Finding a positive attitude when you’ve been diagnosed with a blood cancer can be difficult, but in the long run, we know that maintaining a positive attitude can make a difference in how we feel and how we live every day. What’s inspired families The Rob Branham Foundation has worked with? Hear what they have to say....
“I told myself to keep hoping and to have faith, and most importantly, keep a positive attitude about things...tell yourself you will make it through. Also, be compliant and informed about your care.”
“I will keep fighting to live for my husband and children.”
“In my case I live on a houseboat so because of the fact that both times I was diagnosed stage 4 the only thing outside my family keeping me motivated was to watch the water with ships and other boats, knowing some day I would be back out sailing.”
“I have a beautiful daughter who was my inspiration to get better.”
What inspires you to fight your blood cancer or provide support for a friend or family member who’s in the fight?
For one Darien, CT family, the diagnosis of multiple myeloma doesn’t lead them to thinking about ‘What ifs….;’ they think, instead, of ‘What can we do about it?’
When JP Kealy was diagnosed in 2014, he and his wife Annemarie didn’t even know what the disease was. After treatment that got his disease under control, they became involved with Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma, a program through the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, that raises funds for research, promotes awareness of the disease, and provides hope for patients through their participation in challenging hiking trips around the world.
Read about how their experiences have inspired them to move mountains to work for a cure.
Annamarie & JP Kealy
So many blood cancer patients get blindsided by the diagnosis, and feel helpless to deal with all the emotions and changes it brings. Staying positive can be hard, but good advice comes from teenager Kimberly Peacock after her 2-year battle with leukemia: “I’d probably tell them just to keep your focus forward and have confidence in yourself and everything will play out. You just kind of have to stick with it. It feels like you have no control, but you do have control over how you react to things and I think that’s a big part of it."
Read Kimberly’s inspiring story here.
Patients fighting blood cancer usually have one big goal - to get their cancer under control and beat the disease. Brian Smith of Bremerton, NY had another big goal on November 3rd of this year - to run and complete the New York City marathon….a 26-mile run through all 5 boroughs. Brian was one of more than 65 athletes running as part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Team for Cures, raising money for cancer research.
Read why running as part of this team is an inspiration to Brian. Local cancer patient to run in NYC Marathon
Fighting a blood cancer takes courage and determination. Winning the battle often inspires the patient to help others who face similar battles. Meet Fabian Bolin, a leukemia survivor, who’s determined to use social media to help improve support for, and the mental health of, those impacted by cancer.
At the age of 28, my career was skyrocketing but I always knew working at that pace would come at a price.
I was living in London at the time and had planned to return to Sweden for a few weeks to visit family and friends during the summer, so I ignored my body's complaints. In the days leading up to my departure to Sweden, my physical condition drastically deteriorated. I was sweating uncontrollably and my thigh lymph nodes were aching. Suspecting a serious bout of the flu I attributed the pain to my body telling me I was overdoing it.
Once in Sweden, the pain crept up to my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. I knew something was wrong – I had to get myself to the hospital. After a large number of tests, I was informed that I had leukaemia. My world fell apart.
I felt so utterly sad and confused. How unfair that I should have to go through this hell of a treatment, after fighting so hard to reach this stage in life and be on the cusp of fulfilling my acting dreams.
I decided after my first ever chemotherapy session that although there was a risk I might not survive, I was not going to give up on living the life I loved so much. I decided that I wanted to share my story and my fight. That I would write about the treatment, take photos and videos (yes, I would go bald), and share how I felt. Hopefully, I could inspire some people and help others in similar situations.
Little did I know what epic journey this would take me on.
The message I wrote of my diagnosis was shared over 12,000 times on Facebook and led to over 100,000 messages, e-mails and letters of support. My blog and my story continued to be read by thousands. I recognised the power and potential of storytelling, and combining it with a strong urge to empower others affected – the idea of WarOnCancer was born.
Fast-forward to 2019 and my life has completely changed. I am no longer that party boy pursuing a career in acting. Instead I am cancer-free, humbled and living a life where I can help enrich and support those who are affected by cancer.
I am now the CEO of WarOnCancer We’ve just launched the WarOnCancer app, it’s a social networking app for patients, survivors and loved ones – a niche community for cancer. Read my next blog to find out more about the WarOnCancer app.
