Just a couple weeks before Christmas, my sweet sister Alex Wijnen Hannon found a lump in her right breast. On Tuesday, January 2nd, after her biopsy, blood work, and MRI and Pet Scans, they finally told her the real bad news: she had 9months - 2years left. She was also told that her diagnosis of triple negative metastatic breast cancer, and the fact it had already spread to her liver, meant she would need to be on chemo treatment indefinitely. No surgery, no radiations, no hope for N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease), no likelihood of large breaks in treatment. Just one very bumpy road until it ends.
To say we are shocked and devastated is an understatement. With the exception of the lump, Alex is currently symptom-free. Of course, we ask ourselves, how can it be that she has such little time left? But more importantly, we ask how can she embrace the time she has left, and make the most of it, while still undergoing treatment to help prolong her life?
While we are still searching for answers, my family and I wanted to reach out and ask for your help for Alex and her loving husband, Todd. They are working with their oncology team at Kaiser to come up with a treatment plan that will still offer Alex the best possible quality of life while also working to keep the cancer from spreading too quickly. Alex and Todd are also exploring alternative treatment options and clinical trials - some of which would not be covered by Kaiser. One clinical trial that seems to offer everything they want would come with out of pocket costs of $200,000. And of course, there are always so many unexpected and indirect costs associated with a diagnosis, treatment and prognosis like this one. The exact treatment path is uncertain, but is certain to evolve and change course along the way so it is unclear exactly how much money Alex and Todd will need nor exactly what for. But what is clear is that our healthcare system here in the U.S. leaves a lot to be desired, and puts an unfair and unreasonable financial burden on the victims of this horrible disease.
Please help us help Alex and Todd. It is a sad truth that financial considerations often determine accessibility to treatment here in the U.S., and I hope that by raising money to cover some of the gaps Alex will feel freer to choose options that help her enjoy what time she has left with Todd, and with the rest of those of us who love her so dearly.
The funds raised here are PERSONAL GIFTS for Alex and Todd to be used to offset costs associated with Alex's cancer journey. At the end of the journey, if there are additional funds remaining, Alex and Todd wish to donate to cancer research.
We have received an outpouring of support from friends and family near and far, and as much as cancer sucks, it also shows us a goodness in humanity you don't often get to see and that is such a blessing. Thank you so very much for being so wonderful, and please continue to pray with us for strength and positivity in this trying time. You have our eternal gratitude.
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