Gillian's Get Well Fund

This past fall, our dear friend Gillian could feel that something was going on with her body when her lymph nodes swelled considerably.  After some initial biopsy results, Gillian got the call from her doctor and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  She was then referred to an amazing doctor, Dr. Hellerstedt at Texas Oncology, who ordered a plethora of additional tests.  By December, Gillian had undergone a PET scan, CT scan, bone marrow biopsy, pulmonary function test, echocardiogram and additional blood tests.  The testing indicated a mediastinal mass in her chest measuring 12.5cm by 7cm.  By mid-December, it was confirmed by Dr. Hellerstedt that Gillian had Stage 2b (bulky) Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system.  Because this system is part of the immune system, it comprises the body's ability to fight infection. It's not clear what causes Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Doctors know that most Hodgkin's lymphoma occurs when an infection-fighting cell called a B cell develops a mutation in its DNA. The mutation tells the cells to divide rapidly and to continue living when a healthy cell would die. The mutation causes a large number of oversized, abnormal B cells to accumulate in the lymphatic system, where they crowd out healthy cells and cause the signs and symptoms of Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Gillian had all of the classic symptoms including swelling of lymph nodes in her neck, persistent fatigue, fever and chills, night sweats, loss of appetite, and significant weight loss.  Gillian was down to only 111 pounds, a very low wright for her 5’9” frame.

Gillian is currently undergoing ABVD chemotherapy to treat the cancer.  Gillian goes in every week, alternating chemo and bloodwork.  The treatment, depending on her personal progress, can last about 6 months.  Gillian has been so optimistic, but the treatments and necessary blood transfusions have been exhausting and painful at times.  As always, Gillian’s spirit shines through and her prognosis and the reports from doctors are both very good.

Despite her optimism, Gillian is currently unable to work and is very limited in the activities that she is able to do so that she does not expose herself to illness due to her weekend immune system.  Many people have asked how they can help and support their amazing friend, and this campaign is to do just that!  The funds raised will help Gillian with various medical expenses and to help pay for artistic and creative outlets that she wants to pursue.  Because she is often at home, she would love to get a sewing machine and some fabrics, learn embroidery and expand her creative self. 

We appreciate any gift to help this amazing girl as she gets healthy!  Gillian Get Well!!!


Gillian's Friends
Austin, TX

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