Fall is a wonderful time of year, bringing the excitement of the upcoming holidays, special times with family and friends, and celebrations. But for families fighting blood cancers, the patient’s treatment, and the stress the family faces, can drain the excitement from the holiday season. This is a time when kindness of others, as explained in this article in the Journal of Oncology Practice, can play a major role in cancer care. What acts of kindness can YOU do for a family fighting blood cancer?
Raise A Paw 2019 is presented by Northwest Community Bank
The dog days of summer will be behind us, but Raise a Paw Against Leukemia will be the event of the fall for dogs and their people. iHeart Media will again be
running pre-event commercials and be at the event!
Location: Simsbury Meadows, 22 Iron Horse Blvd., Simsbury, CT
Date: Sunday, October 6, 2019; 10 AM - 2 PM
Cost: $5 (children 12 and under, free) to benefit families fighting leukemia and other blood cancers in Connecticut
Raise a Paw 2019 will include several exciting and fun features:
● Vendor Fair
● Dog Walk and Fun Agility Course for dogs and their owners
● Pet Pictures
● Pet Art
● Food Trucks
● And More!
Raise a Paw is not only a great event for people, their dogs, and businesses; it’s
also a fundraising event for The Rob Branham Foundation, a CT charity that
provides financial assistance to CT families fighting leukemia and other blood
cancers. Over the past decade, this critical support for families has helped them
pay their mortgage or rent, utility and insurance bills, and provide groceries for
their families as they deal with the daily stresses of a potentially fatal disease.
Help us ‘Raise a Paw’ against leukemia and other blood cancers - hope to see you and your dog there!
A variety of sponsorship levels are available including advertising in the event program guide.
Booth Space available – $50 for businesses and $25 for nonprofits!
Questions? Contact Carol Reilly at firstname.lastname@example.org
As president of The Rob Branham Foundation, I’ve worked with a lot of families fighting blood cancer, and one thing that really has struck me is their reluctance to ask for help. They don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I get it… we all like to be independent and handle the challenges life throws at us. But friends and colleagues like to help, so we’d like to share some simple things you can do to support a patient in little ways that can make a big difference. Take a look at our suggestions for patient support…. and let us know other ways to help!
Many of us probably know one of the estimated 1.4 million people in the US who is living with, or in remission from a blood cancer, or one of the approximately 176,000 people who will be diagnosed with a blood cancer this year. Those of us who have lived this story already know how difficult it can be, and how important support from family, friends, and co-workers is. But where can you turn to for support, or how can you support someone battling a blood cancer?
Some of the answers to those questions are what has led us at The Rob Branham Foundation to begin our new feature - Blood Cancer Connections. Through posts, we aim to help people connect to support through a variety of different avenues, whether you’re a patient, family member, or friend needing support, or you’re looking to give support to someone.
He was like a bolt of lightning surrounded by a ray of sunlight. His infectious grin, twinkling eyes and warm personality were magnetic. Filled with endless energy, his friends lovingly called him “Mr. Positive.” Once you met him...you could never forget him.
Rob was raised in Stamford, and lived the last 17 years of his life in Simsbury. He was an avid runner and water skier, loved music, and collected antique radios and televisions. He began his broadcasting career in high school, and worked at leading radio and television stations throughout Connecticut. Rob’s honesty and integrity built him a reputation as a hard-working, well-respected salesman.
He proudly worked for 10 years as a volunteer reader for the blind on the Connecticut Radio Information System (CRIS). He also participated in various fundraisers sponsored by Fidelco, the Advertising Club of CT, and the Leukemia Society.
Rob’s international search for a non-related marrow donor sparked great interest in and compassion for other people stricken with leukemia who were not as fortunate to find donors. He made a pledge to himself that, after his recovery, he would actively work to recruit potential bone marrow donors, especially for minority populations.
Rob was diagnosed with leukemia in January 1992. After a year and a half search for a non-related donor, Rob underwent a bone marrow transplant at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The transplant was successful, and on September 3, 1993, Rob went home to begin his recovery. During this time, unexpected complications arose, which eventually claimed Rob’s life on October 12, 1993, at the young age of 43.