Eleonora received a life saving transplant to treat second cancer
My family is beyond grateful for the help that Gift of Life provided to my mother after a three-year emotional rollercoaster dealing with multiple cancers.
In 2006, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. When her oncologist first listed “leukemia” among the potential side effects for her chemotherapy regimen, my mom and I gasped. The doctor, however, reassured us that the chance of leukemia was extremely rare and, in any case, would be a concern decades down the line.
In April 2008, after completing major surgery and more than a year of chemotherapy, my mother was finally getting back to normal. We were excited that the cancer appeared to be behind us and that we could focus on my upcoming wedding and finding wedding and mother-of-the-bride dresses.
The next month, however, my mother kept mentioning how tired and unwell she felt, even to the point where she was not feeling her usual excitement with the “save-the-dates” and all of the planning for my impending wedding. After a few days, I received a terrifying phone call that my mom was in the emergency room, with a white blood cell count ten times the normal level. After more testing, we received a devastating diagnosis: my mom had acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
My mother spent most of the next four months isolated to a hospital room undergoing intense chemotherapy designed to bring her cancer into remission. During this time, she was repeatedly released to go home, only to be rushed back with high-grade fevers that threatened her life due to her weakened immune system. In October 2008, my mother completed this course of treatment in time for my wedding the next month. The goal this time was not finding a wedding dress but rather a beautiful wig. Happily, we all enjoyed a wonderful wedding, relieved that my mother was feeling better and seemed to be past her AML.
Our relief, however, was short-lived. In July 2009, my mother’s leukemia relapsed, and her only chance for survival this time was a bone marrow transplant. We turned to the Gift of Life for a donor. In answer to our prayers, the Gift of Life found a match and my mother received transplanted cells from a generous soul named David. Since her transplant, my mother has been fortunate to see the birth of our two children—her first grandchildren.
The Gift of Life and our donor David saved my mother’s life. We are forever indebted to this wonderful organization and are so grateful for the lives it saves and the hope and love it provides.