…73 Days Until Race Day
Rachel was diagnosed at age 16 with Metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma. After 12 months of chemotherapy, 31 days of radiation, three surgeries and countless blood transfusions, she was declared in remission.
Through her treatment, the most significant impact was a late term effect where Rachel developed lymphedema in her arm due to the radiation. She sees a specialist constantly for lymphatic drainage and to help with the contracture (pliable connective tissues become less flexible, limiting range of motion) in her arm. It is necessary that Rachel wear compression garments to reduce the swelling and avoid cellulitis.
Outside of that, things were going great in Rachel’s life.
She is a 2-time Snowdrop Foundation scholarship recipient and nearly three years No Evidence of Disease (NED). As Rachel details:
“I had two great years. I ran the relay for life for American Cancer Society on my campus. I was a committee member at our Danceathons to raise money for pediatric cancer. I organized numerous blood drives. I also volunteered at BID, for The Bronx Improvement District.
Academically, I made the Dean’s List and as an accounting and finance major I studied in London during my junior year at Fordham University.
My proudest accomplishment is the coveted internship I earned at JPMorgan Chase.
Sadly, cancer has once again taken all this away.” – Rachel
Last month, at age 20, the unthinkable happened to Rachel.
She knows that this next clinical trial will be even more aggressive than the last one she endured in 2013.
Sometimes I’ll get asked “why did you decide that Snowdrop Foundation would provide college scholarships for childhood cancer patients?”
This is a message we received from Rachel’s mom. This letter answers that question:
“Dear Trish, I just want to tell you Rachel has been so fortunate to be a lucky Snowdrop college scholarship recipient for two years now and boy do we appreciate it since her cancer was during her junior and senior year of high school.
So at a time when we should’ve been saving for college all of our money went towards co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, travel expenses, wigs, etc.” – Rachel’s mom
Whenever we get that question, it tells me that the financial cost of treating a childhood cancer patient and the length of time it takes to pay that off, is either overlooked or just completely unknown.
Yet another area where awareness is important.
Rachel’s mom continued her letter:
“This year is different.
Although I encouraged her to reapply I see despair for the first time in my beautiful daughter’s eyes.
Right before the holidays two bilateral tumors were discovered on her lungs and our worst fears have once again resurfaced.
It’s metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma.
Thank you to your wonderful organization. You’ve been instrumental in giving Rachel two of her best years of her life as a student at Fordham University.
We pray for the best. She worked so hard.
Keep up the good work, Trish. Families like mine need good people like you and your fine organization.” – Rachel’s mom
I also believe that college scholarships give pediatric cancer patients motivation, as a goal and a look to the future.
“I look forward to being back on campus, finishing my internship, graduating Fordham University and becoming a longtime productive member of society.” – Rachel
Today’s run was an hour. It was a grind. Nothing felt right. From the first step, I felt like I had relapsed in my training back to a time when I had just started running.
Towards the end of the run though, things got better for me, as they will for Rachel and that’s why I dedicated today to her.
Who will you meet tomorrow?