Hope for Hope

Hope Speenburgh Oakes, a 34 year old mother of 2 young children (11 month old & 3 year old), was diagnosed on February 22, 2014 with a very rare, very aggressive, sudden onset myelodysplasia. As a healthy, outgoing, hardworking, happy young woman this diagnosis was a shock, especially after losing her loving father, Larry Speenburgh, the week before Christmas. Larry fought a yearlong battle with a terminal illness & Hope & her family were a huge part of supporting him through it.

Hope's myelodysplasia is rapidly progressing to acute myelocyctic leukemia. She has already completed her first round of chemotherapy and is preparing for a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA in early May 2014. Between now & then she will be at Albany Medical Center in Albany, NY undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and receiving multiple blood transfusions weekly. We are hopeful the stem cell transplant will provide a cure. Hope's 3 siblings, Shannon, Trevor & Carrie, are currently being tested as potential donors.

While Hope's health insurance will cover the majority of her medical expenses, there are still financial obligations the family is dealing with as a result of her illness. This includes her out-of-pocket payment for medical expenses (including many prescriptions) & travel expenses (gas, tolls, parking) to & from Albany & Boston. She will be out of work for at least a year. Her husband Josh, an Officer with the Columbia County Sheriff Department for the past 10 years, is currently working full-time and simultaneously dealing with this family crisis.

Many of you have asked how you can help. Please know that any contribution will help take some of the additional financial pressure off of the family. Your contribution will go directly to Hope & Josh & will be used on the costs described previously. Any amount helps, for instance, parking in Boston is $30 per day and Hope will be hospitalized there for up to 100 days.

If you'd like to send a personal note of encouragement, Hope's email address is [email redacted]. Her mailing address is: Hope Oakes, 3370 Route 9, Valatie, NY 12184.

If you are intereseted in donating blood in Hope's name you can contact the Red Cross at http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood. If you are interested in donating stem cells in Hope's name you can contact Dana-Farber at http://www.dana-farber.org/How-to-Help/Donate-Bone-Marrow.aspx.While it is not possible to request a specific donation for blood or stem cells to Hope, any donation dramatically increases the resources she is receiving treatment from.

Hope's positive outlook is inspiring all of us in her family as we cope with this latest blow. We're looking forward to better days with everyone in good health.
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Shannon Haraldsen 
Framingham, MA
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