In the summer of 2007 Chad Hickey, then 23, embarked on what he thought would be a new adventure in paradise. After closing his business and packing up his life he flew to his new life in Hawaii. However the adventure was to be of a different course than he had planned. Shortly after arriving on the island he noticed his health declining. He experienced severe fatigue, lapse of energy and he found himself at times in virtual deep surf unable to move his arms. It was at this point that he sought more medical attention and after a few tests it was confirmed that he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He endured several rounds of chemotherapy in 2008, but in April of 2010 just 3 weeks before the completion of a 2.5 year treatment, Chad had a full relapse. This time chemotherapy alone would not be a viable option and Chad needed to move to San Francisco for an experimental regime at UCSF. He began the pretreatment and a search for a bone marrow donor. Over the next five weeks Chad and his fiancée Anna reunited and went through rigorous chemo while planning a wedding. Chad’s sister Erin was a match and a bone marrow transplant date was set.
While the fear and struggle was going on a financial issue was also looming. Chad had just finished paying off the first few years of medical bills and was now facing much, much more. Weeks of trying to find a place for he and Anna to stay while he was treated in San Francisco yielded few options. With debt growing and unable to find housing, Chad and Anna were connected with Lazarex through Tiffany with the UCSF Social Services. Lazarex was able to support them in finding and covering the expenses of having a place to stay in a city far from home. With this grant Chad and Anna were able to have a home away from home and just days prior to the transplant got married with a huge burden lifted. Chad put it best in his blog…
“…there are tears in this fight… tears of all kinds. For over three years now I have found myself at lows that offer little light at the end of the tunnel. I will say however in this time there have been hands outstretched that in no way can I ever thank. Imagine thinking you lost everything at 23 in Hawaii and then just days before the love of your life returns realizing you may lose more than you could imagine. To have a stranger, this Lazarex Cancer Foundation enable us to have a home and a space during the hardest fight of my life, well its something I couldn’t ever thank them enough for. Today I am grateful for these tears…. “
As of now Chad is six months out of transplant and dealing with the normal side effects. He and Anna are able to finally get some time alone while she is his in home nurse and support system. Despite the side effects and hardships that continue, they have found happiness in creating a life together through this adventure and are eternally grateful to Lazarex for enabling and facilitating a home environment.
Patients like this month’s VIP, Chad, are benefiting from support like this every day. Please help us by who you think would be interested in Lazarex.