A GoFundMe account was started in a few years ago to help the Taveras family -- Katherine, father Jorge, son Leandro and daughter Sofia -- to bravely battle cancer and help ease the unpredictable financial burden that any double dose of a cancer can have on one family: between high insurance deductibles, job loss, COBRA healthcare premiums, etc. the fund was a huge relief and helped them focus on getting better one day at a time. It helped to pay for so many things including a large "out of pocket" expense, a lifesaving medication -the cost was over $14,000 for the dose and because it was still in the "experimental" stages, it was not covered by health insurance.
***Fast forward to NOW....the summer of 2017 ****....and the family has now had 4 individual bouts with cancer. Genetic test results confirm no that there is no family history of either cancer. Leandro battled early childhood leukemia for 27 months and then a sudden relapse 12 years later (last summer). Thankfully he is healthy now, in college, cancer free and doing well a year post transplant! Sofia, his sister, 2 years younger immediately stepped up to be tested and with just a cheek swab the kit was sent off to see if she was a match. Luckily she was and even a "Perfect 10 point match" saving the family precious time. Sometimes the time-sensitive, slow process of finding a donor, coordinating donor and recipient schedules, tests, flights and surgery dates and often it's not even a guaranteed match is often a whole journey in itself! With siblings there is only a 1 in 4 percent chance to be a match. Sofia is now a college campus ambassador at her school creating awareness and sharing her story for The Gift of Life Marrow Registry -visit www.giftoflife.org for more info.
Katherine, still recovering and in remission was happy to have been able to see both of her children off to their first year of college and gives herself new goals to look forward to after every 3 month doctor check up and CT scan comes with good news.
UNTIL NOW : a second cancer diagnosis for Katherine has surfaced and "our fighting champ" and "Whipple Warrior", is battling again cancer for the second time, requiring yet another surgery and possibly more treatments. This is a new campaign with a fresh new goal!!
Katherine was diagnosed at age 46 in 2014 with 3rd deadliest cancer in America-Pancreatic Cancer. It was in the late stage 3 and borderline/inoperable being told by the initial hospital that she had a few months to live and they could give chemo to make her comfortable. "That just wasn't going to work for her" and over 2 weeks time sought out 3 other second opinions until she found a Pancreatic Team of doctors that gave her HOPE! That was all she needed and with the support of her husband, 2 teenage kids, family, friends and tight knit community, Katherine went through a grueling 7 + months of chemotherapy with horrible and painful side effects, 1000's of oral medications, 28 rounds of radiation, all with the HOPE and goal to make it to "The Whipple Surgery" successfully - which she did! Soon after, she nearly died in the hospital from Sepsis and was put on a feeding tube and went through months of inpatient hospitalization and after that, outpatient physical therapy. She had never once stopped giving up and had tirelessly moved forward to find a new "normal".
How many of us would continue to fight so courageously? How many of us would have survived intact from such a grueling period, from so many overwhelming struggles? This family did. During this time, the Taveras family repeatedly inspired our town, schools and community with their strength, their endurance, sense of humor and their love. And they won.
My name is Ilene Anesini, and I am one of many friends of the Taveras Family who have been touched through the years by their love, their humor, their strength, and their wisdom. I am just one of the many people who want so desperately to love and to support them once again as they have to go through yet ANOTHER unbelievably difficult time.
Who, then, would have imagined this family could possibly be forced to fight another war with cancer? But early a few short months ago, the family learned the incomprehensible, devastating news that Katherine -- who fought so hard during her young child’s hellish illness -- now has a NEW cancer diagnosis and is now in a terrible fight yet again for her own life.
Please join our efforts in raising funds for this incredible family. Please know that no gift is too small, and each and every one will be appreciated beyond measure! Should you prefer to make a direct or cash donation to "Team Taveras" / Katherine- please contact me, Ilene, and I will get that info to you. Please feel free to "share" this link on your Facebook pages-we want to get the word out!
It is our hope that the Taveras family focus solely on Katherine's treatments, health, and well-being. They will need all the energy they can gather, and we don’t want them to have to spend even one minute thinking about the heavy financial burden that has already fallen on them. All donations will be used to offset the loss of income from Katherine's job, medical expenses and care, the exorbitant out-of-pocket deductibles for medications, necessary travel expenses, and an education fund for both Leandro and Sofia.
It is also extraordinarily important to Katherine that we raise awareness of Pancreatic Cancer. Less than 6 months before being diagnosed, she received a perfect bill of health at her Annual Well Visit, at her mammogram screening and at her OBGYN exam and was told the minor symptoms she was feeling were probably “stressed related.” She was a healthy woman otherwise with no medical conditions. Right now there is no routine screening for pancreatic cancer. It is "the silent and deadly cancer" and usually not detected until it's reached stage III or IV and by then considered incurable (the survival rate over five years is minuscule). As with Katherine, symptoms are often vague and easily confused with other illnesses. Yet, despite the odds, it’s Katherine’s wish both to raise awareness that the development of an effective screening test is crucial and to give HOPE - hope to defeat the odds and see the five year survival rate of pancreatic cancer in line with that of breast cancer, which is now at an incredible 88%. Katherine often quotes fighter Muhammad Ali, “Don’t count the days, make the days count!” and is never ever giving up HOPE!
Thank you for taking the time to read this . Feel free to post comments, I know that Katherine is very open about her illness and loves to hear words of encouragement!
Your generosity, love, prayers and support are all truly appreciated.
Help spread the word!
- Didi Chakansky
- Jim Woods
- Audrey Greenblatt
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