April 28, 2013

In a pouring rain, Heather drove herself to the emergency room, knowing deep down that something just wasn't right. The lump she could feel in her abdomen wasn't going away. After an initial CT scan, the ER doctor came to tell her that the scan indicated she quite likely had lymphoma and she would be admitted immediately into the hospital for further testing. 

Over the course of the next ten days, biopsies of the tumor and of her bone marrow were performed. What was initially thought to be follicular lymphoma turned out to be something much more rare - double-hit lymphoma. So, she has not one, but two different lymphomas. These types of cancer have only been known about for five years and treatable for two. 

Heather is such an amazing person. Her friends and family would all tell you that her spirit, her grace and her strength has made us all better people. When I tell her that she replies with humor, "Thanks. Glad I could help you out by getting sick." 

Since that day in April, Heather has been through six rounds of chemotherapy.

It worked.

She is cancer-free. 

The next step will be to receive a stem cell transplant at Vanderbilt in Nashville. She will be there for 30 days. This transplant offers the best chance for a cure for her cancer.

Heather is a school psychologist but will most likely not be able to return to work any time soon. Her husband, Dan, has had to take significant time off of work to be with her and manage their three crazy kids. He will spend a good bit of the 30 days she has to be at Vanderbilt with her.

We, her friends and family, are incredibly fortunate to know her and want to do what we can to help her not worry about finances while she undergoes this most crucial transplant.

If you are able, please consider helping the McClendon family.