Stephen's Last Option

Stephen was first diagnosed with acute leukaemia in 2008. He relapsed in 2015 and again in 2017. This marks his tenth year battling this disease. 

Last year was a tough year for our family. It started with Stephen's second relapse with AML (acute myeloid leukemia) in January, followed by months of hospital visits due to infections, a month of being fully dependent on IV for nutrition as he could not eat, and then a last minute surgery that ended with a brief visit to the ICU. With grace, he managed to pull through, achieve remission and was preparing for a bone marrow transplant with his sister as his donor. We are told that a bone marrow transplant, though extremely evasive and full of its own complications, was his only shot at a cure. 

However, a few days before we were set to leave for his bone marrow transplant last month, they discovered blast cells in his bone marrow; he had relapsed for the third time. He needs to be in complete remission before a bone marrow transplant is even considered. The regular protocol was no longer going to be sufficient as his heart has been weakened due to the strain of all the treatments he has received thus far. He was recommended a new treatment plan that had to be brought in from out of the country. 

Last Friday, Stephen was told that he was not responding to the treatment they had recommended and that his options at this point are very limited. He could not go down the regular chemotherapy route as the medication would likely cause heart failure; they are no longer considering the bone marrow transplant as he is not in remission. They have started palliative care treatment and are continuing antibiotics for all of his current infections.

For those of you that know Stephen, you know that he is as stubborn as they come and if there was no viable option he was going to make an option. This option is stem cell therapy out of the country.  The hope is that after ten days of stem cell infusions, his body will be able to use these new cells to fight off the leukemia cells in his body and start fresh. However, we cannot do this alone. The cost of this treatment is $45000 alone; flights and accommodation would be an additional $5000. 

I am not one to ask for much anything, but if you would please consider a small donation so that he can receive this treatment as early as next week, our family will greatly appreciate it. If a monetary donation is not within your capacity and you are in Edmonton, please consider donating blood as he is in frequent need of transfusions. And prayers, lots of prayers.

Thank you so much for your kindness, prayers, and generosity.

Love, April, Lena, Marcus, Noah & Oliver 
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April Tamayo 
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