Kerri Lydon, a Duxbury native, was a healthy, active mum enjoying her two young girls Finlay (3) and Willa (1). While breastfeeding her youngest daughter, Kerri experienced pain and noticed several lumps in her right breast. Knowing she had to wait six months after breastfeeding until she could have a mammogram she decided to stop breastfeeding.
Six months later, in May 2016, Kerri had a mammogram, followed by multiple exams, including a biopsy. A week later, Kerri and her family received the dreaded call from Dana Farber that she was diagnosed with unilateral breast cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) in her right breast. Kerri’s treatment plan would include a unilateral mastectomy followed by five months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation.
The mastectomy surgery was successful and a total of 15 cancer cells were removed. Kerri has finished the first round of aggressive chemotherapy but still has three months of another round followed by six weeks of daily radiation and the final reconstruction surgery scheduled for fall 2017.
Kerri, her husband Colin, and their daughters, currently reside in Pembroke. With the girls being so young with loads of energy it has been a challenge to say the least, but with the support of family, friends and the community, their family remains positive and thankful.
Bridget Kelley is an incredibly intelligent, hilarious, and caring seven-year-old child. She loves reading, music (the Beatles) and being creative. On September 27, 2016 Bridget was scheduled for a routine MRI to have a good look at the asymmetrical tonsils due to be removed in the coming weeks. Sadly, as a result of that and some additional testing, the news was broken to Bridget’s parents the following night that a tonsillectomy was no longer their biggest concern but that Bridget had T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, (T-ALL).
Immediately Bridget began a typical “induction” phase of treatment in the hospital enduring all the difficulties associated with childhood cancer including being away from her sisters Fiona (5) and Shannon (2), missing second grade, giving up all beloved activities and playdates, and battling the nausea from chemotherapy, mood swings from steroids, and hair loss. The fight was thought to be worth it as doctors anticipated Bridget would be in remission (roughly 95% of patients in her situation are) once treatment was completed. Unfortunately, after the end of the induction phase it was discovered that Bridget was among the 5% not to get into remission. The plan had drastically changed, and she would need to undergo a second induction phase of treatment as well as a stem-cell transplant.
Just before Christmas some good news was finally received. After the second treatment there was no leukemia showing, and Bridget was in remission! Additionally she was able to go home and spend Christmas with her family. On February 24 Bridget was readmitted to the hospital, where she received additional chemo and radiation prior to receiving a stem cell transplant on March 3 (her sister Shannon was the donor). She is expected to remain in the hospital for roughly 5 weeks following the transplant. For now The Kelley family continues to be eternally optimistic for a positive, setback-free outcome to her transplant and recovery and Bridget looks forward to the possibility of returning to school in early 2018.
Kevin Morrissey was three years old when he started experiencing frequent infections, extreme tiredness, and leg pain. After several visits to the pediatrician, Kevin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on January 23, 2015. He was admitted into Boston Children's Hospital that evening to start treatment and spent the next eight weeks there due to a severe fungal infection he developed that spread to his brain, liver, kidneys, and spleen. Kevin has been in and out of the hospital, including two ICU stays, and is dealing with several chronic issues as a result of treatment. He has endured bone marrow biopsies, countless spinal taps, numerous blood and platelet transfusions, three picc line surgeries, a g tube surgery, ng tube placements, a liver biopsy, a sinus biopsy, sedated MRIs every three months, a bone infection in his foot, several fractures in his feet and legs, osteoporosis, neuropathy, and avascular necrosis of his right foot. Kevin's protocol is 26 months of chemotherapy at Boston Children's Hospital and Dana Farber, he is scheduled to finish treatment in March of 2017. After treatment, Kevin will be left with many lifelong issues.
Kevin started Kindergarten this year and attends when he is feeling well, most weeks he is tutored at home. He loves playing with his four-year-old sister, Reese, and one-year-old brother, Dillon. Kevin enjoys sports, anything Star Wars related, and Legos.
The Morrissey family’s life was turned upside down when Kevin was diagnosed with cancer. It puts a huge burden on the family emotionally and financially. They are forever grateful for the support for their family during these challenging years.
In 2014, at the age of two, Harley Pierce came down with a series of high fevers, cough, and lethargy that continued for several days. It was around Valentine's day, a favorite of hers, she nicknamed "clementines day. " Harley’s mom, Jill, followed up on her symptoms, but the doctors did not find anything wrong with her, and they were sent home. As time went on and Harley did not improve, Jill could not shake the feeling that something was wrong and this wasn't ordinary little kid sickness.
