Children’s Cancer Fundraiser. Please share and RT.

My friend Jennifer Lyman is going to shave her head and donate her hair to locks of love.  She is trying to raise $2000 for the cause and that money will be donated to St. Balrdicks.  We here at Team Hellions fully support Jen.  I’ve known her for years and always thought of her as a strong amazing woman.

Consider donating just a few dollars to this cause.  Its just a cup of coffee that you have to go without, but think of the joy that can come from it.  You can sponsor Jennifer at this link:

Let’s have Jen tell you all why she is doing this in her own words.


MY MOM’S STORY — When I was 9-years-old I was diagnosed at first with what was thought to be mumps, a common childhood disease at that time. After the swelling didn’t go down for a couple of weeks further testing was done showing I did not have the mumps, but was then diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer. I was immediately taken to Roswell Park Memorial Hospital in Buffalo, New York, a hospital that deals with mostly cancer and rare disease. While there I underwent extensive testing immediately and then taken into surgery where the cancer was removed. This had spread in just a few weeks from my lower salivary gland on the left side of my jaw line to inside my cheek and the lymph nodes in my neck. It did not look good and my parents were to get ready for the worse as this cancer had a 1 in 500 survival rate and even then it would be even less for ever living further than a few years after removal and treatment.

For those of you who do not understand, this was hell on my parents and the years to follow on me. Nobody ever told me what I had, just that I had to have these treatments of chemotherapy (which consisted of a bolus injection into a vein weekly and every 2 months every day for a week) and radiation once or twice weekly in Buffalo, New York, at Roswell Park Memorial Hospital, 4 hours from my home. Not to mention weekly blood work to see how the blood cells were handling the chemo and radiation.

During the following year after my surgery I could not attend school and all of my schoolwork was given to my parents to have me do at home. We lived pretty much in Buffalo most of that year, me in the hospital and my mom in a rented room. Occasionally I could leave the hospital to go stay with her and shop. On the weekends mom and I would drive home and then return again the following Monday to start the same thing all over again.

After the year of chemotherapy and radiation was over I was allowed to return to school. My friends were great and treated me like I had never left even though I had a bandage on my cheek coving a hole in it from the removal of the cancer from my cheek and I looked a lot different in this respect. (Being that I was from a small town, everyone knew everyone, and everyone supported my mom and dad and our family.)

Life was a living hell for me from that point on and if you can’t imagine a young girl just about to reach puberty being “different” from the rest, and the pain and “torture” a person goes though, let alone a child, you are not a human being!!! How would you feel having someone stick a needle in your arm or wherever they could get a vein to give you medicine or take blood at least twice a week, let alone being away from your family, friends and leaving a normal life and looking normal to coming home feeling abused, tortured and looking deformed! I was never insecure or really cared about my looks though and did everything I used to do and if people didn’t like it that was too bad!

It wasn’t until I was 18 and read the chart myself while waiting for the doctor to come in that I found out what I had for a disease. I looked it up in a medical dictionary then and found out how seriously sick I was. The type of cancer I had was very rare and 1 out of 500 with it had a slight chance of living and the odds of living longer than 3 years after the surgery were even less. Needless to say I beat the odds and it has now been 41 years since my cancer with several reconstructive surgeries to the affected areas.

I think going through this made me a stronger and a better person, but at the time it was like I said above “a living hell!” The chemo and radiation and being sick from it occasionally, not seeing my friends or going to school, losing all my hear for almost 3 years afterwards (which was the worse thing for me I think and now NOBODY touches my hair!!!), scars from the surgery and chemo when just a drop of chemo landed onto my skin at the injection site literally burning it on contact, not being able to go in the sun for a year without a hat and being treated different throughout my life ever since!

There are still a ton of kids out there suffering from cancer and other childhood diseases, but unless you actually know or have someone you know going through something like this there are no words to describe how it is! Kids try to be strong cuz of they don’t want their parents to worry or be sad, so even in the deepest darkest moments you hide your true feelings and emotions and when you want to scream from pain or “torture” that is being shoved at you you just smile and say, “It’s okay, it doesn’t really hurt.” and let it go inside you to a dark hole and stay there forever never thinking about it again.

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