December 26th, my cousin (technically would be my second-cousin, but I say simply “cousin” because we are close in age) was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. They told him he had the flu or a virus…a couple moments later he was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess, in Boston, to immediately start chemotherapy. Can you imagine being a recent graduate of college, just starting your life, and then being told you have cancer? I can’t even imagine, but I know I would not be half as strong as he is. It’s amazing how strong he is, and how much support he has through this difficult time. By the way, his name is Chris.
When visiting the family (my mom’s side) in Milton, MA recently, I learned that Chris went 36 days without fresh air during his first hospital stint. 36 days without being able to open the window, go outside, feel the breeze, etc. Just listening to the process, timeline and everything he has had to go through to date (he starts yet ANOTHER (4th) round of chemo tomorrow) has put many things into perspective. If he has a fever, they admit him for a whole week. Even if the temp goes down, while in the office, in those first few moments of the doctor visit: one week admitted. No questions about it- you have a fever, you have a new address and hospital food for a whole week. He next has a bone marrow transplant to power through (hospital visit length: 2 months), and then hopefully it will all be done.
Little aside: Because this happened right during the holidays, Chris was unable to really celebrate. He was very sick Christmas Day and in the hospital directly following. Anyway, when I walked into their house last weekend, I noticed the Christmas tree was still up. Apparently, they are keeping it up until this is all over. All I know is there are many people who cannot wait for that tree to come down.
Anyway, I am trying to raise some money for his family. There are like 8 of them who visit the hospital daily. Parking costs, at $10-$15 a pop, food, and other incidentals have been adding up. Although they have amazing insurance, Chris is unable to work and the others are constantly taking time off work to be with him. It adds up. I created one of those fundraising pages to help: #LynchStrong. I made it a hash-tagged name so that people can share it easily (hint hint, if you are reading this, SHARE IT!). His parents set up The Friends of Chris Lynch Facebook page for updates. Check them out, if you have a moment. Also, a friend of the family, and Chris’s Godmother (Nina), has been selling “We are Lynch Strong” t shirts to raise money. I thought I would share some pictures of his friends wearing them: (let me know if you’d like one!)
Hopefully, the end of this nightmare will be soon and we can all relax on a beach somewhere. I’ll bring the margaritas, and no Christmas trees allowed!
*UPDATE 10/22/2014.* A few weeks ago, Chris developed a lung infection, following a complete remission from the AML. The doctors had him medically sedated, so his body could fight the infection. While sedated, he developed blood poisoning. Not really much more you could do to his young, fighting body.
The eery part of it all is he held on though the weekend to see his brother, Connor, who is in college in NY. He also held on through Sunday, which was the benefit 5k #ALLinforChris, that many of his friends and family worked their tail off to put together. Following the race and benefit, his family was called to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to say good-bye. From what his family said, the ICU nurses went above and beyond to make Chris comfortable. They even removed all the tubes, machines and band-aids- covering him in a blanket.
Chris passed away Monday, October 20th at 1:10am, with his family by his side.
Donations can be made to the family through this site: #LynchStrong Leukemia Fund.