My name is Kevin Herring. I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia five days after my 23rd birthday and was originally given a thirty percent chance of survival. This news was devastating and I had to find a way to understand what was happening to me and why.
I was a college student one semester away from graduation when they told me that I was going to San Francisco and there I would spend the next year of my life. I was angry. I had been looking forward to graduation and a great summer with my friends but this would not be my fate. I then realized that there comes a point in which cancer patients must decide how they are going to cope with their disease. Some choose to talk about it and express their feelings, but anyone that has ever met me knows that's not me; some decide to try meditation or relaxation techniques, but again, not me. Instead I chose to take my diagnoses as a challenge and my challenge was to prove that I was good enough, strong enough and had the perseverance needed to deserve a life - but I knew I couldn't do it alone.
I went through months of chemotherapy and total body radiation including numerous spinal taps, bone marrow biopsies and eventually a bone marrow transplant. I held hope and faith that this would make me stronger and would mold me into someone that, if chosen to survive, would be better than I ever was. It's amazing what you can learn when you are stretched to your absolute extremes both mentally and physically. You learn the importance of family and love. You learn that people who have never met you will reach out their hand and ask "How can we help?" Lazarex Cancer Foundation was there for me, in an e-mail they sent me they said, "That source is what makes one brave, fosters perseverance and renews faith." My source in rehabilitation was Lazarex Cancer Foundation. They gave me the financial resources to have a home where I could recover and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. My fight is not over but I am comforted in the notion that when there is good to be done good people are there to help.
I would like to thank those in the National Marrow Donor Program: the UCSF staff, especially Dr. Andreadis and Lindsay; the foundation of my support, my Mother, and Lazarex. All of them have given me and others like me the ultimate gift, a chance to fight! Lazarex Cancer Foundation cannot help those like me without your support. I trust that there is good and strength in all of us and my challenge to you is to help support life however you can. I wish all of you the best that life can bring.
Update June 2014
Thanks to the great doctors, and the support of Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Kevin went through a bone marrow transplant at the age of 23.
After he picked himself up from the destruction of treatment and cancer he finished college and went back to work in his home town of Reno. Six months ago he was promoted with a move to Elko, Nevada. He has moved on with his life.
Lazarex reached out! We love you Lazarex, and the people who financially make this happen! Kevin is back doing things that 27 year old men should be doing. Here he’s having fun with his friends on New Year’s Eve 2014. Kevin is my son the Cowboy.
Feeling thankful and blessed, - Laurie Herring (Kevin’s Mom)
Update October 2017
Seven (ish) years after treatment Kevin is cancer free and engaged.
From his Mom Laurie, “All a mother ever wants for her adult son is a woman who loves him like he deserves. I think this photo says it all. He couldn't have picked a sweeter girl. Wedding date announcement coming soon.”