leukemia happens. #LynchStrong

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.

chris lynch, age 24.
chris lynch, age 24.

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!

more friends of chris!
friends of chris
nina (the God mother) and her husband
nina (the Godmother) and her husband
friend annie o'rielly
friend annie o’rielly
the giles family
the giles family
chris's older brother, michael.
chris’s older brother, michael.
yep, we bought some too!
yep, we bought a couple too!

*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.

ho ho ho: the movie edition.

Allo my lovelies! Right now I wish I was home, watching some Hugh Grant infested British holiday movie. Actually, any holiday movie works for me, but I thought it would be fun to share my personal favorites!  Since I am a romantic mush, and could go on for pages, I will keep it to 10.

Side note: Most people will give you the classics like, “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “White Christmas,” but I am nothing, if not honest.  I’d like to love those movies as much as some, but I just don’t.  Don’t judge- I know some of you watch the WHOLE “A Christmas Story” marathon! And that is nothing to brag about! 

1. The Holiday.  I just love this one. I don’t know if it’s the traveling, the cast or the music, but it all just works- kismet.  The writing on this one amazes me, and the characters are so relate-able to every woman who has gone through a break-up and then got the pleasure of a healthy, loving new relationship. I could watch this movie during a snowstorm, every time. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you add it to the top of your list.

holidays are about falling in love, i certainly agree with my 2 year anniversary coming up on 12/23!
holidays are about falling in love. i certainly agree with my 2 year anniversary coming up on 12/23!

2. Love, Actually. Aside from a woman in my office who doesn’t watch movies, I don’t know a person who has seen this movie who doesn’t love it. It’s wonderful. So many fun story lines, so many truths, so much fun awkwardness. I feel like the truth and awkwardness makes this movie what it is. Love, actually is all around.  (watch) Cue Cards Scene, Andrew Lincoln

3. Bridget Jones Diary. I could watch Bridget every day. She’s wonderful in her imperfections.  A close friend of mine, Laura, and I have a deep relationship with this movie and will often quote lines, short of something else to say.  The usual “Ahh, Perpetua” is a favorite.  I think a common theme in my first three favorites is relate-ability.  Needless to say I love Bridget, just the way she is. Oh! And i just found this post from 2011 that Laura helped me construct about movie lines (some touching movies I mention here). 

4. Elf. Elf is silly and funny and lovely.

5. The Family Man. I love this movie. Nicholas Cage usually creeps me out, but in this one- he rocks it. Ever wonder what your life would have been like if you didn’t get on that plane, go to that school, make that move, etc? This paints a picture of “what if” that makes you think about what’s really important. There are some funny one-liners, but mostly this movie is full of great life lessons that I certainly appreciate. “I choose us.”

6. You’ve Got Mail. I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy (obviously). This is a light-hearted, funny, sweet, romantic, typical Hollywood movie that I love.  Funny, when this came out, the words “you’ve got mail” was so new! Now it’s archaic. Still, although the plot is predictable, its very enjoyable.

7. Just Friends. In the days before we realized that Ryan Reynolds had one movie personality (that probably mimics his own), this was unique.  I laugh a lot in this movie: from the creepiness of Chris Klein, to Anna Faris knocking it out of the park, per usual. Favorite scene is when Ryan’s character is looking for his ice skates and comes across his snow globe collection.  Next time you watch it, pay attention to that scene; it’s funny and subtle.

8. While You Were Sleeping. It’s hard to imagine Bill Pullman (well, for me anyways) as anything other than Loan Star, but he works the leading man in this flick. Sandra Bullock is great. I love her. It’s a feel good movie about family, which is something I will always appreciate.  They come in all shapes and sizes!

9. Home Alone (1 and 2). Self explanatory. I like that he knew who he was, had wit and the best advice ever. Favorite scene:

Bird Lady: The man I loved fell out of love with me. That broke my heart. When the chance to be loved came along again, I ran away from it. I stopped trusting people.

Kevin McCallister: No offense, but that seems like sort of a dumb thing to do.

Bird Lady: I was afraid of getting my heart broken again. Sometimes you can trust a person, and then, when things are down, they forget about you.

Kevin McCallister: Maybe they’re just too busy. Maybe they don’t forget about you, but they forget to remember you. People don’t mean to forget. My grandfather says if my head wasn’t screwed on, I’d leave it on the school bus.

Bird Lady: I’m just afraid if I do trust someone, I’ll get my heart broken.

Kevin McCallister: I understand. I had a nice pair of rollerblades. I was afraid to wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them outside. Only in my room a few times.

Bird Lady: A person’s heart and feelings are very different than skates.

Kevin McCallister: They’re kind of the same thing. If you won’t use your heart, who cares if it gets broken? If you just keep it to yourself, maybe it’ll be like my rollerblades. When you do decide to try it, it won’t be any good. You should take a chance. Got nothing to lose.

Bird Lady: Little truth in there somewhere.

Kevin McCallister: I think so. Your heart might still be broken, but it isn’t gone. If it was gone, you wouldn’t be so nice.

10. Babes in Toyland. This movie I watched a a child. My father loved Laurel and Hardy movies, and this is the one I remember most.  Barnaby scared the bejesus out of me, but Dee and Dum won in the end! I haven’t seen it in years, so I might seek it out this holiday season.

I’d love to know your favorites!  Merry Christmas!