Easing the Financial Burden of Childhood Leukemia

Cancer at 13 is hard enough without being separated from the people you love the most...

Leukemia was nowhere on the radar when 13-year-old Emerson Ake’s MRI was ordered this summer. Neurologists at Seattle Children’s wanted to “see” his brain to confirm an earlier diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, a complication resulting from Emerson’s premature birth. Sure enough, they found evidence of a brain bleed that likely occurred in his first weeks of life. That wasn’t a massive surprise; but the other finding sure was: abnormal bone marrow at the base of his skull. Bloodwork was ordered, results rushed and then more tests scheduled. One of Emerson's grandmas flew in from Texas to help with his three younger siblings; Emerson and his parents headed back to Seattle, a 60-mile journey from their home in Sequim that can require several hours (and a ferry ride) to make.

Less than a week after the MRI, Emerson’s new medical team at Seattle Children's delivered a diagnosis: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He was admitted that day and treatment started right away. While ALL is the most common form of childhood cancer, and has an overall cure rate of 80%-90%, the treatment is intense and can take 2 to 3 years to complete. Since the majority of Emerson's treatment, especially in the first year, will need to take place at Seattle Children's, Emerson and at least one of his parents are required to live within an hour's drive of the hospital for now, preferably closer. While Ronald McDonald House has been a home-away-from-home of sorts for Emerson and his mom in recent weeks (or dad on some weekends), siblings are currently not allowed to stay there due to Covid19, and Emerson- the oldest of four children- understandably misses his two brothers (10 and 6) and his sister (4).

With extended family all living out-of-state, Emerson's parents (Jaime and Greg) have made the decision to move to Seattle for the time being in order to keep their family of six together. Since he works from home, Greg's job can thankfully come with them; unfortunately, the monthly price tag on their current rental home cannot. Homes near Seattle Children's rent for 2-3 times as much as they do in Sequim and the rental market is highly competitive these days.

The massive increase in rent is only one of many unexpected expenses caused by Emerson's diagnosis, as you can imagine. Hefty medical bills are starting to arrive, too, despite the family having insurance. And this is where you come in. Please consider helping this beautiful family by donating what you can and spreading the word about this campaign. Our goal is a big one but we know that together, we can do great things… things like helping with some of the bills insurance doesn’t fully cover, yes, but also things like helping a family live under one roof during a most trying season, like giving the parents of an ill child the opportunity to share a comforting hug at the end of a hard day, like making sure that a sweet boy with leukemia can play and laugh with his siblings when he's feeling well enough to… and rest in his own bed when he isn't.

Emerson has long been a fan of The Beatles. A verse of their song Let It Be reads “And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me, shinin’ until tomorrow, let it be…”

Please join me in being that light for Emerson and his family.

  • Anna Yates 
    • $100 
    • 1 d
  • Jane Rynearson 
    • $100 
    • 2 d
  • Janet Gray 
    • $100 
    • 11 d
  • Cindy Janney 
    • $50 
    • 11 d
  • Dolores Edwards 
    • $50 
    • 12 d
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Beth Vogel 
Sequim, WA
Jaime Ake 
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