Tracy's Healing Fund

$25,590 of $38,000 goal

Raised by 347 people in 41 months

My niece, Tracy Akers, has been coping with multiple leg surgeries over the past years, and was recently diagnosed with bone cancer in her leg. While this would be distressing to anyone, it is particularly distressing to her and those of us who love her, as she was establishing a record-breaking high school & college basketball experience.  -She was so dynamic on the court that friends and family of the opposing teams would often stand to cheer her on.

Along with all the medical and physical adjustments Tracy is making, she has had to come to terms with the (ongoing) process of reinventing her dreams; and she is developing her creative writing skills, among other talents. Those who know her are incredibly inspired by how bravely she is grappling with the situation.

As a consequence of the bone cancer itself, and the required year plus of treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, and more chemotherapy, Tracy has had to postpone finishing her college education and defer her applications for graduate school, and she will not be able to work. The funds from Tracy's Healing Fund will help Tracy and her single mom with all the incurred expenses that medical insurance does not cover.

While many living expenses can not be anticipated, we know she will need funding help with a cancer and chemotherapy restricted diet, special skin care, medications and supplements not covered by insurance, and associated expenses like the cost of hats and wigs; and gas and other car expenses for the commute to and from treatment.

Tracy and her mom appreciate donations of any amount, or monthly contributions, to help with the expenses associated with treating and recovering from bone cancer. The family also believes in the power of prayer, and appreciates all your prayers. 

One of Tracy's favorite quotes is by the adventure writer, Jack London,
"You can't wait for inspiration.
 You have to chase it with a club."

-Tracy is already mustering all her inner resources to manage this situation and to chase down inspiration and recovery, as she always has. Our family and Tracy thank you in advance, for assisting with the many financial needs to ensure her comfort and healing.

Blessings, to All!
And please, do share this with others.
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Dear Friends,

I graduated. To honor everyone who has been there for me throughout this journey, and in honor of every helping friend and loving heart, I am auctioning my paintings that I created throughout my fight. Cancer lost, and my degree rests in my palms. My heart is overwhelmed, and I cannot wait for my journey to Colorado. My heart is boundless.

Below you will find pictures of each piece. If you’d like to place a bid for a piece, please comment your offer on the post including the artwork’s assigned number and title. After bidding takes place over the next few days, the highest bidder (as of May 14th) can make their donation on the GoFundMe site, and supply their address in a private message. All bids begin at $15. I will ship the artwork to you soon after! If you have any questions or if you want to learn more, please send me a message via GoFundMe or Facebook! Please share this post with your friends and family!

Love and light to every one of you,
Tracy

First Photo:
Painting #1, Tiger: Spirit Animal
Sparkle Jar #1 (Red): Colors of the Wind
Sparkle Jar #2 (Black): Star Person
Painting #2: The Healing Tree
Painting #3: From the Sun We Grow

Second Photo:
Painting #1: Feathered Freedom
Painting #2, four piece: Egyptian hieroglyphics
Painting #3: Ancient Goddess
Painting #4: Bleeding Blue

Third Photo:
Painting #1: Sunrise
Painting #2, eagle: Fly from Here
Painting #3: Heart of a Stag
Painting #4: Andy Warhol inspired, Ways to Fly


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A year ago, my amputation was ripe and fresh. It was a dark wound that couldn’t be avoided with the help of any medicine or a glance in the other direction. I tried to bundle up my capacity for joy and carry it along with me as I crutched around Richmond’s campus with my friends. I tried to enjoy every senior dinner or gathering, and I tried to tell myself that I would make it to these moments myself one day. Some days were easier than others; it’s hard to carry around our pain, our broken bodies. It’s hard to watch the world move forward when you feel frozen in one place. My heart was in pieces as I tried to hold myself up to face another six months of chemotherapy, watching my friends graduating and taking off in new directions as they lived their lives with the freedom to choose their next steps.

