee she administered CPR to, and saved.
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AmieJoe has had some changes in her health and treatment plan. With her permission, I've copied her CaringBridge update so the words are from her mouth. Thank you all for your continuing love, support, and sharing of this page.

I know it has been a while, but there has been a lot going on. First we went to Disney the 6-11, it was amazing! We had so much fun and really bonded and made great memories as a family. Jake and Joe just loved all the characters and JJ was loving the big rides. My mom and sister came with us not only to help me, but to get this special time with the kids as well. Besides Disney and California we did some downtime Disney shopping and had 2 wonderful character breakfasts to celebrate the Little's birthdays! We were given amazing seats for the light up the night parade and firework show. Friday we were able to trick or treat through Disney, Wow...what fun that was! The last night JJ and i decided to go out to the parks together so that we could have some great bonding time, and it was wonderful, and much needed. Thank you again donor family!!!! You allowed us to make this dream come true and we are truly grateful.

Well, as much as I don't want to, I need to talk about me and what is going on. So before Disney I was sick with some nasty little respiratory thing and it was nasty. Very short of breath, wheezy, coughing, ugh it was yucky. I figured a cold. After multiple visits to the doc and one to the ER, we determined that it was a flare up of asthma related to pneumonitis of my right lung. This lung has been yucky since I received radiation there last year.

We went to Disney....I was NOT going to ruin that trip, had fun, worked through it and made memories. But, I kept getting worse.

So once we got home, I called my docs and let them know I was worse. This then lead to me being admitted to the hospital. Essentially my lungs just needed a tune up with meds and treatments. Today they are better, still short of breath and a small cough, but so much better.

Unfortunately, during this stay it was discovered that the cancer has spread even further. I now have leptomeningeal metastatic disease. WHAT? This means not only in it in my brain but the lining of my brain and spinal cord and spinal fluid. This is a late stage cancer diagnosis. This is terminal and the statistics are bad....4 months. I have already started treatment, which consists of a spinal tap 2 times a week with the chemo placed in my intrathecal space so that it can circulate around my spinal cord/fluid and start to kill off some of those cancer cells. I found out yesterday that I may have radiation again, this time on my back and cauda equina which is part of the spine. I have had a numb leg due to this and hopefully the radiation will help fix that up. I have been dropped from the trial....this makes me sad, I had high hopes with that trial, and we are not sure if we are going to start whole body chemo again.

A lot of my treatment options will come down to time and quality of life. As long as I can I want to be active with the kids, if I do chemo I can't do that. So hopefully all this other stiff works so that I can hopefully have more time and possibly do a short round of chemo and then get more time. I know I am being overly optimistic...but that is who I am. I have charged through this the entire time with the attitude that I WILL WIN, and I am not about to stop now!

So today I will get treatment number 2 and a radiation plan will be made. I am not ready for 4 months left to live. I can't comprehend even what that means. I still look healthy expect for some tired eyes and big puffy face from steroids. I honestly cannot fathom that my death is that close.

So we are are going to plan our trips, Polar Express, Zoo lights, North Carolina, and what ever else we can get in. I will see JJ graduate and run his last track season, I will see Joseph play his first sport, and I will see Jacob FINALLY get potty trained!

Thank you family and friends for all the support....it is so helpful.

"She believed she could, so she did"

AmieJoe
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AmieJoe has had a whirlwind couple of weeks! I had the pleasure of visiting with her the other day. Despite losing her hair from the radiation, she was in true AmieJoe form: all smiles. I always feel so blessed to be in her her presence. She is a positive life force.
On Sept. 21, AJ had an appointment at OHSU where she found out she MAY be a candidate for a special immune boosting drug. The therapy is called triple negative treatment. She will have to wait until her course of radiation is over- late Oct/early Nov. If the brain and bone mets are unchanged or better, she will be considered for the trial. Lots of good thoughts her way- this clinical trial will be her best chance at survival.
On Oct 6th, through the generosity of this page and our community, AmieJoe, her mom, sister, and boys will head to Disneyland for an unforgettable vacation. On Oct 19th, she will begin chemotherapy regimen of 2 weeks on, one week off for the next 6 months.
AmieJoe has also received the news she will not qualify for the financial benefits she applied for until April. This will leave her (and her boys) on an extremely limited income for the next 6 months, while she is receiving treatments and weakened.
I have seen the power of sharing this page over social media, and I am continuously amazed by the generosity and support of our community. Please consider continuing to share this page so we can cushion this amazing family, and give them one less thing to worry about, and please send healing thoughts and prayers to AmieJoe, that the mets to her brain and bones are unchanged, and she will qualify for this treatment she so desperately needs.
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5 years ago, I started in the ICU at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center as a Unit Aide while I worked my way through nursing school. AmieJoe Roper was my Charge Nurse. As I struggled with juggling three small children, a full time job, and nursing school, I was given tough love (as only AmieJoe can administer!) by this wonderful epitome of a nurse. I remember watching her run a code once. She was the calm in the chaos- methodically and assertively giving orders to all in the room off the top of her head. The physicians were looking to her for what to do next. Her presence was so powerful- I remember thinking "I want to be like her when I grow up!"

