Please scroll down to read all the stories of our amazing & inspiring recipient
Last February Kyle Snow went for a MRI after months of ever worsening migraines. A hockey puck size tumor was discovered in his brain. The tumor was so large it bent his brain stem. Days later Kyle underwent a procedure called a right frontal craniotomy at Saint Elizabeths Medical Center to remove the mass. The tumor was then biopsied and Kyle was diagnosed with a brain cancer called an astrocytoma . The news devastated his family. Kyle is only 28 years old and has two children Cadence (5) and Cobain (1) with his girlfriend Amanda. Kyle had a hard time post surgery due to a stroke he suffered during surgery and coming to grips with the reality of cancer. Kyle sees Dana Farber for his cancer treatment. Kyle is a very kind and loving dad. All around a truly good man with a tough road ahead.
Joulien Osko. When someone says that name, many things come to mind. His generosity and smile that he has on his face while taking his nephews to sporting events. All the compassion he's had for his family, and so much more. Joulien has defined what it means to be a caring and fun loving man on this earth. He has done so many things for not only his kids, but his nephews and nieces as well. He loves taking out his nieces and nephews with his own kids to the movies, as if it's just another day for him. Not to mention, the countless talks of the NBA and NFL arguments that were also stirred up. He loves life, but unfortunately his life has taken a hard hit. As of August 2011, Joulien was diagnosed with Stage 4 Rectal Cancer. It was very difficult for both him and his family, but with the support of his loved ones, he is able to keep fighting. Especially thanks to his wife, who is a constant reminder to keep fighting. Joulien underwent many surgeries. I can still remember the day he was not able to breathe properly, and as I looked into his eyes I got real emotional. He's the type of person that doesn't want anyone to worry. I thought maybe it was anxiety or a panic attack, but instead the cancer had traveled to his lungs. We knew it wasn't going to be good. Meanwhile, my brother Joulien has been going through treatment where doctors told us the only thing we can do is chemo and radiation. However, the fighter keeps fighting. He goes every other week for chemotherapy. Joulien had to quit his job that he loved as an accountant to begin to build more memories with his children and family. This year my brother turned 50, and we pray to God that he gives my brother the strength to keep fighting and enjoy what he loves most - Life.
- Mireille Osko Wehbe (sister of Joulien)
*In January 2018, CMF changed their guidelines to specifically help mothers battling cancer.
My name is Anne Felice. I live with my husband, Leo and our 15 year old daughter, Nikki. Our 10 year old niece, Ariel, regularly visits with us throughout the year, and is considered another member of our family. In September, Leo and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. My family is my joy and my life, and I thank the Lord every day for time spent with them.
My journey with cancer, or as my hematologist calls it, “my condition” began in 2015. That year, I began to feel pain, numbness and tingling in both arms and hands. My Primary Care Physician (PCP) referred me to a neurologist at RI Hospital who diagnosed me as having both carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome. Over the next 2 years, I had 3 double surgeries to correct this problem. Despite these surgeries, I continued to experience pain and numbness which not only included my hands, but now my feet and isolated patches elsewhere on my body. I was then diagnosed with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. In April, 2015, I was also diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and was referred to the RI Blood and Cancer Institute. This disorder, known as IgM MGUS for short, usually causes no problems but can cause peripheral neuropathy. And, one of the more serious drawbacks of having it is that it can eventually turn to cancer. However, my doctors informed me this was highly unlikely and if by chance it did occur, it usually takes several years to manifest itself. This left me with high hopes and minimal worry, and I only had to have routine visits and bloodwork performed every 3-6 months.
Over the course of 2016-2017, my symptoms and numbers began to increase, and on April 21, 2017 a bone marrow biopsy revealed Stage 4 Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma (LPL).This diagnosis came as quite a shock because it was not supposed to happen, at least not that quickly (Almost 2 years to the initial date of my IgM MGUS diagnosis). Moreover, it is a rareform of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that is primarily diagnosed in elderly males.
On a positive note, LPL is an indolent form of cancer. But, there are no guarantees, and I soon had to face reality and tell my husband and daughter the results of the biopsy. The news hit quite hard at home. And, telling my daughter was perhaps the most difficult, gut wrenching thing I ever had to do. After all, she is only a teenager. How scary it must have been for her to hear that her Mom has cancer! I never want to cause her such sadness again. Ever!
My next scheduled appointment regarding cancer treatment options was interrupted by yet another devastating event in my life. On May 27, 2017, my daughter and I were involved in a horrific motor vehicle accident, likely caused by my medical condition. Fortunately, Nikki did not suffer any major injuries. I on the other hand, was faced with one serious open fractured ankle requiring two surgeries and one closed ankle fracture requiring one surgery, two fractured vertebrae, rib and soft tissue damage. I have been in rehab for two months and am scheduled to go home in August. I will continue to receive therapy for my injuries for months to come. Given my current circumstances, my doctors have postponed direct treatment for my lymphoma in order to allow time for me to recuperate fully before any chemo or other therapies can be started.
So, that is the gist of it all, my story; yet, the beginning of things to come. Who knows what the future holds for me and my family. I only know that in this short period of time, this disease and all that goes along with it, has already changed my outlook on life. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I’ve become more patient. I tell my family I love them every day. I laugh more often. And, I just enjoy the world around me that much more. I can honestly say with 100% surety, I will fight this disease with everything I have. I have a strong support system; family and friends that will do anything for me. I will remain positive for myself and for them. They are my strength and my motivation. And, I thank God I have them in my life!