I’m finally here, now. I’m about to experience every celebration; I’m about to graduate from the University of Richmond in only two weeks! I’ve realized, though, that happiness is something we bring to celebrations and graduations; pinnacle moments do not supply this state of being for us. Every moment is what we bring to it; how will you show up to your life?

I’ve lived my entire life here in Virginia. My heart has experienced great joy and turmoil here, and I have learned so very much. Now, though, I am ready for my heart to expand in new landscapes. My spirit is free, and I’m ready to live my life with the freedom to choose my next step.

I will be moving to Colorado in early June to live and work. I will be exploring grad-school in the coming years, and will be working in the mental health field in the meantime. I’m incredibly passionate about this work, and I want to help other minds and hearts heal for the rest of my lifetime. Joy is not the only thing I will be bringing with me to Colorado, though. My health often tries to steal my freedom, and my medical and financial burdens will continue to follow me. As I transition into adulthood and my own insurance coverage, paying for high deductibles and for prosthetics will be a looming burden, especially at the beginning of this journey.

In the following weeks, I will be preparing for my move while also working at the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness at UR. I will need to service my car for the long journey, and will begin paying student loans immediately after graduation. Returning to life after being beat down by chemotherapy is not easy, and I’m still fighting to get back. I’m still a fresh babe toddling in the world, literally just learning to walk.

This summer I will also be receiving a running leg grant; the Challenged Athletes Foundation has agreed to buy me the leg and I will be learning to run with this new equipment later in the summer or early fall. I’m incredibly excited to be more mobile, healthy, and free. The universe has continued to show me grace and love and I am incredibly grateful. I send a thousand thanks your way; you’ve helped me get back up again; you’ve helped me fight.

I’ve been longing to give back to you in some small way, and next week I plan to auction every piece of art I created during my chemotherapy treatment; this includes sculptures, painted canvas, and the like. I will be using GoFundMe to accomplish this, and will be posting pictures of each piece. If you’d like to place a bid for a piece, please comment your offer on the post including the artwork’s assigned number. After bidding takes place, the highest bidder can make their donation on the GoFundMe site, and supply their address in a private message. I will ship the artwork to you soon after! If you have any questions or if you want to learn more, please send me a message.

Forever grateful,
Tracy
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This surgery was different than any one I’d had before. The looks in each one of my doctors’ eyes told me so. There was solemnity in the air; everyone in the room was mourning for a death that would soon come. I sat in the bed with my left leg for the very last time. I had sharpie lines of poetry written up and down my leg, and paint stains on my foot from the artsy funeral I’d had around dawn. I kept staring down at it; my heart was shaking inside of my chest—trying its hardest to beat. I imagined waking up from surgery and having an empty space where there was once glorious paintings, colors, poetry, and life.

A medical student who had been around for some of my chemotherapy treatments rushed into the room. “I had to see you before…” she looks down at the scripted leg. Quick tears pool into her eyes, and I feel the solemnity of the air flow into her nostrils, her airways. “I just uh,” she begins to crinkle and open a folded paper in her trembling hands. She passes it to me and says “Do you remember reciting this Dickinson poem to me the other day?” A meek smile forms on her face, and I can feel a glowing energy pass between us. Our hearts were in deep communication. I glance down at it, and I nod.

All of the doctors around us readied for the last transition. They were setting up the rails on my bed, and unlocking the wheels so I could begin my ascension, the steady march to a new way of living. I stop them from taking me out of the prep room, and I take my friend’s hand.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

I can feel sweat tumbling down from my bald head. My heart is finally starting to beat. The room is frozen, and everyone is listening. I continue reciting.

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

The paper shakes in my hands, and my friend is trying to escape from this moment. But neither of us can.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

She ran out of the room after that. I never saw her again. But she was in my life at the exact moment she was meant to be. I’ll never forget it.

