Monday, April 11, 2011

Honored Hero: Jack

This past Saturday's mission moment was given by Deb Duffy. She is the neighbor of our summer coach, Charlene. Deb and her family's journey is the reason why Charlene got involved with Team in Training and continues to coach. This is Jack's story...told in part from Deb's speech on Saturday and also from his father's fundraising page...he is training for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride this June with TNT. He has raised $9,092.00 already. Their fight to find a cure is inspiring!

On August 9, 2002, the Duffy's son, Jack, was diagnosed with ALL - acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was 7 months old. They were told that Jack was high risk because of his age and high white count. Their journey started immediately...including chemotherapy, numerous hospital stays, almost daily doctor visits, spinal taps, central lines, ports, blood & platelet transfusions...AND this was just the first year.

Jack went into remission but the leukemia came back almost immediately after treatment stopped. The Duffy's only option at that point was a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately Jack's older brother, Ryan, was a perfect match! The bone marrow treatment consisted of even higher doses of chemotherapy and full body radiation. The transport went smoothly; however, the leukemia came back again.
After just under 2 years of fighting the disease...Jack lost his battle with leukemia on November 17, 2004.

The Duffy's lives were forever changed. This year, 2011, Jack would be 9 years old. The Duffy's say although the journey had lots of tears, pain and sorrow, it also had laughter, joy and happiness. They attribute that to Jack's spirit. His father said that, "the most part he fought his battle with a smile on his face and laughter in his heart. He fought so hard and squeezed as much life out as he could in the short time he was here." Jack's story personally hit home for me...Allie was the same age when she was diagnosed with leukemia but her outcome was much different. It is truly heartbreaking to hear parents tell their story about losing their child to cancer...the fighting, the praying, the worry...the unknown year after year during treatment and after.

What I ask of those reading this is to PLEASE pass on Jack's story as well as the stories of all our honored heros...share this blog with anyone who will read it. Most important if you are every approached by someone with Team in Training who is training for an endurance event PLEASE donate to them...every single $1 counts. A $5.00 donation means the world to that says I believe in you and I want to help you find a cure so no child has to endure treatment and no parent has to lose their child to cancer. GO TEAM!

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