Kaela's Chance To Beat Leukemia

$15,890 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 259 people in 17 months
Shannon Meade
on behalf of Kaela Aspeel
 PORTSMOUTH, RI
We have created this Gofundme page to humbly ask to financially help out Kaela Santillo Aspeel as she begins her journey fighting Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Her world came crashing down around her on the afternoon of Wednesday November 23rd the day before Thanksgiving.  Kaela was going for her 6 month check-up to her pulmonary specialist who treats her for LAM lung disease (lymphangioleiomyomatosis).   It is a rare lung disease that usually strikes women during the prime of their lives. Known as LAM for short, this disease is characterized by an abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells, especially in the lungs, lymphatic system and kidneys. Unregulated growth of these cells can lead to loss of lung function, accumulation of lymph rich-fluid in the chest and abdomen and growth of tumors in the kidneys. There are two forms of LAM, Sporadic LAM (S-LAM) and Tuberous Sclerosis LAM (TSC-LAM). S-LAM occurs for unknown reasons. LAM also can occur in women who have a rare disease called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and Kaela also has TSC. TSC is a rare, multi-system genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, eyes, lungs, and skin. It usually affects the central nervous system and results in a combination of symptoms including seizures, developmental delay, behavioral problems, skin abnormalities, and kidney disease.  Kaela’s issues with TSC were not that severe manifesting mostly with a skin abnormality and then internally watching lesions especially those on her kidneys.  Three years ago her lungs became compromised and she was diagnosed with TSC-LAM and has championed through 2 lung collapses and 2 lung surgeries to strengthen her lungs and all was going well until Wednesday.  She had a cold and wasn’t feeling too well and had noticed in the past week she was bruising a lot for no real reason.  The pulmonary specialist always does blood work and she showed him the bruising and when he saw her white blood count (WBC) was off the charts he immediately sent her to Loyola University Medical Center where she was diagnosed with AML and starts her chemotherapy treatments today.  She will be in the hospital for the next 4 weeks barring any complications and we are praying for a positive outcome.  She is a vibrant 28 year old who has a whole life ahead of her.  She is a wife to Matthew Aspeel, a daughter to Kathy and John Santillo, a sister to Kerin and Danielle, a granddaughter to Dorothy Wilson, a niece and goddaughter to Maryann Wilson, David LeBlanc and Rev. Edward Wilson, a niece to Tricia and Pat Meade and a cousin to Connor, Shannon and Keegan Meade, a cat “Mom” to Lucas and Jinora (aka Jinny) and a loyal friend and co-worker to so many and is loved by all!  She is an exceptional secondary education teacher and is looking forward to getting back to her students.  We are devastated but live in hope and prayer as she approaches this battle with the strength, courage  and attitude she already has had to muster for all her other health issues over the years.  This will be just one more obstacle that she WILL overcome.  She has a long road ahead of her due to the uncertainty with treatment protocols as a result of her other diseases but we are confident that her team of doctors will get her into remission with no signs of disease so she can get back to her full life.

Kaela currently lives in Chicago as her husband recently finished his Master’s program at the University of Chicago and is now applying to PhD programs.  She is teacher at the University of Chicago Charter School and is the only income they have since Matthew was a full time student.  Their whole family lives in Rhode Island so family members will be flying back and forth to Chicago as work allows so Matthew is her constant source of strength and encouragement and for that we are thankful.

We are asking for donations with no amount too small because every little bit will help defray the costs for her medical and living expenses.  If you are not in the position to give then we ask for prayers to give her the strength to fight this cancer and of complete healing for Kaela. 

With much gratitude and love,

The Aspeel, Santillo, Wilson and Meade families








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Kaela's bone marrow biopsy came back clean and she and her family made travel plans for Kaela to come home!! Kaela and her father made the trek from Chicago home yesterday and she is safe and sound in RI! Next step is getting her back settled in her home state and following through with bone marrow transplant in Boston.
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Good Afternoon Everyone,

I have a quick update for you all on Kaela's recent procedures and treatment. Kaela sent the update herself so the following is from her directly as of 12/13:

Hello everyone!