It was only one year ago that this moment took place. March 10, 2016 I lost my leg to osteosarcoma. Nothing about my life was ever the same. It wasn’t even close, actually. My fear of waking up with an empty space below me came true hours later. I remember sucking on a blue raspberry Popsicle with an attitude of false indifference, “you were killing me anyway, you had to go.”

I still miss it. I still wake up every morning with frustration in my heart. I cram my nub inside a hard plastic sleeve and I walk around campus with eyes always on the lower half of my body. It’s okay, though. It’s all okay. Everything is okay, even in all of the not-okay. Countless hearts have been holding me up this year. You’ve cheered for me as I stumble. You’ve cheered for me as I struggle to take a step. You’ve cheered for me as I had poison pumped through my veins. You’ve loved me as I’ve changed. In the chilliest lands and on the strangest seas, I’ve pushed myself to move forward. I’m still trying to do that, even today, even one year later.

Some days are harder than others. I don’t always carry an attitude that claims “you had to go.” Often I look down at the empty space and say “why did you have to go?”

The path to a better life is always a slow, grueling walk. But it’s going to take a lot more to abash this heart of mine. I have hope for the healing of my heart. I’ve already come such a long way, and I can’t thank you enough for supporting me and helping me get to where I am now.

There is so much good in the world, despite the suffering that is all around us. Keep bringing light into the darkness. Keep supporting one another just as you have supported me. The more we do this, the more hearts we can help heal.

That is my goal for now. To continue the healing of my body and my heart, and it’s not going to happen in one year, two, five, or ten. Like I said, it’s a steady walk. But I hope that along the way I will be able to help others in their healing processes. I can’t imagine a better present or future.

Thank you for being a part of my healing. I am forever grateful. I am forever touched. A piece of my broken heart returns to me with every kind word and sentiment you show me.

Thank you.

Gratefully yours,
Tracy
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Dear Friends & Family,

Amara and I initiated Tracy’s Healing Fund and want to thank you once more for all your generosity, through this fund as well as in some cases, directly to Tracy. With your support, she has been able to make all the co-pays associated with chemotherapy, hospital stays, and chiropractic/physical therapy rehabilitation. The financial support you have generously provided has also helped with special diet, fuel and maintenance for her car, and supplements. With your prayers, love, and financial support, Tracy has soldiered on, including adapting to the first prosthetic leg. We all adore and respect Tracy, and Amara and I also know how easy it is to see her strength, and maybe minimize the daily effort that overcoming cancer requires of her. Her mother and sisters have also contributed to her well-being and have suffered untold stress; and also strive to stay the course.

We must call upon you now for even greater generosity and want you to know why it is needed. Due to all the medical expenses, the deductible that Tracy must pay was significantly increased in the insurance year beginning July 2016. Many people do not realize, that prosthetic legs must be replaced every 2-3 years, and these currently cost $60,000.

Many of you know, Tracy is entering the last week of hospitalization for chemotherapy, which will be the last one, as long as her scans continue to indicate she is cancer free.

She’s requested minimal visitation as the treatment is so exhausting, but appreciates your cards and emails or texts.

Most of you know, chemotherapy itself takes so much out of a person, and requires recuperation. Nothing about any part of this recovery process is “easy”. As a result, Tracy has not been able to finish college with her peers or earn an income.

Once she has recovered from the upcoming round of chemotherapy, the difficult time of returning to the life plans that were put on hold ensues. Tracy will finish her last semester at UR, and proceed to plans for working and for grad school. Since funds have been needed for daily living and medical bills, she will require financial support from all of us for the usual expenses associated with this phase of life for any young person. Tuition, books, car expenses, food, clothes, and toiletries will continue to be necessities with which she will need financial assistance.

We all know how difficult it is to meet the daily financial demands of living. Imagine trying to accomplish this when you are still very tired and worn out from cancer treatment and adjusting to a new prosthetic leg. We can’t give our beloved Tracy our energy, but we can give her continued expressions of our belief in her, and continued financial support, as much as we are each able to do.

