Help My Dad Beat Leukemia

Hi, my name’s Meli Grant, and my dad, Michael, is fighting Leukemia. Basically he has cancer in his bone marrow. It’s called AML, or Acute Myeloid Leukemia. It started as MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome), which means that he has multiple chromosome abnormalities and as a result his bone marrow doesn’t produce cells properly. It results in a dangerously low blood count (super low energy), low platelets (he bleeds and bruises easily, and doesn’t heal well), and low white counts (most of us know what that means, but basically little things our bodies are really good at protecting us from can be a life or death situation for him). Ultimately, if untreated, it means losing my dad.
Case and point, my dad spent nearly a month straight at Saint Francis Hospital on Long Island between their medical ICU and an isolated room where he’d be safe from infection after his cheek was hurting one night, and we discovered he had a fever over slices of pizza. Not exactly what we imagined life had in store for us when we ordered that night. At different intervals, he’s had a picc line in his arm, a port implanted in his chest, and the scariest one was a temporary line in the side of his neck that went straight to his heart so that he could receive blood and medicine in a timely manner. He spent multiple nights in an oxygen mask and when I wasn’t with him, I’d be home stress-drinking coffee until 5 in the morning. Happy we’re past that.
Now for the good news. My dad has been very privileged to have fantastic healthcare courtesy of his job. He’s a high school teacher at Friends Academy, a Quaker private school on Long Island. He teaches stagecraft, working one on one with some amazing kids, and manages their theater. Before that he worked for over twenty years in professional theater in New York City.
As a result of his great insurance, he’s had nearly everything covered thus far, and where we’ve run into unexpected bills, we’ve been able to challenge them and come out on top.
The best news of all is that he’s in REMISSION!! We couldn’t be more grateful.
So why is there a GoFundMe page then.
Here’s the thing. He’s not cured until he’s had a stem cell transplant. This will involve another intense round of chemo, (another) full month in the hospital, and then two or three months more in a sterile environment somewhere within walking distance of the hospital (Memorial Sloan Kettering).
Here’s where we’ve run into trouble.
Housing is offered by MSK, but it’s very expensive. There’s a good chance we’ll have to pay up to $50,000, between housing and live-in aids. None of this is covered by insurance.
This is how the numbers break down.
     •       The housing option provided by the hospital works out to about $7500 a month. The social worker emphasized that some past patients have opted to rent a NYC apartment instead. ~$15000
     •       He is required to have 24/7 supervision, in the event that something goes wrong, medical emergency or otherwise. This role can be filled by family members. That mostly comes down to me, but I live in Dallas and I’m already flying back and forth regularly for work. I’m going to be trying to fill as much of that time as I can. Hopefully as much as 50% of that time. Hiring an aid works out to about $25-30 an hour, 24 hours a day, which adds up in just a few months to: ~$20,000 - $30,000.
If we are unable to meet this housing/supervision requirement, the hospital won’t do the procedure. We are expected to make a decision imminently, so we’re going forward with it, even if it means a lot of financial risk and instability.
So the number above ($50,000) is a number that would take care of everything for us and provide us with some protection against unknowns. That would be incredible.
What we are asking is if you want to donate to help us get through this, then whatever you donate would be welcome. No amount is too small. Any amount helps to reduce the financial burden and stress that it can cause my dad as he begins his new future cancer-free.
If we hit our goal, we’re grateful, if we manage some of it, we’re grateful. And if we somehow wind up with more than we need, any excess will be donated to the hospitals that have taken such good care of him throughout this process, Saint Francis, Weill Cornell, Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
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Michael Grant 
Glen Cove, NY

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