Jeremiah Sentayo Dumais is organizing this fundraiser.
Dear Friends and Family,
On July 15th, life as I knew it got turned upside-down when I was diagnosed with an acute form of Leukemia known as Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APML). This diagnosis came while I was travelling around Europe and was certainly not the ending I had in mind for my European journey. For five weeks I received in patient care at the Royal Bristol Infirmary in Bristol, England. The Leukemia caused me to have a bleed in the brain and behind the retina of my eyes. My physician told me if I had waited another day to seek medical help, I could have died. Once my platelet count was high enough and remained stable, I was able to receive outpatient care and stayed in an apartment while receiving treatment. While in England, I was fortunate to have the physical support of my foster mother, Susan and my brother, Micah along with the emotional support of many of you. I have worked hard, I have been blessed with supportive mentors, and at 27 years old was proud of the life I had built. Life has always thrown me obstacles, but I have refused to be defeated and have always chosen gratitude instead. Leukemia is my new obstacle.
I have received one of the bills for my care in the United Kingdom, and as you can imagine five weeks of bone marrow biopsies, central lines, daily blood replacements and chemo has created a very large bill. I felt I was being responsible by being covered by multiple insurances but, unfortunately, my health insurance, travel Insurance, and Veteran Benefits have denied coverage for overseas care. I am needing to receive chemo in Boston for the next 8 months and my doctor at Dana-Farber has insisted that I not seek employment until this grueling chemo schedule is complete. Staring at this England bill, I am realizing that these next 8 months of traveling from Maine to Boston weekly and receiving treatments and medications at Dana-Farber are accruing another large bill that I can’t afford.
As many of you know, I did not have a wonderful start in life. Coming from a poor Ethiopian orphanage and being adopted into a family whose parents struggle with mental illness, created a less than happy or easy childhood. I feel blessed to have landed in a home where I observed and felt love. Once I graduated from high school I entered the Army and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Upon the end of my enlistment, I went to Hospitality/ Travel School which lead me to my job in Hawaii on a Cruise Ship. My plan during my five week break this summer was to visit family for 2 weeks and travel Europe for 3 before returning to the ship.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me over these last couple of months and want to thank you in advance for considering helping me to soften this obstacle in my life. No contribution is too small and any amount is appreciated. I have come to learn that life is unpredictable and only the Here and Now is what matters-not tomorrow or yesterday-just today. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. With deep gratitude, Jeremiah