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Leslie's Fight to Live

$8,155 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 103 people in 11 months
Created December 9, 2017
Jennifer Patten
on behalf of Leslie Alexander Russell

The unthinkable has become a reality for our beautiful, sweet Leslie and her precious family (Wes and James.)  This past Sunday, December 3rd 2017, after a several month's long battle with a persistant cough, nausea and abdominal pain, Leslie was admitted into the hospital.  It would be the following morning that the words she never wanted to hear would be said.  "Your cancer is back."  In 2012 Leslie battled colorectal cancer and won.  Unfortunately, her success would be short lived.  She has now been diagnosed with metastatic cancer to the liver, ureters and lungs.  Without treatment, her prognosis is bleak and it is unlikely she will make it to her next birthday.  With treatment, though the prognosis is still not great, it is better than a mere months.  We are hopeful that treatment will bide her the time needed for a major medical breakthrough to occur or at the very least, more precious time with her son and husband. 

Even with health insurance, Leslie and her husband are looking at out-of-pocket expenses in excess of $100,000 over the next two years.  Many of you have asked how you can help, so this GoFundMe was started.  Leslie and her husband are a single income family and Leslie homeschools their son full time.  Wes will have to miss work to take Leslie to her appointments, care for her when she is unable to care for herself and to take care of James' needs as well.  Any amount you are able to give would be so very appreciated.  The funds raised will be used to offset medical costs and Wes' time off of work while Leslie is undergoing chemotherapy.  Please consider donating to help ease the financial burden on this amazing family so they are able to focus on Leslie and her needs in the upcoming months.  


Leslie, affectionately known by her family as Sessie, is the light and love of our lives. She is a young 43 years old.  She is a graduate of Mainland High School in Daytona Beach and a former employee of Publix.  She is wife to Wes, mother to 11 year old James, daughter to Dee, sister to Shelly and Laurie, Aunt to Kristen, Kyle, Katie and Ethan and adored by her many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, great nieces, and extended family. We are begging you to please lift Leslie up in your prayers and if you can find it in your heart to donate, please do.  GoFundMe works by sharing, so even if you are unable to give, please, please share.  Share on any groups you belong to, share with your friends and family and share multiple times.  If everyone who reads this campaign donates just $1, we could meet our goal in less than a week.  No amount is too small.  

HOW YOU CAN HELP TODAY:
1. PRAY!!!
2.  Donate what you can, no amount is too small.
3. Share on all social media with the hashtag #LesliesFight and make sure you make it public so all your friends can share with their friends.
4. Email this GoFundMe and these steps to all your contacts.
5. Use any avenue you have available to you to make this campaign go viral (or send us any tips.)

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE:
We know this is a difficult time of the year for most people financially, but we have to let you know that time is most certainly not on Leslie's side.  Leslie is battling a rapidly progressive cancer and without IMMEDIATE intervention, she will die.  Leslie is 43 years old.  She has an 11 year old child.  Please act now.

We will not let Leslie fight this battle alone.  Our family will band together and we will go to war for our girl.  We ask that you stand beside us and join us as we fight against this ugly monster called cancer.  #LesliesFight

