JOIN THE BATTLE. Beat Rare Cancers.
It is with extreme pleasure that I am leading a cycle for survival team for the second year in a row! Last year was an absolutely amazing event where we had an enormous turn out from friends, family, and co-workers. This year we aim to do it even better.
For those of you who missed it last year, you can see a quick clip of my speech answering the question “why do I ride?” and get fired up about the cause like I am!
As many of you know at this point, January 2014 will go down as one of the most overwhelming, upsetting, worrisome, and stressful times in each member of my family's life, but little did we know that it would also be the start of something that would change our lives forever and for the better. On January 9, 2014 our father received a bone marrow transplant as a result of being diagnosed with MDS, a cancer of the blood, in the Fall of 2013. We cannot even begin to tell you the trying times that were the winter of 2014 as we stood by watching our father, one of the strongest, successful and powerful people we knew deteriorate, locked in isolation for months on end.
With humor, charisma and family support behind him, my father got through the bone marrow transfer and the grueling months afterwards where visits to the hospital and the ICU became a weekly occurrence. Never could I imagine someone with such a sense of humor during an awful time in his life. Faced with the gravest of circumstances my father was making jokes, sometimes to the dismay of nurses and doctors when he would play practical jokes on them…not something you do when messing around with life and death…but the staff at MSK loved him for it and became enthralled by my father, wanting to learn more about him and his family. By the end of his stay, my father had become best friends with doctors, the nurses, the administrators and even the janitorial staff. He had his personal janitor that would watch the Knick games with him every night, his nurses which he consistently tried to set one of us up with and by the end he had even acquired his own personal nun who at the young age of 91 came over to our house for thanksgiving this year…. We are Jewish if you did not know. But this just shows you the kind of man that he is…Friendly, hilarious, charismatic, and able to make light of even the most serious of situations.
Today, almost 4 years later I am proud to say my father is back in the game and living a healthy and active lifestyle. He has found a new meaning on life and has dedicated his time to giving back to MSK and the patients going through the same thing that he did not too long ago.
1 year after receiving a bone marrow transfer my father reached out to his donor to thank him for saving his life. Little did he know that one phone call would turn into my family adopting 5 new family members. Miguel Estrella is his name and I have never seen such an instant connection between two people than him and my father. Coming from two completely different backgrounds Miguel and my father became best friends. Miguel and his family now take routine trips up to New York for visits and Miguel awarded my father an enormous honor of pinning him upon becoming a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Please read the below article recently published about our father and Miguel.
To sum it up, we created this team because we are very fortunate for our father's recovery, for his new outlook on life, for the work of the doctors and nurses at MSK, and for the fact that our father quite literally cheated death. In our time visiting the hospital not every family was as fortunate as us. Further we are grateful to have a new family, created by cancer. One that would selflessly come to a complete stranger’s need in the grimmest of circumstance…They say cancer is a gift and in a lot of ways it really is. That why we ride...We encourage you to donate to our page and come by after the event to celebrate with our friends and family at a bar we have yet to choose...details to come.
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