On March 11th, RJ went to the doctor after feeling poorly for a couple of weeks. Initially, he attributed the bruises, aches & pains and fatigue to his wrestling match at the end of February. However, blood work revealed that his illness was not due to wrestling but to leukemia, specifically, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML. He was then transferred to University of Maryland Medical Center to begin treatment.
AML is type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. About 21,000 people in the US are diagnosed with AML each year. AML is treatable, and the treatment timeline and outcomes vary from person to person.
There are 2 treatment phases of adult AML:
Remission induction therapy: This is the first phase of treatment. The goal is to kill the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow. This puts the leukemia into remission.
Post-remission therapy: This is the second phase of treatment. It begins after the leukemia is in remission. The goal of post-remission therapy is to kill any remaining leukemia cells that may not be active but could begin to regrow and cause a relapse.
The purpose of this Go Fund Me is to help RJ with his medical and personal expenses over the next several months or longer so that he can concentrate on getting healthy and worry less about finances. Post-remission therapy can last for an extended period of time and RJ will likely be unable to return to his work as an electrician or wrestler in the foreseeable future. Right now, he is receiving in-patient treatment, but he will have extensive out-patient follow up care afterwards. The funds raised here will help him to cover what insurance does not pay for, as well as provide for his children and his own needs. At his request, this is the only authorized Go Fund Me established on his behalf. He will have sole access to any funds raised through this fundraiser.
For over 20 years, he has given his heart and soul to the wrestling business. One cannot think of MCW without thinking of the Bruiser. His fellow MCW family often refer to him as "the Mayor of MCW" and it is a title that is well deserved and earned. While his impact in the wrestling community cannot be understated, it is his role as a father that is truly his crowning achievement. He adores his sons, Xander and Connor and loves spending time with them. They are right by his side during this difficult time and are eager for their dad to come home soon!
So many people have reached out to offer their love, prayers and support during this time and it is truly incredible the number of lives RJ has touched over the years. No matter where you know RJ from, or if you know him as RJ or Bruiser, he has undoubtedly left an impression on you. He and his family are so thankful and grateful to all of the support that has been offered and know that with everyone on Team #BruiserStrong, leukemia doesn't stand a chance!