MArch 7, 2016*****
On 9/24/2014, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, at the time of my initial diagnosis, I did not have time to "react", the rug was literally pulled from underneath me. I was transferred to Cooper, had a biopsy the following day, and began receiving chemo the day after that. I learned that I would require a bone marrow transplant, if I wanted any chance at long term survival. However, I also learned that as an Black woman, the chances of me finding a matching donor were decreased due to to the fact that most African Americans are mixed with so many different races. Another strike against me, was the fact that I don't have any "full" siblings. Talk about discouraging. I received 8 rounds of high dose chemo over the next 8-9 months with several hospital admissions, and many nights in the ICU. In May 2015 I completed my high dose chemo regimen, and began to resume somewhat of a "normal" life.
I began working with a transplant team at Rutgers Cancer Institute, where they were surprised to learn that I may have some potential unrelated donors in the registry, although they weren't ecstatic due to the risk involved. All that changed yesterday during a visit when I learned that my brother's test results came back as a half match, and he could be used as my donor! The journey I am about to embark on will not be easy, but I know God will make a way just as he has done for me every other time. I did not choose this disease, but I choose to continue to fight, not only for me, but for every other person, child, family it has effected. Thanks everyone for ur prayers and keep them going up. We need them more than ever.
Our beautiful sister Essence Hickman was diagnosed with leukemia over a month ago. Essence is a 28 year old New Jersey native, the mother of 3 year old twin boys and one of the most charismatic people we know. Even with this diagnosis, Essence has been her usual charming self and never disappoints to make us smile and laugh. As a single mother whose life has changed drastically within the past month, we understand that this transition is emotionally, mentally and financially difficult.
Due to her diagnosis, Essence is out of work and currently undergoing chemotherapy at Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ. We would like to show Essence and her 2 boys our love and support. We are looking to raise money for both Essence and her children. All money raised will go towards Essence's health care, rent, bills, groceries and clothing for her children. Our goal is to raise $10,000. With all of your support we know that this is an attainable goal.
Thank you all for your donations, words of encouragement and prayers.
- Alexandra Felsenstein
- Melissa Hicks
- Kelli Fisher
- Samantha Dow-Hankerson
- Nikia Cruse
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