John is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He is the person we turn to for advice in any situation because he always knows the right thing to say. He is a hard worker who is always there for others. On a personal note, John loves working out, eating healthy, going to the movies, and is always down for an adventure at the lake or a haunted house. John is so much fun and really is just the best!
John was fortunate to meet with one of the country’s leading oncologists that has worked with Multiple Myeloma patients since the 1980s. The first appointment included additional information about the cancer, treatment protocol, and prognosis. On Wednesday, May 23rd John made a 3.5 hour trip from his home to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to begin his cancer treatment. Upon arrival at the hospital and in accordance with hospital protocol additional imaging and testing was required. The results of the testing dealt another devastating blow. The oncologist stated it was the most aggressive form of cancer he had ever seen, John was in stage 3. Based on his imaging results he was compared to a piece of swiss cheese because the holes throughout his bones as a result of the cancer. John’s treatment plan changed, his 2-day hospital stay was extended to 3 weeks.
1st Round of Chemo
On May 24th John began his first round of chemotherapy with 3 different drugs which was administered continuously for 4 straight days. He experienced the normal side effects including nausea, fatigue, and hair loss. It took several days for his white blood cell count to drop and then to re-build to level which would allow him to go home. Also, during this hospital stay he had to receive a few blood transfusions.
In between chemotherapy treatments John was supposed to be home for 3 weeks. Tests conducted during the “break” yielded unfavorable results showing the cancer cells were still growing at an aggressive rate resulting in John starting his second round of chemo earlier than anticipated.
2nd Round of Chemo
On June 29th John began his second round of chemotherapy with 3 different drugs which were once again administered continuously for 4 straight days. Since it was the second treatment the side effects were more intense and included nausea, fatigue, insomnia, and weight loss. His white blood cell count had to drop and then re-build again this time so they could harvest stem cells. The stem cell collection was a 4 hour per day procedure over a 3 day period to obtain nearly 20 million of his stem cells. After 3 weeks in the hospital John was able to return home to continue recovery.
3rd Round of Chemo
On August 9th John began his third round of chemotherapy with a drug named melphalan for a 20-minute drip over a 4-day period. This drug is an intense destroyer which will remain in John’s system for 40-50 days after the treatment. The side effects from this chemo were absolutely horrendous and caused many stomach issues with extreme nausea. The harvested stem cells were transplanted on August 13th. John received a platelet transfusion on August 20th because he is thrombocytopenic (low platelet count). John remains in the hospital trying to recover so he can return home.
John’s Future Treatment
The next several months will include additional doctors’ appointments, imaging, blood work, and maintenance chemotherapy treatments. Based on the current treatment plan and prognosis these treatments will continue for the rest of the year.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
John will be out of work for the rest of the year. We are asking for donations to help cover some of John’s medical bills and home expenses while he continues to undergo treatment. We want him to continue to battle for his life and not have to worry about the financial impacts and stress associated with these worries. During this difficult trial it would help immensely to give him and his family financial peace of mind. Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Please donate and/or share this link on your social media pages.
We understand the power of prayer and ask that you keep John and our family in your thoughts and prayers.
Throughout this ordeal John has remained perseverant, steadfast, hopeful, faithful, and completely trusting in Heavenly Father’s plan for him and his life. Every time we speak with him the response is “I am blessed.” He has met every day with a smile on his face. John is such a strong man that means the world to our family.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
JOHN’S SUPPORT SYSTEM
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the amazing support system in place. John’s wife Darcie has been a source of strength and has continued to work to take care of their family. Each of John’s siblings traveled to Arkansas to visit their brother during each phase of his treatment. Reo visited during the first treatment, Lexa during the second, and Cody just prior to his third treatment. John’s mother, Shelly has temporarily relocated to Arkansas to offer assistance with daily tasks and provide emotional support.
Bekaert (John’s place of employment) has gone above and beyond and is the epitome of a place of employment that truly cares about their employees and treats each person as a member of their family. Currently, there are 3 employees (John included) batting cancer. Bekaert organized several fundraisers including cookouts, dessert auctions, and shirt sales (with each employee’s name who is battling cancer) to mention a few. There was a 2-day event where over 100 employees shaved their heads as a show of support. Several co-workers have traveled to UAMS to visit and not a day goes by without a text offering encouraging words from his friends, colleagues, and supervisors at Bekaert.
John & Darcie
John & Shelly
John & Reo
John & Lexa
John with Cody’s Family
Before Picture – Head Shave Event
Head Shave Event – Bekaert Family
Bekaert Show for Support for John, Tanya, & Richie
DonationsSee top donations
- Peggy Anderson
- Kerri Carlin
- April Ellis
- Willcox High School Class of 1991
- Debbie Ellis
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