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Help Aritri fight against LMS

$34,555 of $45,000 goal

Raised by 422 people in 9 months
Created March 2, 2018

FOR UPDATE ADDED on April 18th, click on the link on front page marked "UPDATES"

Dear Friends,
 We are writing to ask for help with an unexpected, but devastating problem that arose in our lives. On the first day of 2018, our graduate student Aritri, who is working to complete her doctoral degree in Biochemistry, was diagnosed with uterine leiomyosarcoma (LMS). It is an aggressive, rare type of cancer, that only develops in 1 of every 1000 women with fibroid tumors. After two surgeries to resect tumors, Aritri now faces a long and expensive treatment that requires frequent trips to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City, for chemotherapy, screening and other treatments. Aritri has worked in our laboratory for 5 years, with the ultimate goal of identifying new antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. Before this news she was in the last stages of her research, and writing her Ph. D. thesis. Now she’s facing huge medical and financial obstacles.

In Aritri's words ...
“The first question that popped into my mind when I heard of this diagnosis was ‘why me?’ No one in my family ever had any history of cancer. Did I do something wrong that led to a few anomalous mutations in my cells that sent them into overdrive and malfunction? Unfortunately, cancer is now a common disease that challenges our medical knowledge, and our lives, every day. So, I could not let my own personal misfortune dampen my spirits for too long. Modern medicine gives me a lot of hope, and I’m doing my best to overcome this problem.
I came to the United States to pursue my passion for science. As a doctoral student, I research iron uptake pathways in bacteria and think about how to exploit them to discover new antibiotics. My mentors are amazingly resourceful and helpful people who encouraged me to go to the best hospital to get treated. That hospital happens to be in New York City, 1100 miles away from my home in Kansas. The travel entails back and forth trips to New York: buying flight tickets, hotels and transport for each session of chemotherapy and follow-up, as recommended by the doctors. I am hoping they’ve planned the best therapeutic drugs and treatment plan possible for me. I’m in the last lap of my graduate career, but my diagnosis put me on a troubled path at the end of five years of hard work.
My student insurance plan provides pretty good coverage, beyond my out-of-pocket minimum costs every year. Nevertheless, managing the expenses of my trips to Memorial Sloan-Kettering on my student salary is not easy. So, I accepted advice from more experienced people and agreed to open this site, despite my own reservations about asking for help. I’m not an outgoing person, especially when it comes to things like social media. Yet, at this hour I need all the blessings and good wishes that I can possibly get from all the good people around. Me and my family strongly believe that immense strength and positive energy come from people’s collective will, prayers and blessings.”

So, to summarize:
I am setting up this fund to help Aritri face the financial burden that this undesirable situation brings, particularly for someone without a permanent job and living away from her home country, India. She’s a fantastically intuitive, energetic and dedicated contributor to our research program. Indeed, much of our scientific progress over the past 5 years comes from Aritri’s hard work and inspiration. Please help her get the treatment that she absolutely needs!

+ Read More
(update edited, earlier version had a problem in the text(

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to give you an update on what transpired for me since the discovery of my leiomyosarcoma and the beginning of my treatment. The last six months were the single largest crisis of my life, and I was overwhelmed by your kind thoughts and generosity toward my situation. After the initial diagnosis of the disease here in Manhattan, KS, and consultation with doctors at the KU medical center in Kansas City, I was fortunate (thanks to your help!) to find treatment at one of the best cancer centers: Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York city. A renowned expert on this disease is supervising my treatment. Since January I’ve traveled to and from NYC, while working and writing to finish my doctoral dissertation. I was already totally frightened by my diagnosis, and the treatments so far were physically and mentally taxing on everybody, especially my mom, dad and husband Somnath. In her last update, Sally mentioned that the first regimen of drugs did not produce the desired result. Unfortunately, the replacement combination also failed to check the tumor growth. As a result, the tumors spread locally, but thankfully without metastasis to other locations in my body. Now I am undergoing treatment with a newer drug, Trabectedin that appears to have some partially positive effects which led my doctors to continue the current drug for another 2 cycles. And, the surgeon at MSKCC is optimistic that if this positive response continues he may be able to reduce my tumor load by surgery. Trabectedin is a slow-acting chemotherapeutic agent and patients have used this drug for up to 22 months, with good quality of life. So, I might be on it for some time. The downside of Trabectedin is that it is not a cure. At best, its slows or temporarily arrests cancer growth. The next steps for me will likely involve new medicines, such as immunochemotherapy, to try to permanently rid me of this disease. At present we are contacting doctors across the country to find any clinical trials that I may benefit from. Hence, the road to my full recovery is long, and it’s difficult to walk it alone. Your support is a huge moral and financial boost for not only me, but also my family. We hope that you will all have your much deserved love and blessings in the path ahead.

