November 13, 2011
Dear Mr. Jay Leno,
My name is Dylan and I am a patient of the LIVESTRONG Survivorship Clinic at Dell Children’s Medical Center. I felt that, after making the thank you video, I wasn’t able to fully convey how much I appreciate you coming down to Austin in support of the Superhero Kids Fund. I figured the best way to reveal my gratitude would be through a brief retelling of my story in order to show how your contribution will make an impact on myself as well as others who suffer from childhood diseases.
I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblasic leukemia on July 13, 2005, my father’s birthday of all days. From there I began my journey through the stages of treatment. During what was a three year treatment I was involved with a study drug which caused peripheral neuropathy in which I was unable to move for four months. I also developed pancreatitis associated with L-Asparaginase therapy which left me unable to eat for weeks. In 2007 I relapsed and had to go through two cord blood transplants, the first of which didn’t take. The transplant process lasted about four months in which I was kept within the 5200 bone marrow unit of Duke Children’s Hospital. As you can see the path to where I am now wasn’t easy but to be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing because of the knowledge and experience I was able to gain along the way and most of all the amazing people I had met and built bonds with.
The reason I was able to pull through my adversities was because I had the support of my friends and family. Each trial I faced was accompanied by someone who legitimately cared for my well-being. My mother was there every step of the way to comfort me, my father had gone through surgery in order to donate white blood cells as well as part of his bone marrow, and my grandmother flew cross country from California to North Carolina in order to stay with me in the hospital. This is but a minuscule portion of a list of family, doctors, nurses, patients, and friends who have helped me get to the point that I’m at now.
Although I’ve only been to three events with the Hungry Bunch, Camp Rocky Ridge, Six Flags, and a Halloween Party, I can say that the group has made a significant impact on its members. Having support, especially from those who have similar problems, I’ve found is one of the most important factors when going through childhood diseases. The Superhero Kids Fund supplies the support and allows the Hungry Bunch to provide the interaction needed to carry each other through adversity. So again, thank you Mr. Leno for sponsoring the inspiring Superhero Kids Fund that has changed the lives of many.