Support Henry and Ruth to Health: Join Team HRJH Henry and Ruth are battling cancer together.
For those who don’t know, Ruth is a single mom who is the sole caregiver for Henry 22, Joe 20, Helen 17, and two dogs - Chloe 13, and Lola 4. This family was hit hard three years ago when Henry was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia (ALL Ph+) in the fall of 2016.
Henry was starting his sophomore year at University of Oregon’s Honors College, living in the Sigma Chi fraternity house, rocking school like he had rocked his entire life. Joe was preparing to transition to college and Helen was starting high school. Ruth was re-establishing her part-time legal practice after stepping away for almost a decade to raise her children. That all came to a screeching halt when Henry was diagnosed; since then, this family has faced tremendous adversity.
When Henry was first diagnosed with leukemia in the fall 2016,
Henry always stood as a pillar of strength and success: a driven student, star soccer athlete, team captain, Honor Society President, and Special Olympics coach. He is a person you might have envied from afar, but his quiet demeanor, twinkling blue eyes, and big smile, let you know that you are with a loving, kind, and generous friend.
Ruth’s family rallied. Their community rallied. Most importantly, Henry rallied like a champion, coping with 18 months of intensive chemotherapy the only way he knew how: with grace, strength, and determination. When all the other college sophomores went back to school, Henry did chemo: in and out of Randall Children’s Hospital, on steroids, hair loss, chemo face, exhaustion, pain, nausea. Henry’s style is head down, focus on the positive, keep a game face, and be realistic.
While Henry was fighting cancer, Ruth took a non-paid medical leave. The family then lost their only source of income. Despite this setback, Joe graduated and began at Cal Poly, and Helen embraced her Jesuit community as enthusiastically as they embraced her. Ruth returned to work at Hart Wagner and held down the family fort. This was no easy task: navigating divorce, selling the family home and moving to a rental. Throughout the chaos and transition, the family and community stuck together and made the best of change.
After a year and a half, in May 2018, Henry felt well and craved adventure. He experienced life after cancer: visited friends in Texas and Rome, worked in Yellowstone National Park, and in the fall, took off on a three-month road trip. He returned to school in mid-January 2019, attending Georgetown University in true Henry-style: full class load, part-time job, great friends, excellent results.
Just when the streak of bad luck seemed to end, Ruth was diagnosed with breast cancer in July. When Henry learned of his mom’s cancer, he told her that now, he could be her rock. That was the plan, until Henry once again felt excruciating back pain.
On the heels of Ruth’s diagnosis, and after a year of cancer-free living, a bone marrow biopsy showed that Henry’s aggressive leukemia had returned and he would require a bone marrow transplant. Joe, a perfect match, will be Henry’s donor. Helen offered to spend her first semester of senior year caring for Henry.
This family now needs you to be their rock.
Henry is undergoing chemo to get back into remission and will go through a rigorous conditioning regimen to prepare for a bone marrow transplant in the coming months. Joe is preparing to be his blood marrow donor, while also returning to university. Ruth will have a double mastectomy in September.
Ruth alone provides the family home for her children, covering all the expenses for the household. Although Ruth has health insurance for her family, their out of pocket medical expenses with deductibles and co-pays will far exceed what her sole income can absorb.
Between chemo treatments, and for several months after transplant, Henry will require medical monitoring at home that Ruth will not be able to provide. She must fight her own battle with cancer, get her daughter to college, and care for Joe, the bone marrow donor. In addition to the crippling medical expenses, your donation will provide funds for home health care, household assistance and increased daily living expenses.Gratitude is a core value for this family.
With every curve ball, medical twist, and crazy bad piece of luck, this family focuses on the generosity and beauty of their community. They know that it is this tremendous outpouring of love and support that will once again see them through.
Please use this opportunity to ease the burden that Henry, Ruth, Joe, and Helen are experiencing. Share this link with your social media community, and be a key part of their journey back to health.