My name is Twink and I'm fundraising for my 16-month-old great-niece, Camille, and her parents, Rio and Samantha. As I write, Camille is beginning her first course of chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) while Rio and Sam do their best to trust that the barrage of treatments will rid their little girl of this horrific intruder.
Some of you know, and were as gut-wrenched as I was to hear, that on March 14, 2023, Camille (and Sam) were airlifted from urgent care in Montana to the Children's Oncology Unit in Seattle, Washington, in search of the cause for Camille's alarming pain and physical deterioration.
Admission to oncology after a long airlift flight from Montana with
a mystery disease, recovering from COVID and gurgling with giardia.
Rio stayed behind in Montana to find emergency care for their 6-year-old daughter, Luna, and their animals, then drove an arduous 3 hours to Spokane to pick up Sam's mom, Linda, from the airport. Together, they finished the 8-hour trip to meet Sam and the baby in Seattle. Meanwhile, Gramma Jill was on a flight to pick up Luna so that she and Grampa Drick could care for Luna for the unforeseeable future.
Many of you were praying for this amazing family at this point last week because many of you know Drick and Jill, or their kids Hondo, Cal, Streeter and Shiloh, or Sam's mom and brother, Linda and Zack, or my parents Jan and Roberta Jan.
Days and transfusions later, our fears were confirmed. Camille's tiny body is fighting acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Treatment ports and drainage tubes were inserted Monday, chemo treatments started Tuesday, March 21st. The treatments will continue for the next 6 months–10 days of treatment followed by an equally long recovery period--all inpatient (chemo is so brutal), then a few short days respite outside of the hospital and back to start all over again.
I can only imagine how hard it must be for Rio and Sam to endure the sight of tiny Camille in a giant hospital bed, called to be a warrior woman before she can tie her shoes, but here we are.
And there's more.
The house Rio and Sam were renting sold last month. During that month Sam and the baby contracted COVID (Camille was still testing positive when she was admitted to pediatric oncology). Sam’s time to pack the house, and what energy she had, went into caring for herself, Camille and Luna. Meanwhile, Rio was investing everything he/they had into building a new business. Money was tight, but they had been on track to make the transition to a new house and new business by the time--wait for it--baby #3 would be born this coming July 17, 2023. Then–can there really be more?--Camille contracted giardia from being an adventurous tot in her Montana hill country microbial setting.
Camille is in good care, but far from being out of the woods. Chemo for a little girl weighing less than 35 pounds is not only physically demanding but painful and hard for a little one to understand.
Thank you for your prayers. They fill me with hope.
Rio and Sam will be living in the hospital with Camille for the next six months. Soon they will transfer her care to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego where they can be close to family for support through this absurdly tough time. Rio’s business and all of the contracts he had in place will have to be turned over to his, now-former, partner. This weekend Rio has called in all the help he can get to pack and move their household back to California.
With Infectious Disease clearance, I’ll be flying to Seattle to take Rio’s place shopping, listening, updating, and most of all, supporting Sam in Camille’s round-the-clock care until Rio can get back to the hospital. He’ll find what work he can to keep the family afloat in San Diego until things settle down. I don’t even know what that means when baby #3 is likely to be born while her big sister is in the hospital having treatments for AML.
I’ve been challenged in my 61 years, but never to this extent and never all at once. It was really hard for me to hear that Camille was so sick. She's so little. I’m sure it was hard for you, too. As her illness lurches and spins, becoming surrounded by compounding circumstances, I believe we are all going to have to put our prayers into action.
I hope you have experienced and remember incredible blessings in your times of need.
I know I have and do.
Right now, $10,000 is urgently needed for:
- Non-medical expenses while in the hospital: food, clothing, toiletries, baby supplies
- Emergency roundtrip airfare from Madison to Seattle
- Moving and storage expenses – Montana to San Diego
- Pregnancy needs and comforts: clothing, lotions, vitamins
- Fuel for transportation
I’m sure there are many things I’m missing on this list and I’m guessing this figure is conservative. Soon there will be newborn items: car seats and oh, so many things.
Sam and Rio are incredibly creative and resourceful people, wonderful and attentive parents invested in living life to its fullest with sincerity, integrity, and responsibility.
But they didn't see this coming. Who could? If we were in their shoes they would be the first to offer a helping hand as they have done for many, many people in their young lives (Sam is turning 25 tomorrow (3/22) and Rio is 30). Their multi-layered crisis is our opportunity to give back. It is so good to know you are here, reading this, and very likely to pitch in. Thank you!
Will you help me support Camille, Rio and Sam by donating $25, $50, $100 or more? Any amount is an act of love. Please be generous. Give as much as you can to help Baby Camille and her family see the way to the other side of this grueling journey.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know Drick and Jill will also be thrilled to know of your donation and support of their kids and grandbaby. Please share this widely so that all family and friends have a chance to take part in this faithful opportunity to help Camille on her way to full recovery and to support her family in getting her there.
PS Sam's birthday is March 22.
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