— “Baby Thomas” Fundraiser —
for ALL research and the Anna Schindler Foundation
In December of 2016, immediately after he was born, Thomas, son of one of our members, was taken to Spokane’s Sacred Heart Hospital for medical treatment on a yet undiagnosed condition. After a couple of weeks of testing, Thomas was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). In a child with ALL, too many stem cells become lymphoblasts, B lymphocytes, or T lymphocytes. The cells do not work like normal lymphocytes and are not able to fight infection very well. These cells are cancer (leukemia) cells. As the number of leukemia cells increases in the blood and bone marrow, there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may lead to infection, anemia, and easy bleeding.
For nearly a year, Thomas received chemotherapy and other treatments to put his leukemia into remission. As the doctors saw no presence of cancer, they prepared to end treatment and his family got ready to rejoice. Unfortunately, on one of the final tests, leukemia cells were found in his spinal fluid. This meant not just more treatment, but really starting all over. This was not the news anyone wanted to hear and set his family back to worrying and waiting and enduring more treatments and more time apart. Since his relapse, Thomas has received more chemo, and suffered nearly a month in the Pediatric ICU because of a common cold and his weakened immune system. At 19 months old, Thomas is in Seattle at Children’s hospital preparing for a Bone Marrow Transplant. The transplant is Thomas’ greatest hope of remission and health for the long haul. To date, Thomas has received 84 platelet transfusions and 49 blood transfusions. When you donate blood it isn’t just for accidents and surgeries, a lot of the blood goes to help cancer patients replace their blood with healthy blood and platelets.
Most of us can only imagine how brutal the last year and a half has been for Thomas and his family. It is our hope that we can shine some light for the family, show support by donating blood for the many patients who need it, signing up to Be the Match (to be a potential bone marrow donor) for others who need healthy bone marrow, and raising funds to support the life-saving research of the American Childhood Cancer Society and for the Anna Schindler Foundation which provides on the ground, practical help for families include food cards, gas cards, and lodging.