Friday, March 30 was a good day. After all, It was a Friday and spring was on the way (or so we thought). Though Shannon had been feeling under the weather, surely it was just a wintertime bug that would fade with the cold weather. But the next day, the world was turned upside down for the Camlek family. On Saturday, March 31, at the age of 50, Shannon was diagnosed with a type of leukemia called Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), and she was admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire to begin immediate treatment. And so the fight with the “Beast,” as Shannon’s friend called it, began.
Within a few days of her diagnosis, Shannon and Tim learned that she had a “special” type of leukemia, FLT 3, or Flit 3, that required redoubled efforts. Shannon was transferred to Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN where she is in the midst of more than a month of intensive chemotherapy. Tim has been staying with her for days at a time, and driving back to Eau Claire often to be with their kids, Nora (10), Connor (15), and Emma (18).
Once the current round of treatments are done in a week or so Shannon is scheduled to receive a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. While that will hopefully be a very positive development for her recovery, it means that Shannon will have to live within twenty minutes of Rochester for at least three months. Needless to say, Eau Claire is not within 20 minutes of Rochester.
And so a new chapter in this battle with the Beast will begin. Tim has found an apartment for the family to “vacation” in Rochester this summer. In the meantime, so many friends and family have stepped in to take care of the kids, of Tim, and of Shannon. With the help of so many life goes on for Emma, Connor and Nora with prom and confirmation coming soon, and summer around the corner.
As with everything in their lives, Tim and Shannon have approached this latest chapter with humor, grace and some swearing. They have been profoundly moved by the endless love and support, as well as the constant practical help from their friends and family. Their schools have also been amazingly supportive, helping Tim and Shannon in more ways than they ever could have imagined. But now they need help in a different way as well. As you can imagine, the expenses are piling up in every direction. At first it was just some out-of-pocket costs and driving to the hospital, and then came the travel to Mayo. Now the costs of an apartment for the whole summer, meals out, hotel rooms that may be needed between Shannon’s release and the availability of the apartment, and gas to get back and forth. For weeks, Shannon and Tim resisted when asked about setting up this go fund me page. Now they have said yes.
We are trying to raise $15,000 to help them. Any contribution, big or small, will be an enormous blessing to the Camlek family. With your help, they can set aside some of their worries about the mounting bills and dwindling bank accounts — and with teachers’ salaries, there wasn’t too much there from which to dwindle :o) — and focus on fighting the Beast.
To get the latest on Shannon’s battle see:
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- Mark Elworthy
- Sarah-Byron Anderson
- Jared Walther
- Precison Pipeline
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