Dad's Medical Fund for AML Leukemia

This is my dad, Frank Jerome Sanchez. He was diagnosed in April with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

For those that know me, know I've been lucky enough in this life to grow up with two dads. My mom married my step-dad (a term none of us use) when I was three, and he's loved me like his own since day one. But I've also always stayed close to my biological dad, who lives in Albuquerque. Growing up in Texas, I'd visit Albuquerque at least a couple times a year - taking annual fishing trips with my ABQ dad and my baby sister, Hannah. Ever since she came into the picture, my ABQ dad loved her like his own too -- after all she was an extension of me, his only daughter.

{Dad riding the rapids with Hannah and I in Colorado} 

As an adult, I never would have imagined moving to New Mexico full time - but here we are on year seven. And for all the years I've missed spending time with my dad here in Albuquerque, we've tried to make up for that lost time. Living near him these last few years has been a blessing. Many of you know during the first couple years I started working at KRQE, we lost my grandparents. Both of my dad's parents in Albuquerque passed away, a year apart. Then last year we lost my sister Hannah, and my other grandpa (mom's dad) - just a week apart. While our family hasn't ever been the type to air our woes to the world, I'm once again finding myself in a position where I need to reach out.

{A dream come true: Both my dads walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.} 

This year in April, my ABQ dad, Frank Jerome Sanchez, was officially diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia. He went to the doctor with what he felt like was a respiratory problem. His doctor called on a Saturday morning with his blood test results, saying he needed to get himself to an emergency room immediately. He hasn't been able to go back to work since. He was admitted into UNMH for about seven weeks for his first couple rounds of chemo. Since then, he's had two more cycles of consolidation chemotherapy to try and kill the cancer.

But the cancer is in his bones. This means the next step for treatment will have to be a bone marrow transplant. The problem: bone marrow transplants are not done in New Mexico. We've had to look outside of his home state and back to mine, in Texas, for help. If he stays in Albuquerque, he'll continue to receive chemo and his chance of survival we're told, is about 30 percent. If he has a successful bone marrow transplant, doctors tell us his chance of longterm survival will increase to 70 percent. With the advice of my dad's doctors here, we decided UT Southwestern in Dallas will be our best shot at keeping him alive. Mainly because there, I know I have a support system of people who would be willing to help - which is key. His doctors won't send him out of state for a procedure like this without someone there to help. This is an especially tough pill for him to swallow, since he's always been very independent (and stubborn).

The other problem is that my dad's go-to support system (myself and his sister Freddi) can't be there for the duration of his stay in Dallas. Doctors are telling us he'll have to be there for at least 100 days, or about four months. We're still trying to navigate what this whole process entails, and what all we need to do. But I do know from the doctors telling me -- that I'll likely have to recruit help. Help with potential caregiving in Dallas, help with groceries or meals, laundry, etc. I don't know what exactly the process will look like just yet, so I don't have specifics to ask of anyone. But I wanted to put this out there - in anticipation that I'll need to gather troops soon. I'm trying not to worry too much, but this is scary. Scary for my dad, scary for me, and for our family. My dad is a strong, and wise 54-year-old man, who's used to walking 12 miles a day as a carrier for the USPS six days a week. Lately his muscles have depleted, and walking around his house has become a struggle. But his will to survive is strong. And I'm hopeful we can make it through this.

Thankfully his postal service insurance is helping quite a bit. But since he's not retirement age yet, and doesn't have enough years in with USPS - he's been on unpaid FMLA lately. We've been trying to make sure he can keep his insurance, paying for it out-of-pocket. We're finding there are lots of other huge expenses popping up that insurance doesn't cover. I don't like asking and I know he won't, but if there are people out there who'd like to help but aren't sure how, please know that every dollar, every prayer, or kind word of support is so greatly appreciated from the bottom of our hearts. For those interested, I'll do my best to keep this updated along our journey.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Gabrielle Hoag 
Albuquerque, NM
F Jerome Sanchez 
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