For those of you that know or for those who have yet to find out, my mother Dawn Dunnigan is currently battling cancer, here is her story.
Dawn is 52 years old, a wife and a mother of two, who has owned her own cleaning business for over 14 years, she has also been a sunday school teacher for 20+ years at Westside Assembly of God. If anyone knows Dawn they know that she is full of life and laughter, its difficult not to smile when you're around her. She has constantly been a rock for our family and always has a ear to listen if you need someone to talk to. In January 2017 Dawn went to a ear, nose and throat doctor because she had noticed a large lump on the side of her neck, They performed a biopsy of the lump and confirmed it was cancerous, from there she was scheduled to see Dr. Deluca her new oncologist.
Dr. Deluca intially diagnosed her with Stage 3 B-Cell lymphoma, but after running some blood test and doing a full body scan, she was rediagnosed with stage 4 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). By this point we had discovered that the cancer was in her liver, pelvic area, blood, bones and lyphmnodes. The doctors had confirmed that her cancer was very aggressive and fast growning and she needed to start chemotherapy. She had surgery immediately to implant a port so she could have her chemo medicine injected. On March 1, 2017 Dawn had her first chemo treatment, as you can see in the pictures below, she still hadn't lost her smile.
Since then Dawn had done 4 rounds of chemo, and recently had her 5th round of chemo where they incresed her medicine. She has been very sick and has constant body aches, she barely sleeps because of the pain. Dawn will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant to hopefully get rid of the cancer in her bones. She has started the process of getting ready for the transplant, and her doctor has made her aware she will be in the hospital for a couple of weeks once the transplant begins. We have high hopes that one of her siblings will be a match but if not, one of her children will be tested or they will try to find another donor via a donor bank.
Dawn and Chuck (husband) have worked hard to provide for our family but with this diagnosis, Dawn's cleaning business has taken a heavy hit. Dawn is self-employeed and is the only one that does her job, with the chemo making her feel ill and taking a toll on her body she has not been able to work as much as she used to, and with the chemo becoming more intense she has worked less and less.
The road to recovery will be long; Dawn will spend a few more months getting chemo and then will begin the bone marrown transplant which will keep her on bed rest for a couple of months. Chuck is committed to balancing his job, which provides Dawn with invaluable health coverage, while taking care of the day to day things that he and our family will need, but he can't do it alone.
So, we are reaching out to you for help, any donation you make is so greatly appreciated and will go towards helping with the family's monthly expenses and paying for Dawn's medical care and very expensive medication.
The days ahead are sure to be filled with worry and uncertainty but, by easing some of the financial burden, you can ensure that those days will be filled with peace of mind and hope. We also encourage you to reach out to Dawn, she is trying to stay postive and is strong in her faith but times like these can take a toll on your mind, a message or a prayer from the people who care about her will always brighten her day!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about Dawn's story.