There is one thing else we can all do. If everyone reading this today sends at least one other person a message on facebook or by email or letter, about Tracy’s Healing Fund and the current needs, this could help to generate more of the funds that are needed.

Many of us will never meet each other, but we know each other are in Tracy’s life, and she is our connection to each other. Tracy’s mom and the rest of the family, and Amara and I are more appreciative of all your financial and emotional support than could ever be expressed. Anything else you are able to offer or can encourage others to offer will ease the already daunting prospect of the next couple years.

Thank You, God Bless You, and may you and those you love be happy, healthy, and thriving.

Love Always,
Selene & Amara (Tracy’s Aunts)
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Read a Previous Update
Jagdish Khandelwal
31 months ago
3
3

Due to my financial situation, I have no money to donate, but I hope this information will help. There are organizations that can help pay for prosthetics and someof helped friends of mine who had no insurance or other funds: http://www.amputee-coalition.org - has connections to get grants for a prosthesis. I know a woman they got a C-Leg for after she had been on crutches for several years. http://www.challengedathletes.org/ - they provide sports prosthesis for people who are trying to get active again. I know a woman who was able to run the Boston Marathon after losing her leg as a spectator in the 2013 attack. https://heatherabbottfoundation.org/ - this organization was created by another woman who survived the attack to help people get custom prosthetics like she was able to as a result of donations. http://fdrcenter.com/ - these folks developed the L.I.S.A. leg prosthesis specifically for women. Each one is modeled after the surviving leg and looks very natural for the price. A woman I know who flies for a living loves hers. I hope this information helps. Sorry I'm too broke to do any more.

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Dylan McAuley
25 months ago
1
1

Sparkle Jar #2 (Black): Star Person- $20

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Selene Miranda Drake-David
41 months ago

Dear Ones, Tracy and our family are overflowing with gratitude for your generosity. Thank you, each of you, for your contribution and your love.

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$25,590 of $38,000 goal

Raised by 347 people in 41 months
Created January 18, 2016
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$50
Anonymous
6 months ago
$25
Anonymous
17 months ago
$750
Anonymous
24 months ago
JM
$25
John Moreau
25 months ago

Tracy, congratulations on your graduation! From a fellow Spider, sending all good wishes.

$100
Anonymous
25 months ago
KR
$25
Kelly Roche
25 months ago
AG
$50
Araceli Gil
25 months ago

Go spiders!

NT
$50
Nikita Thomas
25 months ago

Spider strong! You will persevere ✊

RP
$25
Rachel Park
25 months ago

All the best, Tracy! Pulling for you :)

$100
Anonymous
25 months ago
Jagdish Khandelwal
31 months ago
3
3

Due to my financial situation, I have no money to donate, but I hope this information will help. There are organizations that can help pay for prosthetics and someof helped friends of mine who had no insurance or other funds: http://www.amputee-coalition.org - has connections to get grants for a prosthesis. I know a woman they got a C-Leg for after she had been on crutches for several years. http://www.challengedathletes.org/ - they provide sports prosthesis for people who are trying to get active again. I know a woman who was able to run the Boston Marathon after losing her leg as a spectator in the 2013 attack. https://heatherabbottfoundation.org/ - this organization was created by another woman who survived the attack to help people get custom prosthetics like she was able to as a result of donations. http://fdrcenter.com/ - these folks developed the L.I.S.A. leg prosthesis specifically for women. Each one is modeled after the surviving leg and looks very natural for the price. A woman I know who flies for a living loves hers. I hope this information helps. Sorry I'm too broke to do any more.

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Dylan McAuley
25 months ago
1
1

Sparkle Jar #2 (Black): Star Person- $20

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Selene Miranda Drake-David
41 months ago

Dear Ones, Tracy and our family are overflowing with gratitude for your generosity. Thank you, each of you, for your contribution and your love.

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