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your prayers, support and love.  
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Leslie's mom asked me to write an update to her page because we have been posting most updates to our family page and she wanted all who are praying for Leslie to be updated too. Unfortunately, Leslie's cancer is not cooperating as well as we had hoped it would. Though the chemo did help keep it at bay, the most recent developments are that the original colorectal cancer she had has come back and she is now dealing with two completely different strains of cancer in her body at the same time. They have switched her chemo to the chemo she was getting back several years ago when she was initially diagnosed and hoping it works again as well as it worked back then. Also, many of you may not know that she found out last month around her birthday that she had a large cancerous mass pushing against her spinal column, involving her spinal cord. It is in her upper back, about where a bra strap would lay. She had to immediately begin radiation treatment to shrink it because of the proximity to the spinal cord and the risks that come with spinal cord compression. It was extremely, extremely painful to her, but thank the Lord, that pain has subsided now that she has completed radiation and the tumor has shrunk. Seeing her in such excruciating pain is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever witnessed and I am so grateful she has gotten some relief where that is concerned. That being said, she is very, very weak right now. All of these treatments and procedures have taken a toll and she has a very hard time eating and getting up. She tries so hard to feel better and to even get out for a little bit, but more often than not, she has to lay down after a few minutes of being up. Her husband, Wes, was able to get her a hospital bed which has helped her sleep a little more comfortably, thankfully. Despite her pain and struggles she is still fighting so hard and we are amazed every day by her strength and resilience. We want to ask specifically that those who pray for Leslie, pray for a miracle. We are praying as a family, that Leslie's cancer disappears from her body. We are praying that she is made well, made whole and that she is given a chance to live the rest of her life. It is hard to write those things, hard to say those things, and I'm sure hard to read those things, but that is what we are begging for right now. We need to believe in our hearts that our Leslie will receive a miracle. We are a faithful and trusting family. We believe in the word of God and we know God performs miracles, so we are praying He will perform one in this situation. We are asking that all of our family and friends pray this with us. "...Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.” Please gather with us and pray. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support our family has received and continues to receive. Please know we feel your prayers and we are comforted by your words and kind gestures.
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Just wanted to post an update on Leslie and thank everyone for their prayers. **I was just stopped on Friday at the doctor's office in the town we grew up in and told by the office staff they were praying for Leslie - one of the girls grew up with another cousin of ours but the other only knew of Leslie through her - and I was so filled with disbelief, gratitude and especially love knowing that there are so many people out there we don't even know who are praying for our girl and our family.** THANK YOU. We feel your prayers and we know they are being heard. Now for a long overdue update: Leslie has been living in DeLand for the past 7 weeks to be closer to family so that we can all help as needed. When she arrived, Leslie was in a very bad place. Her cancer was growing rapidly and she was too sick to receive chemotherapy. Her doctors in Tampa had suggested it may be time to consider Hospice. The cancer had eaten away all of her fat and most of her muscle. She was fighting hard every day to just endure the pain and muster up the strength to get up out of bed to use the bathroom or eat. She was fighting a losing battle. We quickly got her in to see a new oncologist, one who knew her story and wanted to fight for her. His nurse also happens to be a very wonderful woman and a personal friend of mine who I love dearly and who has advocated for Leslie from Day 1. If you're counting blessings, so far we're at four! 1. Prayers from all over, from people we don't even know! 2. A large family who loves and cares for Leslie and our wonderful aunt and uncle who converted the front part of their home so that Leslie and her family can stay there! 3. A caring, feisty, innovative doctor who isn't giving up on Leslie and has promised to fight as long as she wants to fight! 4. A nurse Leslie trusts who is kind, gentle, funny and smart! And those are only the tip of the iceberg, there are more coming, just keep reading. Over the past seven weeks, Leslie and her new doctor came up with a plan. She desperately needed chemotherapy to shrink her tumors because her cancer is very fast growing, but she was too frail to tolerate it. They decided they would both dig deep and do their parts. He started her out on 25% chemo and she almost immediately was able to feel the good results. The swelling in her abdomen went down significantly, the pain is almost non-existent and she is able to function again most of the time. She, in turn, was able to increase her caloric intake to gain some weight and get up and move to gain some muscle. She has since had two additional chemo sessions and this last session began Friday. She is now up to 75% of the full dose. Before the chemo, she was not strong enough to even take a shower or walk further than the bed to the bathroom. Since beginning chemo, she has been strong enough to go shopping for groceries, cook some, do some of her own chores, have dinner over at her sister's house and even enjoy a weekend with her cousins. These are blessings on blessings and we are all thrilled that she has responded so well. She is a fighter for sure!! Leslie is also undergoing some non-traditional therapies that we believe are working along with the chemo to help fight this cancer. We are beyond thankful for this! Now for the tough parts: Leslie lost all of her hair from the chemo, as you can see in the updated photos. We think she's absolutely beautiful, with or without hair, but as you can imagine, it's a tough thing for anyone to lose their hair, especially a woman. The chemo, while doing exactly what it is supposed to do to the cancer, is also wreaking havoc on Leslie’s body. She struggles with a lot of nausea, sometimes vomiting and overall weakness, especially the week following her treatment and the days right before her next treatment. This is to be expected but difficult nonetheless. Financially, the expenses are many. First of all, Leslie’s husband is taking FMLA days each week so that he can be with Leslie and their son 3-4 days at a time most weeks. Leslie’s mom is switching off with him and staying the alternate days. They are both travelling back and forth from the west coast several times a week, so there is loss of income, cost of gas, etc. In addition, there are many added expenses in keeping up with two homes. They have needed to purchase additional supplies, appliances, etc. so that Leslie is able to function in her new living space. There is also the cost of Leslie’s medication that she needs to take in order to boost her white blood cells after chemotherapy so that she doesn’t get an infection. These shots are $3000 apiece and needed every 3 weeks. Her insurance would only approve the first three shots, so after her shot today, the shot will be completely out of pocket. In addition to the chemo and traditional medications, Leslie is also doing some non-traditional treatments and the costs for those are not covered by insurance at all. The treatments are very, very expensive and 100% out of pocket to Leslie and Wes. Lastly, it is the new year and in 2018, all new deductibles and out of pocket expenses to meet before insurance covers many visits, procedures, etc. Iron infusions and fluid therapy all cost money, but Leslie needs these treatments. Any and all donations will go straight to Leslie’s cancer treatments and overage will go directly to meeting the needs of caring for her. Leslie’s cancer is terminal. There is no cure as of now. We ask that you first of all continue to pray for her! Pray for her continued strength and for her to be as well as possible for as long as possible. Pray for new cancer treatments and new science that will cure cancer. We know new medications and therapies are being discovered every day and we are praying fervently that Leslie’s cure is in there. Second of all, if you were ever considering donating, now is the time. Please share, please donate, please pray! <3
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Not much to update on this week, but wanted to take a moment to let everyone know what is going on. Leslie is recuperating from her hospitalization and the procedures she had done while hospitalized this week. Her next oncology appointment is Tuesday 12/19/17 and we will have a lot more information regarding her treatment plan after that visit. Please continue to pray for Leslie. Please pray not only for total healing of her body, but also pray specifically that she is able to remain strong mentally and find a sense of peace in all of this. Please also pray for her immediate family: her husband Wes, son Jamie and her mom Dee and sisters Laurie and Shelly. Our family is so grateful for all of our amazing friends who have shared Leslie's story, those who have been praying for her and those who have donated money to help offset her costs of care. We love you and we feel blessed to have so many people reaching out and wrapping their virtual arms around Leslie and our family.
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$8,155 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 103 people in 11 months
Created December 9, 2017
Jennifer Patten
on behalf of Leslie Alexander Russell
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