Julie Mueller – a seamstress, bibliophile, fishing enthusiast, loving dog rescuer, and wonderful mother of one daughter and one Corgi – recently underwent a stem cell transplant in February for stage III multiple myeloma.
As an act of support, Julie’s daughter, Miranda, promised she would shave her hair when the time came. Eventually, Julie began losing her hair in handfuls, so they sent for the hairdresser. Julie shaved off about 6 inches of hair and Miranda shaved off 11 inches, all of which Miranda donated to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
For added encouragement as they were chopping their tresses off, Miranda turned to her friends in Paris – where she had been living for six months before moving back to the United States to be Julie’s caregiver. Via video chat, Miranda’s friends supportively watched as Julie and Miranda got their hair buzzed.
Both Julie and Miranda are being incredibly positive and have expressed thanks to everyone who has been helping them through their journey.
Meet Ana, Eugene, and John. They are the latest Lifeline Project participants to be profiled in our ongoing series highlighting the needs of transplant patients.
Ana was initially diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in December of 2009. She was treated with six cycles of R-CHOP chemotherapy and went into remission in June of 2010. Unfortunately she relapsed a year later and would need to undergo more chemotherapy as well as an autologous stem cell transplant. Ana has been through a lengthy treatment and could use help with her medical expenses.
Eugene is a former case manager, social worker, and secondary school teacher whose working career was cut short in January of 2009 when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Despite undergoing treatment and a bone marrow transplant his cancer is still not in remission. Eugene is continuing to undergo treatment, which has put him and his wife in a difficult financial situation. Neither of them can maintain employment while they focus on his care and they are desperately in need of assistance with their rent payments.
John was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in April of 2010. Since that time he has undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy, several blood transfusions, and a bone marrow transplant. As a result of the lengthy treatment, John could not return to work and was terminated by his employer. His wife, Debra, also needed to stop working in order to be his caregiver. They are now faced with multiple expenses, including the additional cost of housing near the transplant center. Despite the challenges they are focusing on the future and have just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.
To help these or any of the Lifeline Project participants, click here.
Richard is a 49 year old male with myelofibrosis who underwent an allogeneic stem cell transplant in July 2012. He used to work as a limousine driver but cannot work any longer and he cannot afford his rent/utilities. Richard does not qualify for SSI/SSD because he is a resident, but not a naturalized citizen. He has three children and a wife, and the family is struggling significantly financially.
Richard’s wife and eldest son work low wage jobs, but without his income, they are unable to meet the family’s basic needs. They’ve requested assistance paying for housing, utilities, and living expenses.
In order to give a more clear idea of the depth of need faced by bone marrow, stem cell, and cord blood transplant patients and their families face, we are sharing excerpts from actual applications to The Bone Marrow Foundation’s Patient Aid Program. The names have been changed to maintain confidentially, but the stories are straight from the applications. To learn how you can make a gift to support the Foundation’s efforts to help transplant patients and their families, click here.