Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Those for whom I run

While I'm running in memory of my godfather, Jim Meehan, and my cousin, Dr. Joseph Wiley, I'm also running for two young boys who are still alive and fighting their own battles with cancer here in Maryland.

Matthew Valenti was 2 years old when doctors determined that his severe anemia was a symptom of B-Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). Here's what Matt's dad has to say about his little guy:
Matthew spent almost a month at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The first week they gave him transfusions to get his blood count up and then he began the chemo treatments for the next couple of weeks. The chemo medicines hurt Matthew’s legs and joints and he couldn’t walk for a few weeks, but he hardly complained…he said, “Can you help me up this step? My legs feel a little wobbly”.

Oh, Matthew turned three years old on February 9th, 2007.

Matthew started the second phase of his treatment on April 23, 2007, which is called delayed induction (DI) and we hope he will be in long term maintenance by July of 2007. The DI is pretty difficult on everyone as Matthew won’t be able to leave the house except to go to the hospital until it is over.

When Matthew is stuck in the house, he loves to play with his older brothers, Jack and Zackary. They are a lot of fun and they really are a blessing with helping out, keeping Matthew in good spirits and occupied His brothers are very good lacrosse players and are teaching Matthew to play; he can cradle and shoot the ball already (he loves to score goals). Matthew’s most favorite things are his matchbox cars and playing with his Granddads.

I'm also running in honor of 19-year-old Justin Knight, who was also diagnosed with ALL at a young age. From age 6 to 9, Justin endured intense chemotherapy. Thankfully, Justin responded well to treatment, and recently celebrated 8 years of remission without chemotherapy in March.

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