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A personal motive for Man of the Year

Last Modified: 2/20/2020

This post features a letter written by Scott Gabriel, MBA, FACHE, president, Parkview Whitley Hospital and Parkview Warsaw.

I would like to announce my candidacy for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Man of the Year campaign.  I do this with very mixed emotions. I am proud to support such a wonderful cause and hope to raise as much as possible to assist in the amazing work of LLS. It is challenging for me because this hits too close to home for me and my family. 

Our story begins three years ago on Labor Day weekend 2016. Our then 7-year-old son Anthony (2019 Boy of the Year) had not been feeling well for a couple of months. He was run down and seemed to complain a lot about stomach aches. Most of Anthony’s symptoms would come and go, so it was easy to write off as typical kid stuff.  He was never a big eater, especially around foods he didn’t like. Anthony started to lose weight we became increasingly concerned and visited his pediatrician again. He ordered blood work and discovered he was anemic. Anthony was prescribed an iron supplement and asked to return in 30 days. The next day the pain quickly increased and we were concerned his pain was more significant. On Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, we visited Parkview Whitley ER and were told his pain source was most likely Lymphoma – our life changed forever. By Monday we were admitted to Riley Hospital for further tests to confirm what Anthony, and us were battling.  We were quickly thrown into a whirlwind of surgeries and treatments. We spent the better part of the next six months in Riley receiving the blessings and the curses of the current treatment protocol. Our son was now a cancer fighting warrior, no longer an innocent seven-year-old boy.

Now three years later our son for the most part is a healthy and active 10-year-old. We worry a little less every day, but it never completely leaves. No stomach ache or illness ever comes and goes with-out a “what if” worry. Beyond the worry of relapse is the constant worry of side-effects, both for today and his future. Somedays, when we have issues we wonder if they are from the chemotherapies or part of what would be our normal 10 years’ old life. We are blessed to be so lucky to have our child with us, but wish it didn’t come with and asterisk. This is why we have become such strong supporters of LLS. 

Our focus is not only in the crusade for the elimination of blood cancers but improving the treatments for our blood cancer warriors of all ages. In 2017 LLS funded 15 of the 18 FDA approved treatments. Blood cancer research leads to treatment advances for other cancers and serious diseases. Since the 1950’s survival rates have improved by 2 to 3 times, however this comes at a cost. Many of the survivors will have a lifetime of side-effects and worries. The binder we were given is too long to include. We cannot risk complacency in our acceptance of the current therapies, which can have favorable survival rates, with potential toxic long term costs to the warrior. We owe are past, present and future warriors better, less toxic therapies blazing new pathways to a cure. Currently LLS has three pillars in their mission: Research, Access, and Advocacy and it is only by supporting all three that we are successful.

It is now time for me to ask for your support (as ABBA sang MONEY, MONEY, MONEY). This is not just for me, not just for Anthony, but everyone touched by blood cancers and the ongoing issues blood cancers present. The money we raise supports both research for a cure, but also much needed new therapies for treatment. Every three minutes someone new is diagnosed with a blood cancer and currently 1.2 million people are living with or in remission from a blood cancer. Please join me and my family as we support a cause that will forever be a part of our life.

Thank you,
Scott Gabriel
 

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Learn more about how you can support Scott by visiting his fundraising page.

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