I have decided, at the suggestion of the staff social worker here at Loyola, to start a blog to deliver updates to everyone. I want to keep everyone in the loop as much as possible, but the task of repeatedly delivering information is rather daunting.

I will try to post on Facebook when I add new posts. This way I can deliver the news once to the masses. :) I will post an update later tomorrow with the most recent information we have.

The biggest thing I want to express in this post is my sincere gratitude to everyone for their love and support. Know that even if you don’t hear back from me, I feel your love and support all the same. All of the love and positivity go a long way towards lifting my spirits and keeping me positive as well. Thank you all so so much!

This first post will be relatively lengthy because we just recently received a lot of information…

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia a couple weeks ago. Since then, I have had a round of chemotherapy and am currently waiting for the results of a bone marrow biopsy I had done today to determine if that round worked. If it did, I will be sitting around waiting for my blood cell counts to rise and I will have another biopsy in a couple weeks to make sure that the leukemia doesn’t return to my marrow. If the chemo did not work, I will need another round of chemo immediately.

Now, on to the results of the gene testing…

Doctors do gene testing to identify the mutations that occur in the marrow, causing it to become cancerous. I had a mutation that came back favorable (most people respond well and achieve remission through only chemo). I also had a mutation within that gene come back unfavorable (70% of patients experience relapse). The ramifications of the latter mutation are a recent discovery and have lead doctors to be more aggressive in treatment in order to eradicate the cancer, particularly in someone as healthy as I am.

Due to this, we are going to be moving forward with an evaluation for a bone marrow transplant. I have to have tests done on my organs to ensure I am eligible for a transplant first. My doctors are very optimistic that this course of treatment will allow me to achieve cure. A lot goes into bone marrow transplant, so I’ll save that for another post.

This is essentially where we are at in our process. I’ll post another update once we have the results of the biopsy from today. Once again, thanks for all the love and support!

If anyone is interested in following Kaela's journey more thoroughly and where you can find the exact post from above, please check out her new blog Kicking Cancer's Ass, the website is https://kaelasupdates.wordpress.com/
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Update - A week out from diagnosis:

First of all Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! to all who have donated, sent well wishes or said a prayer for Kaela. We are humbled by the generosity of so many and grateful to everyone! We wish we could personally thank everyone but rest assured we know who you are and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Kaela started her 7 + 3 chemo protocol this week. She is doing 7 days continuous infusion of Cytarabine along with 3 days push infusion of Daunorubicin which today was the last day of this. If these 2 drugs do what they are supposed to the leukemia will go into remission. We are still waiting for the bone marrow biopsy gene mutation results to determine the next protocol to use to eradicate the cancer from her system. Due to her lung disease and potential kidney issues these could play a factor in what is done. Usual protocol is bone marrow transplant but depending on test results there could be another chemo protocol that could work so still a lot of unknowns.

Kaela has had a few bumps in the road with some fluid build up and low oxygen levels when she is sleeping. They are watching her closely giving her diuretics for the fluid and a c-pap at night which she does not like at all. She is up walking the halls during the day, sitting in a chair instead of bed all day and even did an art therapy session today which she loved.

Tonight her last push chemo has unfortunately brought on the nausea and she is not feeling well at all. They are adjusting her anti-nausea medication hoping it will help. Kathy said it's hard to watch your child go through but is staying as strong as she can to help her push through this.

We will do another update when we have some new information to share. For now we will continue to accept prayers, good wishes and shares to help Kaela beat leukemia!

