Hunter E

Active LifeList Participant

My name is Hunter and I am 25. I was diagnosed in January of 2022 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with +PH chromosome. My diagnosis came completely out of nowhere. For just a couple of weeks before, I just felt something wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on any one thing that was out of sorts, but something just didn’t feel right. I had some left side pain that actually took me to the ER, a day after seeing my family doctor for some blood work. The journey I never expected to be on began in that ER room. I was immediately transferred to Ohio State University Medical Center to the Cancer Treatment floor where this test and that test were performed over the next two days. When the bone marrow biopsy came back, it showed I indeed had leukemia; Acute lymphoblastic leukemia to be exact. A treatment plan was devised and chemotherapy was started immediately.

My current treatment plan includes two more cycles of in-patient chemotherapy and then another bone marrow biopsy to see if any residual cancer cells are present. I’m being told a bone marrow transplant will be required to extinguish this disease.

 

Hunter’s LifeList:

  1. Patio Furniture

  2. Toddler Slide

  3. Swing for the backyard

Bethany N

Active LifeList Participant

I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in March of 2018 when I was 25 and living in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. I truly can recall many moments leading up to the day, when an oncologist in Haiti told me I needed to immediately pack up and go home to start treatment, where I thought ‘wow, this is it – this is exactly where I want to be’. That time in my life was one of the happiest that I can remember. I had more adventures than I can count, connected with so many incredible people, and was working for an amazing company that focuses on sustainable development through job creation. My year living in Haiti strengthened me so much as a person, as did the first few weeks of trying to figure out what was going on with my health in a country where I couldn’t understand what the doctors were saying. It was scary and I was surrounded by people I had only known for a few months, but fortunately, those were some of the best people I have met to this day and I didn’t feel unsupported or alone for even a second. This time is a focal point of my experience with cancer because I truly see it as a lifeline throughout the past 4 years with this diagnosis and I know it will continue to serve that purpose until the end of my time here on this earth. The joy I experienced over that single year developed my lifelong, resolute mindset that I wouldn’t trade anything – not the countless hours I have spent at the clinic, not the fear, pain, or tears, not even the chance to be cured of cancer, if it meant that I wouldn’t get to keep the adventures, experiences, and people that I have met over the past 4 years.

 

Bethany’s LifeList:

  1. To travel

Phillip G

Active LifeList Participant

In August of 2017, I  was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 34. Initially, I was misdiagnosed, then several months later I received the final report of desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT). This rare type of cancer usually grows in the abdomen and pelvic area of the body. Although there are some treatment options, the prognosis is very poor for this type of cancer. Since the time I was diagnosed, I have gone through multiple chemo treatments and one clinical trial. I am currently receiving chemo treatment once a month alternating between outpatient chemo and 1 week of inpatient chemo.  At this moment this treatment has been keeping my cancer stable.

 

Phillip’s LifeList:

  1. A laptop

Holly T

Active LifeList Participant

I am a 38-year-old kindergarten teacher and a single mom to a 9-year-old girl.  I was just diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer with metastases to both my lungs and liver in January of 2022. This has been a real struggle. In one moment my whole life was shaken to its foundation. I remember exactly where I was when the oncologist called me to tell me I had breast cancer – sitting in my classroom while my students were at their specials class. I never imagined at the start of this school year that this could be my last year teaching; never imagined a scenario where I would be planning what to do with my daughter when I am gone because when I am gone my daughter will be an orphan. It is very easy to spiral down the dark thoughts of what I will miss but I want to make the best of whatever time I have left with her.  I want to make memories that will last her a lifetime because there is a very real possibility I won’t be around when she’s 20.

I cannot thank Dear Jack Foundation enough for helping me accomplish this, for bringing me hope, and for bringing me a reprieve from the heaviness of cancer. I have had a dream of taking my daughter out west to see the Grand Canyon, the Redwood Forest, the mountains in Montana… and thanks to Dear Jack we get to cross some things off of our life list.  I am choosing to be grateful for each day I get with my daughter and am trying to make the best of each day and Dear Jack is making a dream of mine become a reality!

 

Holly’s LifeList:

  1. Trip with her daughter

Crystal M

Active LifeList Participant

I was diagnosed with stage 2 triple-negative breast cancer at the age of 36 on December 27th, 2021. When I first received the diagnosis, everything seemed to always have a sense of urgency to it. I believe that I am still processing that I have cancer. I received so many appointments in less than a week including a surgery date for my port that was only nine days after my diagnosis. I started chemotherapy on February 5th after completing all the scans needed prior. My first treatment was great. However, during my second treatment, I experienced an adverse reaction. It happened on my birthday and I literally thought I was going to die that day. My blood pressure rose to 173/119, my throat began to swell, my oxygen levels dropped, I was flush, and I experienced the most terrifying chest tightness where it felt like there was nothing there in my chest. After another failed attempt at this medication, I was changed to the meds that I was scheduled to start after my first twelve weeks of Taxol. I still work full-time so the side effects make my workdays extremely long and tiring. My job has been so accommodating to my needs of having appointments and needing to sit at work or take an unscheduled break because I don’t feel well.

