"In their Own Words"

How Cancer Has Affected Me and My Financial Situation:

Just a few days after Christmas, immediately before the beginning of a new year, I was blindsided with the news of my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma made a return visit.  As I eyed February as a celebratory milestone, three years of remission, I was ill-prepared for the news that I’d have to fight this again.

My internal dialogue simply couldn’t make sense of it.

Read more...

 

 

BrynnCollOn Friday, October 19, 2012, Brynn Levitsky's life took a drastic change in course. At 22 months old, she was running around, playing with her dog, swinging on her swing set and living life to the fullest. However, on that rainy Friday, Brynn was not acting like herself. A few weeks earlier her mom, Kara, noticed that she was unusually sleepy and running a low-grade fever. Her doctors attributed it to
teething, but when Brynn began refusing to walk, Kara called the doctor and insisted that she be seen for the second time that week. Thank God she made that call. Later that evening, Brynn was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

Brynn completed 4 intense rounds of chemotherapy and at the end of her treatment, tests showed she was in remission. She was to be monitored continuously for the next 5 years to make sure she stayed in remission.

Unfortunately, after 20 months of thriving as a healthy and happy 3 year old, Brynn relapsed in May 2014 and needed a bone marrow transplant in hopes of a cure. Brynn received her bone marrow transplant in August 2014 and then spent 1 year in isolation to recover. Brynn enjoyed playing at home with her mother and welcomed a baby sister in March 2015. She was healthy and could not wait to start
Kindergarten.

In August 2015, Brynn began kindergarten and loved being with her new friends. However, at a routine clinic visit in September 2015, her family received horrible news that Brynn had relapsed once again despite her being healthy, active, and happy.

In October 2015, Brynn began fighting this battle again for the 3rd time and this time she will win. She is responding well to treatment and had a terrific Christmas, filled with family, Santa, and presents! Brynn's courage, strength, and happiness continues to be contagious throughout this journey

 


2015victoria2 Baby Victoria was Diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma just one month after her first birthday. She was diagnosed shortly after Mom and Dad discovered a strange bump on her leg. Victoria has been receiving Chemotherapy once a week ever since she was diagnosed, she went through 6 weeks of radiation therapy as well. Victoria has a very unique journey, she's responded to her treatment very differently than other children. The chemotherapy Victoria is receiving causes her to get high fevers which rise so quickly they have caused febrile seizures in the past. But through all the pain and suffering Victoria always remains happy and energetic. She keeps her family positive and as strong as her. 

"I can't tell you how much the financial help has meant to us, we've been able to catch up on all the bills which is such a huge relief and take care of some things that have been waiting - like glasses for Emily and I. It also enabled us to send the girls each to a special camp, Moira went to an oncology camp in Kentucky for a week which she had been looking forward to since her child life worker at Yale told her about when she first started treatment. She had an amazing time - swimming, horseback riding, and lots of new friends! Emily went to a camp especially for teen siblings in Montana that was recommended by Moira's oncologist at Yale. It was the best thing that has happened for Em since Moira got sick. Beyond being an incredible adventure to get to fly out to Montana by herself she was finally able to talk about what she went through with people who really understood. I think all of the volunteers and counselors either had siblings who had had cancer or were survivors themselves. They facilitated 'cabin talk' which is kid friendly language for group therapy. As a bonus they also had a ton of fun! While the camps were no cost to families we wouldn't have been able to get them there and back without the help of the Sports Foundation."      

-- Erin

 

2014moira

Moira at the 2014 Celebrity Dinner 


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Livinia’s journey with cancer began in January of 2013 when she was only two years old. After a trip to the emergency room with a swollen abdomen, Livinia was immediately rushed to Yale New Haven Hospital to meet with a team of oncologists. Within forty- eight hours of being admitted into the hospital, Livinia underwent an eight hour surgery to remove her left kidney and the cancer that had spread from her kidney to surrounding nodes and her vena cava. During this surgery they also implanted a portacath on the left side of her chest, near her heart, which would be used to administer chemotherapy. After time in the intensive care unit and in recovery in the pediatric oncology unit, Livinia was diagnosed with a stage three Wilms tumor with the more aggressive, diffuse anaplastic histology. With only about five- hundred cases a year in the United States, Wilms is a very rare childhood kidney cancer, but has a very good prognosis with treatment. Following a short recovery period after surgery, Livinia began eleven consecutive cycles of radiation and a projected nine months of chemotherapy.

