"Sorry, the cancer has returned" the doctor said.
No one wants to hear these words. But that's what my son, Tarik, and I were told on 7/11 last year.
The first bout with lukemia lasted 3.5 gruling years of painful treatment, thousands of pills, dozens of shots, numerous hair loss episodes, over a hundred lost school days, constant isolation, endless days in the hospital, and many, many tears. It was so hard for me to watch my son fight this battle so I got in the ring with him. I stopped working for 1.5 years to be his medical advocate while his dad kept working to keep the insurance going. There was no way I would let my 12 year old be alone during this time. The end result for me was 20 extra stress pounds and financial ruin as I had to take out loans to live. However, Tarik never woke up from an operation or had a difficult procedure without me or his dad being there.
Fast forward to 2017, Tarik is 21 years old and this second fight with lukemia is even more serious. After looking for answers across the nation, a bone marrow transplant was the only option. It has been very, very harsh with months in the hospital and numerous complications. Despite these circumstances, all of the doctors and nurses frequently comment that Tarik's faith and calm and cooperative spirit makes the journey look easy.
He missed his junior year at the University of Miami as a bio-medical engineering student. He could not complete his coveted internship with the FDA. Although he had just joined Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity the previous semester, he was unable to participate in any activities. Again, he was in isolation for months with just his dad, the medical staff and me. I was just beginning to make a dent in the debt I had incurred during the first leukemia fight. I have been unable to work, but this time, there are no savings to live off.
After six months of hospitalizations, he is receiving out-patient treatments a few days a week. I am happy to report Tarik is regaining his strength and is headed back to college. However, we don't have the funds to pay tuition and we don't have the funds to pay the outstanding medical bills. Cancer is VERY EXPENSIVE. Tarik’s credit is being affected by medical bills. It is such a shame.
We need funds as soon as possible. I hesitated starting a GoFundMe page but my son really needs a win. He has faced so much. He deserves to get back to somewhat of a normal life as a college student. He is brilliant and such a loving young man with a bright future. Everyone who knows him will say he is destined for greatness, however, that can't happen if he cannot make it back to school.
Any support you can provide would be deeply appreciated.
Here is Tarik’s life goal:
“I intend on using my knowledge and creativity to create better cancer treatments that are less expensive, less harmful to the body and more effective. It is my goal to one day own my own biomedical engineering company that is on the cutting edge of biomedical research and development."
- Shelby Koos
- Alani Fujii
- Bowyer Freeman
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