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Help My Dad Beat Leukemia

$32,515 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 198 people in 1 month
Hi, my name’s Meli Grant, and my dad, Michael, is fighting Leukemia. Basically he has cancer in his bone marrow. It’s called AML, or Acute Myeloid Leukemia. It started as MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome), which means that he has multiple chromosome abnormalities and as a result his bone marrow doesn’t produce cells properly. It results in a dangerously low blood count (super low energy), low platelets (he bleeds and bruises easily, and doesn’t heal well), and low white counts (most of us know what that means, but basically little things our bodies are really good at protecting us from can be a life or death situation for him). Ultimately, if untreated, it means losing my dad.
 
Case and point, my dad spent nearly a month straight at Saint Francis Hospital on Long Island between their medical ICU and an isolated room where he’d be safe from infection after his cheek was hurting one night, and we discovered he had a fever over slices of pizza. Not exactly what we imagined life had in store for us when we ordered that night. At different intervals, he’s had a picc line in his arm, a port implanted in his chest, and the scariest one was a temporary line in the side of his neck that went straight to his heart so that he could receive blood and medicine in a timely manner. He spent multiple nights in an oxygen mask and when I wasn’t with him, I’d be home stress-drinking coffee until 5 in the morning. Happy we’re past that.
 
Now for the good news. My dad has been very privileged to have fantastic healthcare courtesy of his job. He’s a high school teacher at Friends Academy, a Quaker private school on Long Island. He teaches stagecraft, working one on one with some amazing kids, and manages their theater. Before that he worked for over twenty years in professional theater in New York City.
 
As a result of his great insurance, he’s had nearly everything covered thus far, and where we’ve run into unexpected bills, we’ve been able to challenge them and come out on top.
 
The best news of all is that he’s in REMISSION!! We couldn’t be more grateful.
 
So why is there a GoFundMe page then.
Here’s the thing. He’s not cured until he’s had a stem cell transplant. This will involve another intense round of chemo, (another) full month in the hospital, and then two or three months more in a sterile environment somewhere within walking distance of the hospital (Memorial Sloan Kettering).
Here’s where we’ve run into trouble.
Housing is offered by MSK, but it’s very expensive. There’s a good chance we’ll have to pay up to $50,000, between housing and live-in aids. None of this is covered by insurance.
 
This is how the numbers break down.
     •       The housing option provided by the hospital works out to about $7500 a month. The social worker emphasized that some past patients have opted to rent a NYC apartment instead. ~$15000
     •       He is required to have 24/7 supervision, in the event that something goes wrong, medical emergency or otherwise. This role can be filled by family members. That mostly comes down to me, but I live in Dallas and I’m already flying back and forth regularly for work. I’m going to be trying to fill as much of that time as I can. Hopefully as much as 50% of that time. Hiring an aid works out to about $25-30 an hour, 24 hours a day, which adds up in just a few months to: ~$20,000 - $30,000.
 
If we are unable to meet this housing/supervision requirement, the hospital won’t do the procedure. We are expected to make a decision imminently, so we’re going forward with it, even if it means a lot of financial risk and instability.
 
So the number above ($50,000) is a number that would take care of everything for us and provide us with some protection against unknowns. That would be incredible.
 
What we are asking is if you want to donate to help us get through this, then whatever you donate would be welcome. No amount is too small. Any amount helps to reduce the financial burden and stress that it can cause my dad as he begins his new future cancer-free.
 
If we hit our goal, we’re grateful, if we manage some of it, we’re grateful. And if we somehow wind up with more than we need, any excess will be donated to the hospitals that have taken such good care of him throughout this process, Saint Francis, Weill Cornell, Memorial Sloan Kettering.
 
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
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Hi everyone,
I just wanted to give you an update that we're a week away from my Dad being admitted and beginning the process of his transplant.
He has been updating his CaringBridge journal over at

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mmgtd

and he just put up a new entry today laying out where his headspace has been in the days leading up to this big next step.

Thank you all so much again for your concern, and continued support and generosity. It means the world to us.
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Just a quick note to make sure you know that all updates about my situation are now available on CaringBridge and if you follow me there, you will receive notice when I update. Love to all!!
Michael

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mmgtd
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I wanted to give you all an update on my Dad’s health and journey towards the transplant process.

First, thank you all so much for your incredible kindness and generosity. It’s been absolutely surreal, hearing from everyone and seeing so many familiar, long lost names. It’s almost overwhelming. We’re both so grateful.

My Dad has been through a number of doctors visits and consultations since our last update and the most important development is that he was accepted into the clinical trial, so he’s going to be going into his transplant with the best odds we have available. We’re both thrilled and terrified about that.

It’s a (stage 3) trial, and we have a great deal of confidence in our doctors. Still, there’s so much we don’t know about how our lives will be effected undergoing it. It’s a very intense treatment, possibly more so than the treatment we were hoping for, but it’s the best we’ve got.

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a link to the clinical trial’s homepage:
https://www.sierratrial.com/iomab-b

The scariest thing for me is knowing that while my Dad is in the first stage of his treatment, I’m not allowed to visit him. I live in Dallas, so we’re used to long stretches between visits, but it’s different when you know you can’t visit even if you want to.

I know my dad is struggling, knowing school is opening next week and he won’t be there. Still, we’re optimistic and through a different lens, the closer we get to this thing, the closer we are to being done and back to living our lives.

My dad has created a CaringBridge journal and he or I will be updating his progress much more regularly once he starts the clinical trial. Here is the link.

https://www.caringbridge.org/public/mmgtd
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I wanted to give you an update on how things are going with my Dad.
When we last left off, we were in remission and heading into our last few weeks before the transplant. Since then, he's run into a complication - Dad's not in remission anymore. As of his last bone marrow biopsy, his blast count is up to 9% from under 5. This is despite going for a few maintenance rounds of chemo that we hoped would keep him in remission. According to his transplant doctor, this means the success rate of the transplant changes significantly.

So where are we at.
In theory, we are still driving toward a transplant, and over the next few doctor’s visits, we're going to be working out what needs to change with regard to his treatment, how this affects our timeline, if we need more time for chemo before a transplant, or what. I'll be honest, we don't have all the details yet and we're trying to get everything sorted as fast as we can.

One new development on the horizon is that there is a clinical trial my Dad may be eligible for that could be his best option at this point. It's not guaranteed that he'll be able to participate.

We really need to sort the details but I wanted to keep everyone in the loop because you've been so incredibly generous and kind, and we're doing everything we can right now to stay on track and fight through this.
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$32,515 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 198 people in 1 month
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