Livinia is currently twelve months in remission and she goes in for routine checkups at Yale New Haven Hospital. She is carefully monitored and has blood work that is regularly screened by her team of Oncologists and she receives fully sedated MRI and CT scans every four months. Livinia attends pre- school and spends her free time playing with her friends at the local beaches, parks and libraries. She enjoys her weekly swimming lessons at the YMCA and she adores spending time with animals at local farms. She likes to play dress up, dance and sing songs. She also enjoys getting dirty and catching frogs while hiking out at Chatfield Hollow. She loves her friends at the CT Sports Foundation and visits them on a regular basis.


 

Gratitude

 

I cannot thank you and the Foundation enough for your most generous grant of $500.00 . It is truly a Godsend at this difficult period in our lives. Having to give up my work and the extra expense of this illness has out us in a difficult financial position. Please be assured this money has been used to help pay our utility and mortgage bills. Luckily, the heating season is coming to a close, so we will get some relief for a while.

God bless you and the Foundation in your lives and your great cause. Thank you for us and all the families you help so much,

Sincerely,
Esther M.

 

The healing truly begins at the end of treatment.  The need for continued support and for the extra time to slowly walk out of the darkness back into the light is perhaps the most forgotten part of overcoming cancer.  As we begin the crawl back into a reality that will never look or feel the same again – you have given us hope for better days ahead.

I thank you for giving us your support and for understanding that our need goes beyond paying bills.  You have given me time with my beautiful child. You have given me the gift of her smiles and laughter with ice cream, lunch, movies and her new friends at pre-school. You have given us the opportunity to seek refuge away from all of the noise in the world.

You have given me the gift of allowing time to pass- so I can just be in the joy with my survivor wherever the winds carry us.  You have given us the chance to seek healing so we may find ourselves and each other again. You have given us a foundation to build upon – our new life.

We offer you our love and endless gratitude.  May you always find peace and joy – for it is what you have given to us.

In loving gratitude,

Brittney & Livinia

 

Dear Connecticut Sports Foundation Staff:

I am writing to you today on behalf of my patient Ms. B.  I would like to take this time to personally thank you for the help you offered to Ms. B in her time of need.  As you know, she has missed substantial unpaid time from work, and it is anticipated that it will continue for some time.  In addition, her husband is on disability, and they are facing significant financial hardship.

I wish to thank you for the money that was awarded to her, as it has helped them to focus on what is really in the forefront at this time: her recovery and continued fight against cancer.

It is such an asset to have your foundation in the state of Connecticut, helping those that are in the greatest need. I am grateful that I can put a smile on my patient’s face when I tell them that they have been awarded a grant to assist them. I thank the Connecticut Sports Foundation for having a hand in bringing that joy to them.

With warm regards and thanks,

Julianne Artman, MHA, RN

Oncology Nurse Navigator, Danbury Hospital/Praxair Cancer Center

 

I am so thankful!  I have never received such help out of the blue as I have from the Connecticut Sports Foundation.  This year has been life changing for me and my family in the deepest sense.  Unexpected cancer has greatly limited me for a while.  Being the only one who was able to work, take care of my elderly mom and being a single mom to a 5 year old, the strain, and gnawing worry over essentials such as food, hot water and electricity is alleviated for a while.  The financial situation, bad timing and the compounding of financial/health problems has been overwhelming.  The social services available today are stretched to the limit and there is not enough to cover anyone’s basic needs when something strikes a family down.  You cannot imagine what good your gift has brought my family!  Due to the help from the generous people at the Connecticut Sports Foundation the financial strain has been relieved and I can now focus more on my recovering from cancer.

This generous gift from the Connecticut Sports Foundation is such an affirmation of goodness.  I can see the power of like-minded people grouping together towards a cause, filling a huge gap for families in temporary crisis.  You gave me the funds to keep our basics going and to focus on more important things.  The quick response, lack of red tape and simple old fashioned trust in people from the Connecticut Sports Foundation is heartwarming and inspiring in today’s world.

Thank you for the grace, dignity, hope and survival you have given to me and my family.  Thank you to all involved with the Connecticut Sports Foundation, from the bottom of my heart.

Thank You, Bless You.

RH