On April 4th 2017, Mark started his battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). It is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Along with his loving wife Jennifer and their 6 year old daughter Maya, Mark began his fight. He went through many strenuous medical procedures including lumbar punctures, chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions and frequent trips and long stays in the hospital. Jen was by his side any time she could be, and he remained strong and fought hard.
On June 20th Mark and Jen welcomed their second daughter, Ezra into the world. Daddy was able to be there and hold his new baby girl for the first time. Time stood still for the new family of 4 and they held on to each other filled with happiness and joy, if only for a moment.
June 7th Mark was admitted to the hospital again and was in and out over the next several months. He fought so hard to be well enough to go home and be with his wife and two beautiful daughters. They celebrated Maya’s 7th birthday on July 30th at Froedtert Hospital together as a family.
In early August, Mark hit a few bumps in the road. The leukemia infiltrated his facial area, behind his eye and in his sinus cavity. He was back in the hospital getting radiation and scheduled for more chemo. Jen and Mark celebrated their 10 year wedding anniversary September 7th.
Mark and his family continued to jump through hoops because of this horrible cancer that had taken over his body and caused him so much trauma. He continued to fight and Jen continued to stay strong. Mark was home for Christmas with his beloved family. He watched his daughters open gifts and saw the beautiful unadulterated joy that is a carefree, happy kid. What an amazing gift for him and for his family to have what would become a bittersweet memory in the month to come.
December 31st, they found out Mark had had a stroke. His thought process was foggy, he wasn’t too steady on his feet, and his memory was suffering. He did get to go home briefly after this. However on January 12th he wasn’t admitted again, and for what would turn out to be the last time.
During the next several weeks, Mark tried as much as his body would allow, to fight this. He was put through so much medically all while not being able to fully comprehend most times what was really going on. Jen brought the girls to see their daddy, something they will always remember or be reminded of. They got to make paint hand prints with daddy’s hand, to always have a piece of him with them. Jen got one too. On February 5th, Jen made the hardest decision she has ever made. Mark was put into hospice care. He fought so long, and so hard, and it was time for him to rest. On February 7th, at 4pm, Mark took his last breath. Jen was at his side, holding his hand as he passed. Maya now has the very important job to tell her baby sister all about her daddy, and Jen will never let either of them forget him for a second.
Mark was a loving husband, and an amazing father. What happens to him and to this beautiful family, isn’t fair. This is such a watered down version of their story. Just the facts as quickly and easily as they can be given to you. This does not tell you about the hopes and dreams that Mark and his wife had together. It doesn’t tell you if the moments that Maya had with her dad building sandboxes and fishing that she will cherish and miss for the rest of her life. This doesn’t say all of the things baby Ezra will have to hear about but never experience because she never got the opportunity. Cancer robbed this family of so much. They will forever have the memories and echother to love and hold onto the way that Mark would want. And he will always be with him.
Please consider donating ting to help this family. To give them time to grieve properly without having to worry about the financial burden they now face. Help us and join together to help Jen and her girls. Show them the love they need in what is the hardest time of their lives.