Gary Stephens' Stem Cell Transplant

Greetings! We're Tanya (Stephens) McKeen and Candace Stephens, daughters of Gary Stephens. About two months ago, just two days before his 58th birthday, our father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects and weakens the bone marrow. Weakening of the bone marrow leads to breakage and bone loss. Dad's cancer was discovered after a couple of years of on again/off again hip pain that then rapidly turned into excruciating back pain in January. After too many ER visits and a misdiagnosis, it was discovered that he had a spinal compression fracture. X-rays of the fracture and surrounding areas showed lesions on numerous bones which then lead to the diagnosis of the multiple myeloma.

To say the least, this has been a painful and shocking discovery for Dad and our family. His doctors decided to treat his cancer aggressively and he started chemotherapy and treatment within just a few short days of being diagnosed. Last week, Dad finished his third round of chemotherapy and in mid-March, he had a consultation with an oncologist at Dana-Farber. The hopeful news in all of this, is that our dad is young and in decent health. Though the fracture was difficult and painful, it was actually fortunate that the cancer was found in this way, before any of his organs were affected. Because of all of this, he is a good candidate for a stem cell transplant. 

The stem cell transplant and the "harvesting" (or collecting), of his own stem cells, beforehand, is an arduous procedure.  Dad and Mom will need to travel to and stay in Boston for the harvesting and then for the transplant itself. He can expect to spend at least 18 days in the hospital for the transplant and post-treatment. Needless to say, Dad has had to take a leave from his work since the diagnosis. And Mom has also had to take time from work and will need to take more time around Dad's transplant. Missed work, travel to and from Boston, and lodging expenses will cause some financial difficulties. 

So, that's where you come in. Money raised for our father will go towards lodging and other living/travel expenses for my parents and for my mother to be close to Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women's Hospital for the stem cell transplant and recovery period. 

Any amount is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (Tanya) personally through my Facebook account - https://www.facebook.com/tanya.mckeen

If you're interested in learning more about multiple myeloma, check out http://www.themmrf.org/
and/or http://www.dana-farber.org/Adult-Care/Treatment-and-Support/Multiple-Myeloma.aspx for more information. 

At this time, Dad's stem cell transplant and therapies are slated to begin in mid-May.

Your prayers, good wishes, and thoughts are extremely appreciated. My father and the whole family are so grateful for all of the kind and positive words we've all received so far. Thank you so much. And thank you for considering a donation.

Sincerely, 
Tanya McKeen and Candace Stephens

Donations

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  • Harold and Sue King 
    • $100 
    • 52 mos
  • Mike Moore 
    • $20 
    • 52 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 52 mos
  • Mona Bradrick  
    • $50 
    • 52 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 52 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Tanya Stephens McKeen 
Organizer
Stafford Springs, CT
Gary Stephens 
Beneficiary
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