At age 17, Cody's senior year of high school was halted midway by a rare blood cancer called MDS, which quickly progressed to Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), requiring extensive, aggressive treatment to begin immediately. In February while preparing to begin treatment, a very successful Bone Marrow Registry drive was held in Fairfield. 125 people were added to the registry as potential donors, and several thousand dollars were raised to pay for adding those people to the registry!
Since then, Cody has been in the hospital: for numerous surgeries, dozens of tests and procedures, 3 rounds of high-dose, inpatient chemo, dozens of transfusions, all leading up to a Bone Marrow Transplant on July 12. Unfortunately, Cody's bone marrow transplant failed, which has left him with no bone marrow, and therefore no immune system. He cannot create his own blood, and depends on transfusions of donated blood to keep him alive. Immune cells can't be transfused, though, so Cody has been in isolation in the hospital since July 4th. Through it all, he has kept a fantastic attitude and a smile on his face. He also never fails to say "thank you" to his doctors and nurses:.who adore him!
Tuesday (9/17), he started yet another round of chemo, had full-body radiation on Friday 9/20, and then had a second Bone Marrow Transplant on Saturday, September 21, 2013. This time, the cells were from a perfectly matched donor, so we pray this one will work! If everything goes really well, he could be out of the hospital in time for Thanksgiving.
Even once he's released, he will have a looong road ahead before he gets back to any semblance of the "normal" life of an 18-year-old. His immune system will remain heavily suppressed, so Mom and Dad have been facing some heavy-duty expenses: having ducts cleaned, getting cars detailed, professional house cleaners coming in, and of course many hundreds spent on gas, maintaining two "households," and a Ronald McDonald House bill of well over $4000 (it's an absolute blessing, but it's not free!). Combine those with missed work/lost wages, and you've got a paycheck-to-paycheck situation at best.
Because Cody turned 18 during treatment, he cannot have a Make-A-Wish. If he could have one, it would be for something simple: a more dependable vehicle. An immune-suppressed young man should definitely have reliable transportation, but the used car Cody bought at a local car dealership a year or so ago came complete with a list of problems that'll cost more to fix than the car's worth, and make it dangerous to drive. What he really wants is a small truck: preferably a newer-model Toyota Tacoma or a Honda Ridgeline, and that's where we are asking for help.
We know that so many of you have felt helpless watching Cody's struggles, wanting to do something to help. This is an opportunity to contribute toward something that will directly help CODY. Younger kids might want trips to Disneyland, but for Cody, having a reliable vehicle will allow him the peace of mind to feel like he can at least go for a drive (one of his favorite de-stressors!) and not have to worry about being broken down on the side of the road somewhere. Even though he won't be allowed to do much else for a while, we can help him have that.
Every little bit helps, and is so very appreciated.
You can also keep up with Cody's journey through cancer on CarePages.com by searching for TeamCodyCohen.
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