For those of you that know Sheila, you just gasped reading that and put your hand over your heart. Sheila is probably one of the kindest and sweetest people you know in your network. She is your friend that consistently keeps in touch and visits because friendships mean a lot to her. She is also probably one of the more unique beings in your circle. She is highly intelligent and curious, as well as, vulnerable and very sensitive. She is social yet very private and shy; happy go lucky and extremely cautious. She is fascinated by everyone, literally everyone, as well as, completely un-offendable. She is your helpful and cheerful companion.
You sigh acknowledging that she doesn't have a fighters spirit in her. She simply doesn't know how to do it which makes witnessing her in this situation crushing to the core and heartbreaking. It makes my stomach sick with angst.
In Sept 2016, Sheila had an abdominal operation to remove what was considered a benign growth; a "6 in a million" chance of malignancy.
In October 2016, to our surprise, Doctors confirmed the growth was cancer but the tumor was contained and removed.
In Nov 2016, Sheila had a clean scan. (So relieved!)
Seven weeks later a second scan revealed Stage 4, mets to lungs and pelvis, high grade tumors, too many tumors to count.
That operation upstaged a hidden cancer from zero to stage 4 in seven weeks.
Knock me over with a feather.
Friends have asked, how can we support? Here is what would be most effective and most appreciated (1) a donation, as well as, posting this Go Fund Me request on your social media sites. Let it go around the world. Sheila has many international friends and upon learning about Sheila's challenge, they will certainly want to help. (2) Not surprising, Sheila has debilitating trauma and intense depression due to this diagnosis. She has barely left her bed since February and spends her days sobbing. If you want to mail notes of encouragement, stories of miraculous healings, written prayers, handmade tokens, your favorite Sheila story or beautiful art, I have set up the following PO box: For the Love of Sheila, PO Box 411, Medford, MA 02155 (No “get well” cards, please.)
(3) if you are associated with a congregation, we would appreciate it if you could add Sheila's name to the prayers.
My Mom, Dad and I are caring for Sheila 24/7 emotionally, spiritually and physically. We attend every Doctor appt, many healing church services, perform countless hours of Google research, evaluate potential clinical trials, prepare meals for Sheila every 2 hours to get her weight up (she is down to 105 lbs at 5’8" and it is alarming us). The care is all consuming. We make sure that Sheila is never alone. If you are moved to support the caretakers; help may look like an invitation for a walk, or maybe an invite to lunch. Short breaks are important to replenish our energies and unless someone suggests the break, it is easy to be so consumed that we don’t take one.
Our monthly bills are significant because Sheila had recently made a career shift. After 20 years of working in various Corporate environments with cultures much too harsh for someone as sensitive and collaborative as Sheila; she finally mustered the courage to leave and pursue training in a healing profession. Five weeks later she is hit with this. She is now in between jobs and without adequate medical coverage. The timing of this diagnosis seems especially cruel. Sheila was stepping on a new path that was in alignment with her caring qualities and has been derailed by this diagnosis.
The Doctors in Boston (Dana Farber Cancer Center) are doing what they can but I'm learning that they do not deviate from the standard of care, despite them telling us that the standard of care isn't a cure and may only extend life for a few months.
On that note, it's time for bold action and taking matters into our own hands. There are alternative options; I’ve spoken with notable M.D.’s that have enlightened us about alternative therapies that will require trips to Germany, NYC and Texas. These treatments are outside of medical coverage and run approximately $15K per month. I have faith that we will be able to reach this fundraising goal because Sheila has done a lot of good in this world and I'm confident it will return to her as a well resourced Go Fund Me account.
I'm sure you know that Sheila is an extremely private person (this is true for my parents as well) and nobody is aware that I am reaching out to all of you for support, so I am asking that you please use discretion if you happen to speak to Sheila or my parents.
Lastly, please keep my Mom in your prayers as well. She is the silent, compassionate, selfless warrior. She is the behind the scenes “DO-er” that does not seek or want accolades or attention. Her way has always been the anonymous way. She has no time for complaints or comparison. By 13 my Mom lost both parents and throughout the years, 8 brothers and sisters. Sheila and my Mom are profoundly, profoundly close. It boggles the mind to think that my Mom would potentially have to endure more loss and heartbreak.
My determination and faith Is strong. I am aiming for the miracle.
Thank you for listening and thank you in advance for what you are about to do to support the Mahoney family.