In October of 2017, I was given a grim diagnosis of stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma at only the age of 18. Fresh out of high school and eager to take on adult life, I felt like I had been given a death sentence. Stage 4 cancer? What did any of these strange words mean? To say I was in shock was an understatement.
Fast forward a year, I finished my last chemo in February of 2019. After almost 60 weeks of weekly therapy, as well as 6 weeks of radiation, I was declared cancer free. During the end of my treatment, my social worker reached out to me to see if I was interested in DJF’s LifeList program. This meant that I’d be put in touch with other adolescents going through a similar journey as mine, as well as the opportunity to create a wish list of anything I can think of.
Not only did Dear Jack outfit me with everything I could’ve wished for, they continually reached out to ask how I was doing, if I needed anything, and were just genuinely curious of how my life was going. Reaching out as often as they did meant more than anything anyone could buy.
Dear Jack gave me more than just a kayak, a yeti cooler, and a bow, they gave me the opportunity to connect with the outdoors, which is something I have strived for since I was very young – you can’t put a price on that.
Dear Jack inspired me to get outside more, as well as gave me that opportunity. It’s hard for me to put into words the enjoyment I have gotten out of my kayak, while either using it to go fishing with friends, or just floating down one of the rivers we have here! Without donors like you, DJF wouldn’t be able to put the amount of smiles on people’s faces like they do now. They give more than material things, they give hope, happiness, inspiration, and just an overwhelming feeling that they care about you.
I am so thankful for Dear Jack and for all they have done for me throughout my time as a LifeList participant, and I am even more thankful for the donors that make all of this happen.
I’m sure I can speak for all of us that have benefitted from the Dear Jack Foundation in saying THANK YOU for choosing such a well deserving foundation to donate to.
Tyler LifeList Program Participant