Love,
The Aspeel and Santillo families
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Read a Previous Update
Shannon Meade
17 months ago

Update - A week out from diagnosis: First of all Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! to all who have donated, sent well wishes or said a prayer for Kaela. We are humbled by the generosity of so many and grateful to everyone! We wish we could personally thank everyone but rest assured we know who you are and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Kaela started her 7 + 3 chemo protocol this week. She is doing 7 days continuous infusion of Cytarabine along with 3 days push infusion of Daunorubicin which today was the last day of this. If these 2 drugs do what they are supposed to the leukemia will go into remission. We are still waiting for the bone marrow biopsy gene mutation results to determine the next protocol to use to eradicate the cancer from her system. Due to her lung disease and potential kidney issues these could play a factor in what is done. Usual protocol is bone marrow transplant but depending on test results there could be another chemo protocol that could work so still a lot of unknowns. Kaela has had a few bumps in the road with some fluid build up and low oxygen levels when she is sleeping. They are watching her closely giving her diuretics for the fluid and a c-pap at night which she does not like at all. She is up walking the halls during the day, sitting in a chair instead of bed all day and even did an art therapy session today which she loved. Tonight her last push chemo has unfortunately brought on the nausea and she is not feeling well at all. They are adjusting her anti-nausea medication hoping it will help. Kathy said it's hard to watch your child go through but is staying as strong as she can to help her push through this. We will do another update when we have some new information to share. For now we will continue to accept prayers, good wishes and shares to help Kaela beat leukemia! Love, The Aspeel and Santillo families

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Even Tim
17 months ago

People like Kaela are why I am interested in the work we do.

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Shannon Meade
17 months ago

Thank you so much for all the love and support!! Kaela and the entirety of our family greatly appreciate everything!! Thank you for helping us spread the word and raising awareness

+ Read More

$15,890 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 259 people in 17 months
Created November 28, 2016
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ME
$50
Michael Edwards
13 months ago

Hi John - my best wishes to you and your daughter. Good luck to you both! Mike

DT
$500
David Thayer
14 months ago

Go Kaela!

GP
$50
Graham & Kelly Powers
15 months ago

Keep your spirits high!!! We are all pushing for you!

HC
$30
Harry Carter
15 months ago

So sorry I missed this evening but I would like to donate $30

JH
$25
Jack How;ey
15 months ago

Sorry I missed the dinner this evening.

KO
$25
Katie O'Hara
15 months ago

Wishing I could go to the fundraiser dinner tomorrow night but I am sick. Keep staying strong Kaela! xo

DH
$100
David Hadad
15 months ago

Hopes and prayers for a speedy recovery - David Hadad & family

DL
$100
Denise Larsen
15 months ago

Sending love, thoughts and prayers from Amanda and family

Shannon Meade
17 months ago

Update - A week out from diagnosis: First of all Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! to all who have donated, sent well wishes or said a prayer for Kaela. We are humbled by the generosity of so many and grateful to everyone! We wish we could personally thank everyone but rest assured we know who you are and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Kaela started her 7 + 3 chemo protocol this week. She is doing 7 days continuous infusion of Cytarabine along with 3 days push infusion of Daunorubicin which today was the last day of this. If these 2 drugs do what they are supposed to the leukemia will go into remission. We are still waiting for the bone marrow biopsy gene mutation results to determine the next protocol to use to eradicate the cancer from her system. Due to her lung disease and potential kidney issues these could play a factor in what is done. Usual protocol is bone marrow transplant but depending on test results there could be another chemo protocol that could work so still a lot of unknowns. Kaela has had a few bumps in the road with some fluid build up and low oxygen levels when she is sleeping. They are watching her closely giving her diuretics for the fluid and a c-pap at night which she does not like at all. She is up walking the halls during the day, sitting in a chair instead of bed all day and even did an art therapy session today which she loved. Tonight her last push chemo has unfortunately brought on the nausea and she is not feeling well at all. They are adjusting her anti-nausea medication hoping it will help. Kathy said it's hard to watch your child go through but is staying as strong as she can to help her push through this. We will do another update when we have some new information to share. For now we will continue to accept prayers, good wishes and shares to help Kaela beat leukemia! Love, The Aspeel and Santillo families

+ Read More
Even Tim
17 months ago

People like Kaela are why I am interested in the work we do.

+ Read More
Shannon Meade
17 months ago

Thank you so much for all the love and support!! Kaela and the entirety of our family greatly appreciate everything!! Thank you for helping us spread the word and raising awareness

+ Read More
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