All of these medicines, doctors and future expectations of continuing treatments complicate our financial situation. The overwhelming support that we received from all of you kept us ahead of the treatment costs until now. We send our sincerest thanks for your generosity. Unfortunately, however, as we look ahead we still face some overwhelming financial obstacles. My health insurance covers much of the medical costs, but the biggest hurdle is receiving treatments in New York. I must travel to NYC, stay in temporary housing for weeks at a time, and then travel back to Kansas to continue my doctoral program and employment. The success of this site provided almost $27,000 to help me, but from the past six months of treatment this reserve fund is nearly exhausted. We are trying to minimize the costs as much as possible, but the time frame of my treatment has gotten longer and longer, so the expenses will continue to mount. We are hopeful that the doctors will find a definitive treatment that cures me. If I am that lucky then I will remain under their scrutiny for at least the next 5 years. So, I’m writing now to ask for more help from you: we’d like to set a new Go Fund Me goal of $20,000 more. If you can help with any amount I’ll be eternally thankful.

I can’t cannot stress enough how humbled and loved I feel by the way everyone has stood by my side during this dark chapter of my life. I never knew that I had such a large family who would pour out their support in this tremendous way. My family and I do not diminish your love by thanking you, and please know that we are forever in your debt.

Thanks,
Aritri
+ Read More
Dear Friends,

I’m writing to give you an update on what transpired for me since the discovery of my leiomyosarcoma and the beginning of my treatment. The last six months were the single largest crisis of my life, and I was overwhelmed by your kind thoughts and generosity toward my situation. After the initial diagnosis of the disease here in Manhattan, KS, and consultation with doctors at the KU medical center in Kansas City, I was fortunate (thanks to your help!) to find treatment at one of the best cancer centers: Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York city. A renowned expert on this disease is supervising my treatment. Since January I’ve traveled to and from NYC, while working and writing to finish my doctoral dissertation. I was already totally frightened by my diagnosis, and the treatments so far were physically and mentally taxing on everybody, especially my mom, dad and husband Somnath. In her last update, Sally mentioned that the first regimen of drugs did not produce the desired result. Unfortunately, the replacement combination also failed to check the tumor growth. As a result, the tumors spread locally, but thankfully without metastasis to other locations in my body. Now I am undergoing treatment with a newer drug, Trabectedin that appears to have some partially positive effects which led my doctors to continue the current drug for another 2 cycles. And, the surgeon at MSKCC is optimistic that if this positive response continues he may be able to reduce my tumor load by surgery. Trabectedin is a slow-acting chemotherapeutic agent and patients have used this drug for up to 22 months, with good quality of life. So, I might be on it for some time. The downside of Trabectedin is that it is not a cure. At best, its slows or temporarily arrests cancer growth. The next steps for me will likely involve new medicines, such as immunochemotherapy, to try to permanently rid me of this disease. At present we are contacting doctors across the country to find any clinical trials that I may benefit from. Hence, the road to my full recovery is long, and it’s difficult to walk it alone. Your support is a huge moral and financial boost for not only me, but also my family. We hope that you will all have your much deserved love and blessings in the path ahead.

All of these medicines, doctors and future expectations of continuing treatments complicate our financial situation. The overwhelming support that we received from all of you kept us ahead of the treatment costs until now. We send our sincerest thanks for your generosity. Unfortunately, however, as we look ahead we still face some overwhelming financial obstacles. My health insurance covers much of the medical costs, but the biggest hurdle is receiving treatments in New York. I must travel to NYC, stay in temporary housing for weeks at a time, and then travel back to Kansas to continue my doctoral program and employment. The success of this site provided almost $27,000 to help me, but from the past six months of treatment this reserve fund is nearly exhausted. We are trying to minimize the costs as much as possible, but the time frame of my treatment has gotten longer and longer, so the expenses will continue to mount. We are hopeful that the doctors will find a definitive treatment that cures me. If I am that lucky then I will remain under their scrutiny for at least the next 5 years. So, I’m writing now to ask for more help from you: we’d like to set a new Go Fund Me goal of $20,000 more. If you can help with any amount I’ll be eternally thankful.

I can’t cannot stress enough how humbled and loved I feel by the way everyone has stood by my side during this dark chapter of my life. I never knew that I had such a large family who would pour out their support in this tremendous way. My family and I do not diminish your love by thanking you, and please know that we are forever in your debt.

Thanks,

Aritri
+ Read More
Dear Friends,

I’m writing to provide an update on Aritri's condition and situation. Thanks to your amazing support, she’s now receiving care from one of the world’s experts on the treatment of leiomyosarcoma.

Over the past month Aritri received two rounds of chemotherapy with drugs that are sometimes effective against LMS, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. However, a CT scan this week showed that her tumors did not respond to those drugs. Unfortunately, this is often the case with LMS. Physicians never know what anti- tumor medicines will or won’t kill an individual’s cancer until they try them, so the treatment follows a process of elimination until they identify drugs that are effective in shrinking and eliminating the tumors.

It’s not the result we hoped for, but next week she starts a new combination of drugs, including immuno-chemotherapy with a monoclonal antibody against tumor antigens. Each case of LMS is different, so trial and error is involved in finding the best set of drugs to do the job.

Your support means the world to Aritri and Somnath. We are humbled and indebted to you by your response to this gofund request. Once again, thank you for helping in Aritri’s time of need. If you’d like to send her messages , please feel free to do so here...
+ Read More
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$34,555 of $45,000 goal

Raised by 422 people in 9 months
Created March 2, 2018
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