2019 Event Recap: Thanks for Your Support!
In May 2018, Joe, who was a custom furniture maker, was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the bile duct/cholangiocarcinoma. It metastasized to his liver and several lymph nodes. He began receiving chemotherapy and initially responded well to the treatments.
Sadly, Joe lost his fight against cancer in March of this year. It is our intention to help Joe’s wife, Barb, settle any outstanding medical bills and prepare for the future.
When Elliot, who is now 11, complained that his legs hurt after baseball practice, his father took him to the ER. Abnormal test results prompted a referral to Hershey Medical Center. On April 15, 2015, Elliot was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) B-cell, the most common form of childhood cancer.
His protocol called for 3.5 years of treatments. Twenty-eight days after beginning them, he was in remission. A routine bone marrow biopsy that was performed on October 10, 2017, showed he was still in remission. A month later, he relapsed. At the time, a bone marrow transplant was his best chance of survival. Unfortunately, no matches existed.
His only other option was a new immunotherapy called CAR-T therapy, which was being offered at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The therapy was unsuccessful. On August 21, 2018, good news arrived: A bone marrow unrelated match was available. Elliot underwent the procedure and spent the next 2-1/2 months at Hershey, returning home on December 14. Since then, a bone marrow biopsy shows that he is cancer-free and that his bone marrow is 100% donor. Elliot, whose positive attitude inspires everyone around him, is currently dealing with a very low immune system, but he continues to battle on.
Carol’s story began in 2011, when she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and BRCA 1 gene (stage1-2). Because Carol’s mother died from breast cancer, and having the BRCA gene, she decided to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction along with chemo to prevent a recurrence; she also elected to have a preventative hysterectomy.
Since then, screenings have detected more cancer. In 2016, she recurred and completed chemo but recurred again this year. Fortunately, Carol was approved for a study at Johns Hopkins; she started in September 2018 and continues to go every three weeks.
Carol has been a nurse for over 30 years, working at ECH Wellspan in the pediatrics and labor/delivery departments. She and her husband are the parents of two daughters, one of whom was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and completed chemo this year. The other has chosen to undergo an elective mastectomy.
Carol’s continuous positive outlook, faith in God’s plan, and belief in the power of prayer carries her forward.
Michelle Vinelli Adams
Unrelenting back pain prompted Michelle to visit her doctor in June 2018. X-rays showed bulging discs and spinal stenosis. An MRI captured a portion of her liver.
The imagery was suspect and a biopsy was ordered. Following a CAT scan, Michelle was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. She is being treated through UPenn/Penn Medicine.
After 20-plus years in the United States Navy, Michelle retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 2013. She involved herself in volunteer work, became a devoted member of Reality Church, was a substitute teacher and became an active missionary in Africa and Haiti, where she was pivotal in the opening of a large school. Michelle and her husband, Mike, have been married for 17 years and are the parents of two boys, Justin, 13, and Gavin, 11.
She is full of hope and is an inspiration to her huge support system.
David and Traci Brill, who have been married for 16 years, are the parents of three boys, Derek (17), Tyler (15) and Evan (12). Evan is severely handicapped and requires 24-hour nursing care. On June 12, 2018, David fell from a roof while working, sustaining a severe brain injury.
The doctors at Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine did not expect him to live. On September 28, David was discharged home. He will require long-term therapies, nursing care and supervision. David was self-employed and his business is now closed. Traci, who is now the family’s sole financial provider, took considerable time off work.
Despite all that the Brill family has experienced in the last nine months, they remain hopeful, grateful and faithful!
In 2008, Michele was diagnosed with Behcet’s disease, an inflammatory blood vessel autoimmune disorder that affects multiple parts of the body. Common symptoms include painful mouth sores, inflammation of parts of the eye and joint pain. Michele has been hospitalized several times in the last year, including a two-month-long stay at Hershey Medical Center.
Michele and her husband, Shawn, are the parents of two daughters, McKena and Shannon (ages 15 and 19). She had worked at Mountville Elementary as a building aide for eight years, but had to resign because of ill health. Unfortunately, Shawn has also been unable to work, due to medical issues.
Despite her problems, Michele remains a very positive person.