 

Crystal’s LifeList:

  1. 5 tickets to a Grizzlies game

  2. Mackbook Pro

  3. Printer

Corey G

Active LifeList Participant

My name is Corey and I was diagnosed on October 10th of 2021 with colorectal cancer. I had been dealing with pain for the previous three months or so before a few trips to the ER where a CT scan showed cancer in my liver and colon. PET scans then showed the cancer was in my abdomen, stomach lining, and lungs as well. I have been undergoing chemotherapy and am now on my 10th round. Chemotherapy has not been too much fun but I think as I continue to get it I’ve gotten more used to being sort of out of commission that week and understanding what that week may look like. It seems like my treatment plan is to do chemo until it stops working and go from there.

 

Corey’s LifeList:

  1. Tickets to a Yankees home game and a stadium tour

  2. NYC hotel for the weekend

Alex G

Active LifeList Participant

In August of 2021, I started to have abdominal pain. It wasn’t extreme, but it was pretty frequent. I went to my doctor about it and they suggested that it could be a few things, including IBS. I started keeping a “food journal” to see if anything specific caused it but I couldn’t narrow any food down. Some things we tried helped, but the pain never went away. So, I had a CT scan in November of 2021 and my scan result came back showing that there was some inflammation in my colon, but nothing much else was really noticeable. At the end of January 2022, I went in to see a GI doctor.

I told my new GI Doctor everything and he was a bit confused. Some of my symptoms weren’t lining up clearly and he suggested that the best thing we could do was to schedule a colonoscopy. He said that “with someone your age, 9 times out of 10 I won’t find anything. But because of that 1 out of 10, I would rather do this sooner than later.” They had found a large tumor and took a biopsy for testing. Two days later on February 2nd, 2022, I received the phone call that it was indeed colon cancer. I was 28 years old. We scheduled surgery to get it removed and on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022, I got the tumor taken out. It went well and I was out of the hospital the next day. They also removed some “suspicious-looking lymph nodes” around the tumor as well. They didn’t find any tumors in them, but unfortunately, they did find dead cancer cells. So, with the size of the tumor and that evidence, they classify it as Stage 3c. Since then I have been recovering and working on the next step in my treatment.

 

Alex’s LifeList:

  1. Meet Brendan Fraser

  2. A trip outside the US

  3. An espresso machine

Courtney H

Active LifeList Participant

I was diagnosed with stage 4 fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma of the liver at age 21. I’m 29 now. I’ve had a harrowing journey of many many surgeries, IR interventions, radiation, and traveling across the country to receive care for my 1 in 5 million disease. It has been hard to be treated at home with unpublished protocols and treatment plans and I have had to change oncologists a lot due to this. There’s so much more.

 

Courtney’s LifeList:

  1. A trip to Hawaii

Erin S

Active LifeList Participant

My name is Erin and I am 26 years old. I have two daughters who are one and 5-years-old. My husband currently serves in the US military.  I was diagnosed the day before Thanksgiving in 2021 with Ewing’s sarcoma. I am currently going through chemotherapy.  I get treatments every 2 and a half weeks and will be done with them by the end of 2022. I am lucky enough that my medical team was able to completely remove my tumor. I am doing my treatment in hopes that it will not come back and I can continue to be here for my babies.

 

Erin’s LifeList:

  1. A family vacation to the beach

Avaunna D

Active LifeList Participant

My name is Avaunna and I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of 17. I was a  high school sophomore and was working part-time. I was in a program where I attended the local technical college for their nursing program. I was experiencing headaches that Tylenol wouldn’t take care of for more than an hour. My mother grew concerned and took me to the urgent care where I was diagnosed with migraines. After a day of urgent care suggesting Excedrin migraine pills that didn’t work, my older brother took me to an eye doctor who said I had bleeding behind my eyes. They gave me a referral to a specialist and said to contact them the following week for a follow-up appointment. My mother refused and immediately took me to the hospital for further testing. After my scans, they found a solid tumor in the frontal lobe of my brain. Immediate surgery was needed so I underwent the 1st of 2 surgeries on July 6th, 2021. My second surgery was scheduled one month later, on August 6th, 2021 to remove the remaining tumor. This was done in two parts because we were told it wasn’t cancer. We were asked back into the hospital and were told it was cancer! That was the scariest day of my life! 

 

Treatment started a month-and-a-half after my second surgery. Along came weight loss, nausea, seizures, loss of appetite, complete loss of smell, and the end of life as a healthy, active teen. I stand as strong as I possibly can through the good and the bad! I’m thankful for the Love and Prayers of my family, friends, and the kind hearts of people I don’t even know! Trusting and Believing GOD every step of the way!!

 

Avaunna’s LifeList:

  1. A laptop
  2. Clothes and shoes for college