The Newest Fighters
Ed Swayze, 70, a loving husband and father passed away from Stage IV Melanoma
on 1/9/17. It was only 16 days ago that Ed was admitted to the hospital
with a tumor in his groin. Because the prognosis with melanoma is so bleak,
the only options available were surgery or hospice. Ed opted for the surgery
and sadly, due to uncontrollable internal bleeding, the surgery was not
In the days after surgery Ed was intubated and unable to communicate with
Carole the urgency of their financial situation. Ed was in hospice for
only 1 day and passed away with his wife Carole by his side.
Ed and Carole began a new trucking business in 2015, they invested all
of their savings. Ed was working hard until the day he was admitted to
the hospital and could not have foreseen that he would never return home
again. His sudden death has left Carole in a severe emotional and financial hardship.
Ed was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life and didn’t
let age deter him. A veteran of the Vietnam war, long haul trucker (at
age 69 he had a fleet of 1 truck), retired Respiratory Therapist, animal
lover, loving husband, and father. Ed had a profound impact on many.
My daughter Madelyn was diagnosed with A.L. Leukemia at the age of 5 years
old. On October 20, my families life changed for ever with one six letter
word...CANCER! My husband, older daughter and I have watched our little
girl battle everyday to smile and stay positive. As a mother, it is the
most heart breaking moment when your daughter is in so much pain she cant
hold her head up or so sick she cant speak. Maddy has so much love and
support around her and I just know she will continue to beat cancer!
Dorothy's diagnosis: Until Sunday the 13th of July we thought she was
a normal little 2 + 1/2 year old. Happy and healthy, she has ALWAYS been.
How our lives changed when we found out that she now is in the fight of
her young life. It all started this way................. Sunday- a tiny
bit of blood showed up in her urine, then a visit to the ER, an ultrasound
(a mass was detected on her L-kidney ), in less than 1/2 hour we were
in an Ambulance for a 100 mile ride to her Hospital in Santa Barbara.
She was admitted immediately. Monday- tests and a CAT scan, which showed
the mass was a tumor, massive in size in her L-kidney and had also entered
the Ven-cava as well as residing in the R-Atrium of her heart. Tuesday-
a PET Scan was performed to look for cancer anywhere else in this little
Angels body. No cancer was seen elsewhere. The first breath we took for
nearly 2 days. Wednesday- was surgery for a biopsy of the kidney in order
to determine which cancer type is growing inside her. As well as the biopsy
being performed an IV-picc line for her treatments was put in place as
well as 2 temporary catheters. Thursday- more testing and cultures were
done as Dorothy's fever issue was addressed. Waiting on biopsy results.
Friday- Dorothy's cancer is identified as Stage 3 - Cancerous Wilms'
Tumor (nephroblastoma) and resides in her Left Kidney and 2/3 of the Right
Atrium of her heart. Chemotherapy was begun Friday and will continue for
at least 28 weeks.
"Thank you for being there when I needed you. Your genuine concern
and encouragement helped me get through a difficult time. After battling
prostate cancer for many years on my own, I thought I had finally won,
and then got diagnosed with bladder cancer. This disheartening news started
a whole new regimen of treatment starting with chemotherapy, and that
is when you told me about Fighters 4 Life, and brought me a handmade coverlet
to keep me cozy on the long days of chemotherapy for three months. You
also visited me, and even took me to my doctor appointments on several
occasions. When I awoke in the hospital after bladder removal surgery,
you were there with a broad smile. You don't know how much that meant
to me. That was two years ago, and another cancer operation (Kidney tumor)
later, and you have been there all that time, willing to see me through
the tough times, thank you."
Hello, my name is Chelsey. I am a 19 year old college student, studying
to become a veterinarian one day. I do pet care and small odd jobs to
pay the bills each month. This is my story; On November 21, 2011 I noticed
an abnormality around my left eye, thinking it was a simple eye infection
and not having medical insurance I want to urgent care where it was diagnosed
as an eye infection. The doctor proceeded to prescribe me antibiotic drops
and told me to use them for a week. I used them for a month and noticed
it wasn't getting better so as soon as my medical insurance kicked
in I went to see my doctor where she prescribed a stronger antibiotic.
After a week and no change she made a referral to an ophthalmologist.
The ophthalmologist scheduled a biopsy of the tissue around my left eye
on February 1, 2012. On February 8th, 2012 I was diagnosed with lymphoma
which is also known as Malt Lymphoma on the eye. That honestly was the
worst day of my life, thus far. I was out shopping with my mom when the
doctor called to give me the news. My dad, sister, and boyfriend came
with me to the consultation with the oncologist, where he told us about
the cancer and proceeded to schedule me for a bone marrow biopsy. I was
told on March 13, 2012 that the cancer is in both my eyes. My radiologist
decided to try an antibiotic that has been proven to work about 50% of
the time on this form of cancer. I complete the antibiotic on April 4,
2012. If it didn't do anything then when I see her again on May 10,
2012 we will discuss my other treatment options. I continue to stay strong
and positive. I ask for positive attitudes and prayers in my life. The
Fighters 4 Life Organization was introduced to me by a friend and has been wonderful with all the love
and support they have given to me and all of the other cancer warriors.
I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Fighters 4 Life
Organization and for all the donations received, you all are wonderful
people. I would also like to thank you for taking the time to learn my
story. God Bless You All!
You could spend a life time wondering why things happened the way the did,
or you can go out and make things happen the way you want them too. You
first have to stop and give respect to outside forces throughout your
life that will twist, turn and reshape not only the direction you think
you should be going in, but the very mindset it takes to get through them.Being
diagnosed with cancer, now twice in my life, has shaped and molded an
approach to life that is different then the way I felt before I was diagnosed.
I'm quite certain, I've taken things for granted, assumed I deserved
things in my life, and didn't do nearly as much as I do now to preserve,
respect and approach life like it could end tomorrow.The most imporatant
thing you can do as an individual in this world, is to offer something
productive back to it. We have a responsibility and we should feel honored
to do this. I feel honored to be alive and to have the opportunity to
help others in their fight...and the only way to truly embrace this is
to lead by example. I think of my son, my family, my friends and all those
who support me...and I owe them the respect of honoring their belief in
me as well as honoring the fact that I'm still here...that gives me
time to help others.Yes, I've been knocked down, knocked over, pushed
aside and have had to go the long way to get where I'm at right now...but
it's also those very things that have shaped me to be the man that
I am today. I'm a force. I'm strong. I believe in my heart, that
my time here on this earth isn't for excess, rather, experience. Finally...of
all the quotes I've read in my life about getting knocked down, or
finding hope in your life, or perserverence, dilligence and determination...the
one I like best is from the movie The Count of Monte Cristo. This is slightly
changed here, but it's a good one:
"Life is a storm. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered
on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm
comes. You must look into that storm and shout! Do your worst, for I will
I don’t know what I would have done without Jacky from Fighters 4
Life. There are moments in life when a bright light breaks through the
darkest and scariest of times. Jacky was that bright light. She gifted
me with her heart of compassion, a wealth of experience, extensive knowledge
and continuous support during my mom’s 8-month fight with cancer.
She lifted my soul and embraced my mom and family with invaluable help
navigating a foreign world. My mom lost her battle of cancer, but we won
irreplaceable moments and priceless memories in the process. Jacky helped
us fight for life. Life isn’t death. It’s the moments in between
that pierce the heart and soul with aliveness. Cancer doesn’t win.
It changes the game, but it doesn’t win. She was Fighter for Life.
Jacky fights for other people’s lives.