Hello family and friends,
I created this website on behalf of my nephew, Ryan Shaugnessy, and his loving family (Melissa, Robert, Aidan, Avery, and Chase). On Wednesday, September 12th, my 17 year old nephew was rushed to the ER and sadly was diagnosed with AML-Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He was not ill, and just like that, their lives were turned upside down. Yesterday, he had his first surgery and started chemotherapy last night. Luckily, he has a great team of doctors, however he will have to remain in the hospital for 5-6 months. You see, the form of leukemia he has, is very aggressive and requires intensive chemotherapy. Essentially, his immune system will be destroyed and he will need to be quarantined as his body will be unable to protect itself from infection and he will be very sick from treatment.
In case you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Ryan, he is a sweet, quirky, funny boy. Ryan has had his share of challenges in his life and we are heartbroken that he has to overcome one more. Ryan was looking forward to going back to his 1st job at "Greek Eats'" and attending high school this Fall as a Junior. Now, he will be home-schooled in the hospital for the remainder of the year. Ryan's current passion is enjoying the process of film and editing. He has the cutest smile and blue eyes you have ever seen..and if that isn't enough, he has a huge heart--which in my mind is everything.
As you can imagine, this arduous journey will take an enormous emotional, mental, physical, and financial toll on the family. Our family is small, and with me 3,000 miles away, their resources and help are limited. Ryan's hospital is one hour away from their home and the family has two younger siblings who are in school and have numerous after school activities. My twin sister is a stay at home mom and her husband works full-time as a NJ State trooper. The logistics of how this will all work are still up in the air. My brave, mama-bear sister has been by Ryan's side and will remain at the hospital with him until he comes home. Childcare, transportation, food, and medical expenses will be enormous.
I am not one to ask for help, but I know in times like this, it takes a village.
With love and appreciation,
Cindy (Melissa's twin sister/Ryan's aunt)