AmieJoe was also my "secret pal" for an entire year, leaving gifts in the break room for my kids and I, and brightening my life during a very stressful time. She will always have a special place in my heart.

I am overwhelmed by the love and generosity AmieJoe and her boys have been shown since this page was started. Initially, our goal was to fund her bucket list, as her prognosis and treatment plans were not known. We wanted them to make memories, and not need to worry about the financial aspect. After speaking with her yesterday, I have decided to increase the goal of this page. She has a rough road ahead, and while these wonderful trips we have planned are paid for, she will need all the financial help to she can get.

First, the happy news: through the generosity of our amazing community and this page, we have an unforgettable trip planned for AJ and her boys! A 6 day trip the first of October to Disneyland with airfare, hotel (complete with kitchenette and groceries!), tickets to both parks, events (Mickey's Not-So-Spooky trick-or-Treat, Character dinner, shows, etc), COMPLETELY taken care of for AJ, her boys, her mom, and sister. It will be a surprise for the little ones, who have never been. AmieJoe is over the moon with the prospects of wonderful memory making. :)

Now for the tough stuff. Her physicians have given her a prognosis of 6-18 months- if her treatment plan works. The plan is aggressive, and will leave her with the burden of time and travel costs, while not receiving an income.
She will have radiation through the end of the month, M-F which requires a trip back and forth to Corvallis from Albany.
She have monthly shots for the bone mets.
In October, she will be starting chemo, again in Corvallis, this will require at least bi weekly trips to treatment. If she is accepted into the drug trial she will be receiving treatment at OHSU in Portland- which of course is a bit more expensive for travel, and she is not sure if any any hospital time is required.

AmieJoe is officially on a medical leave from her position as the Stroke Coordinator at GSRMC with her job and benefits (though no income) retained until Dec. At that point, she will have to give up her position and either buy her own insurance privately, or through COBRA, which over $700 a month. While she has applied for every government benefit available, those benefits generally take 5-6 months to be approved, and are not guaranteed. Some look at 3 months past income to determine eligibility- and this may further postpone her qualification.
If and when her benefits are approved, she will be making 70% LESS than when she was employed. This will not be enough for her and the boys to live on.

AmieJoe has put herself through school TWICE as a single mom (recently earning her Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree!) and it has been hard for her to reach out for help. To those who have donated, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. Your generosity has warmed the hearts of the medical staff and community who love this woman so much. If you can please continue to pass along this page on social media, I think we can give AmieJoe and her boys the nest egg they so desperately deserve.

If you have any questions or further ideas of how you can help, please contact me (Mo Weinman) or Heather Herman. We want this process to be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
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Friends, we have a few updates since we started this page. AmieJoe has decided on a course of radiation to her brain mets, as well as chemotherapy. The radiation will last three weeks, and started yesterday. Her hope is to get the boys to Disneyland in between when her radiation treatment is over, and before her chemotherapy begins. Thank you to everyone who has donated thus far, as you can see, that trip is covered!

AmieJoe's doctors have encouraged her to resign from her beloved job as the RN Stroke Coordinator at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, and go on disability. This will require her to obtain a private insurance called COBRA to pay for her treatments, which is very spendy. AmieJoe is struggling with this- as funds are about to get scary low. My hope is we can keep this page going so AmieJoe and her boys can enjoy the things on her bucket list (see updated list items!) while she continues to so bravely fight for her life.

Again, thank you to all who have donated money, time, effort, and ideas. My heart is warm with your love!

-Mo
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$17,567 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 176 people in 32 months
Created September 6, 2015
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