We have started a new feature on our web site called #YourFight. It provides a chance to let readers share their battle with cancer in their own words. We will be featuring these stories on a regular basis. If you would like to share yours, follow the link here to find out how. The stories and treatments you will read about are specific for each individual and may be different than your own. These posts are designed to tell the stories of the reality of cancer and it’s impact on our lives, not as medical advice. If you or anyone you know is going through similar battles, we encourage you to be an informed health consumer and seek professional medical advice.
Today’s #YourFight story comes from Karen and Gene Wenzel, parents of Lindsay. (@TreesOfHopeWI on Twitter) They recount the story of their daughter’s fight versus ALL – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Tragically, Lindsay lost her battle in November of 2010 but, as her mom states, “cancer may have taken someone we love from this earth, but it will Never take them from our hearts! It will not win.” Lindsay’s battle has inspired her parents to create a foundation to raise funds and awareness against this disease. Thank you Karen and Gene for having the courage to share.
Lindsay’s story……as told by her parents
The first thing people always remember about Lindsay is her smile. A smile that lit up the room and an attitude that being kind and helping others was most important. It is that smile and attitude that motivates us to push forward each day. Lindsay, Jason and Olivia Lopez were the typical young family. Working hard, having fun and just enjoying life. On Sept 21, 2009 everything changed. That day Lindsay was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Thus began a journey that nobody ever prepares for. Chemo, numerous medical complications, transfusions, biopsies, months of hospital stays. Since the Doctors knew she needed a Bone Marrow Transplant, the search for a marrow donor began. Being an only child, a sibling match was not an option, so the National Marrow Donor Program “Be The Match” started a search to find the one person in the world that would match… That donor was found in Germany.
On June 23, 2010 Lindsay received this life-giving transplant at Froedtert Hospital. The tireless work of the Transplant Team, Doctors, Nurses, technicians and many people behind the scenes helped her recover to return home 5 weeks later. Still weeks of care, countless Doctor visits and finally 3 months later a bone marrow biopsy that showed the leukemia was gone. Hope was restored for a full recovery. A 32nd Birthday celebration was in order.
Several weeks later, Lindsay started feeling ill again and more tests were done. The results… the leukemia had returned. Re-admitted to the hospital, strong chemo treatments began again. A month of relentless treatments to fight the evil cancer cells and infections. On Nov 22nd, 2010 Lindsay lost her battle against Leukemia.
She fought every step of the way with the heart of a Warrior. Not complaining, just accepting and tolerating whatever procedure she had to endure. While a cure was not to be for Lindsay, we continue to fight to find a cure for this evil disease that is not exclusive – it strikes suddenly and devastates people of any age. Not only affecting the patient, but changing the lives of everyone around them.
In 2000, Lindsay’s 1st job after college was working at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, as an administrative assistant in the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Dept. Little did we know, that 10 yrs later we would be praying for a bone marrow donor to save her life. We are grateful for the ongoing research being done at the CIBMTR (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research) located at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The Doctors, Nurses, Researchers and Clinicians work tirelessly to improve treatments for blood cancer patients. Our Trees of Hope WI organization was created as a way to raise funds to support local patient services and research. This is our way of keeping Lindsay’s fighting spirit alive and help others. She is our Tinkerbell Angel and as Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Karen and Gene Wenzel