"My name is Jennifer Byrne and I'm 41 years old. I was first diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia 2 years ago in September 2015. A chemotherapy option was presented to me in pill form but would compromise my ability to ever have children naturally while on it. In order to get the leukemia in remission, I would have to take the pill for the rest of my life. Once off of it, the leukemia returns. It is a very serious blood cancer that without treatment, expectancy for survival is 2 years after diagnosis. Although I've lived longer than expected without treatment, the time has come where it is necessary for survival.
I went as long as I could without taking the pill. I tried it on my own with organic food options but with medical bills of recurring blood tests, that's not always affordable option as a single woman that supports herself. My blood test results a few weeks ago just past the 2 year mark, showed a dramatic rise in my white blood cell count into dangerous levels where I was hospitalized last week to start the chemotherapy treatment as an emergency to save my life.
I am right on the cusp of the only cure known in the states covered by insurance being a bone marrow donor along with aggressive chemotherapy that comes with many complications. Hopefully, the chemotherapy treatment I am currently on will be effective. But even at it's most effective, is still NOT A CURE. The leukemia had hijacked my system so much that I needed a blood transfusion to bring up my red blood cell count while in the hospital.
The way it's been explained to me is that once your body's immune system has been compromised for a period of time, it is very hard to recover. It's like a bear has been chasing you for a really long time and the body is tired and worn out. The toll cancer takes on you emotionally and physically is almost too much to bare sometimes.
There is a known cure for my type of leukemia in Arizona at New Hope Unlimited where they use all natural procedures to clean the blood with ultraviolet rays and bring your body back to balance with your own T-cells to fight the disease without chemotherapy which causes further damage over time. It is a 12 day procedure with only a 4 month follow up locally where I live in South Florida. It is the CURE, not a band aid. It has a very high success rate.
The procedure is not covered by insurance and costs 28,000. That along with flights, other travel expenses, time taken off work without pay and other medical bills- I'm looking to raise 35,000 as my goal. I may not hit that, but any amount counts. The longer I wait, the more damage is being done to my body in the long run. Any amount that exceeds that, I would like to pay forward to another cause close to my heart on Gofundme.
Although I have cancer, I refuse to be defined by it. I am not Jennifer who has cancer. I am Jennifer. I have dreams, hopes, and desires that I refuse to let cancer have.
I've been lucky to work with Carnival Cruise Line for the past 2 years and happy to share in the experiences of booking cruises for everything from Honeymoons to Anniversaries, Graduations and for many other cancer fighters and SURVIVORS celebrating their lives and I desire the same for my own life.
I would love the opportunity to be married and have my own children still even though some say it's getting harder to do at my age. It's my dream to sing one day also and although I'm doing that now, I want to do it CANCER FREE and with a testimony in my heart to sing about forever! With a story to tell my children, that there are still wonderful people in this world who love. I also want to give others hope that have been fighting all kinds of cancers themselves, that they are not alone in the journey and that there are other options out there. I want to take you along the journey and document the progress. I want to be the example of someone who has SURVIVED!
I am asking that you join this fight with me. With the strength of God, I wish you to help me in taking back my life…with a view to a wonderful future."
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