Everything changed one night while Harley was sleeping. As her mom was checking on her, Harley opened her eyes and began coughing up blood. Jill called 911, and they went to the ER. Unfortunately, this time, they were not sent home. It was discovered that Harley's blood levels were dangerously low and she was transferred to Boston Children's Hospital for further tests and a blood transfusion. When the test results came back, the results were far from ordinary. Harley had B-cell Acute Lymphocytic (ALL), a form of childhood leukemia.
After Harley's diagnosis, she underwent a series of intensive chemo and steroid treatments that took a toll on her little body including the loss of her hair. At the end of the five weeks of treatments, the Pierces got the good news that the cancer was in remission and she could leave the hospital and continue cancer treatments through outpatient care. Harley's outpatient care continued for eight months with daily chemo for three out of the four weeks each month. In addition to the chemo, Harley received monthly blood transfusions due to the harsh effects of one of her medicines.
Fortunately, recently, Harley was able to stop taking the chemo treatment that was causing severe side effects and her weekly clinic visits are now once every three weeks. Even with this change in her treatment schedule she still has over a year of chemotherapy treatments ahead of her administered through visiting nurses. Harley also needs spinal infusions every nine weeks.
Money has always been tight for the Pierce family, but it was important that Jill stays home with Harley and her two older siblings so she can care for her daily needs. This decision has stretched finances even thinner since they are now living on a single income for a family of five.
It seems that expenses are always coming up for either medical bills or travel expenses to the hospital for treatments making the financial stresses even heavier.
Harley is now four, and her parents have faith that one day their little girl will be free of cancer and having to endure grueling chemo treatments and infusions. Their wish is for her to be a happy, healthy strong kid! She is an inspiration to her parents and everyone around them.
In 2006 Lindsay McGrath was experiencing some flashing in her right eye and was diagnosed with Choroidal Melanoma, a cancer that effects about 1,900 people in the US annually. It was treated and deemed "inactive" but she would have to receive annual liver ultrasounds to monitor for metastasis.
Fast forward 10 years after the birth of Lindsay’s third child and her annual liver ultrasound came back showing a 2 cm lesion on her liver. A biopsy confirmed it was stage IV metastatic melanoma. There was an attempt to resection her liver, but at the time of surgery, it was discovered that there were 10-15 other lesions that were not detectable by MRI or PET scans. After some research, Lindsay and her family decided the best route to treat the cancer was with radioembolization with a doctor out of Philadelphia who is one of the few doctors in the States that treat this type of metastasis. Lindsay will be beginning treatment in December 2015. Had this happened prior to 2011, Lindsay would have only a 10% chance of survival, but the breakthroughs in genome research has led to significant breakthroughs in immunotherapies that are increasing these chances.
Lindsay and her husband Jared and family currently reside in Duxbury. She is a mom to three children: five-year-old Piper, three-year-old Laney and Levi just four months old who keep her focused and give her the will to fight. Prior to her diagnosis, Lindsay worked as a part-time librarian in Hingham. Wicked Good Cause is honored to support Lindsay and her family as one of our 2016 Winter Ball recipients.
Connor Blaney, age 7, was experiencing trouble sleeping and loss of appetite in June 2015 when his parents took him to see his pediatrician. After initial testing which did not reveal much, Connor’s symptoms persisted and his pediatrician ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound indicated there were masses in both kidneys as well as on lymph nodes in the abdominal area. Connor was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms Tumor on July 3, 2015. On July 4th, he had a port-a-cath surgically implanted and chemotherapy began. Connor is entering his 19th week of chemotherapy and has responded very well to the treatment. He recently underwent a very complicated, but successful surgery in September, completed radiation therapy and is presently undergoing intensive chemotherapy. Fortunately, with the right treatment, Wilms tumor is highly treatable. Wilms tumor can occur at any age between infancy and age 15, but is most common in children age 5 or younger. Connor continues to amaze those around him with his strength and perseverance.
Connor is currently in the 2nd grade and is being tutored. He plans to return to school once he completes the treatment period in early 2016. Connor is a fan of all the Boston sports teams. His interests include playing soccer, legos, outdoor sports and playing with his friends and 2 year old brother, Tyler. Connor is the superhero behind “Team Connor”, a group of family, friends and community members that quickly embraced Connor and his family as they embarked on this journey. The Blaney Family is very grateful for the support of Team Connor and the amazing team of Medical Professionals at Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Wicked Good Cause is honored to support Connor and his family as one of our 2016 Winter Ball recipients.
Nicole Schindler was 10 years old when she started to get headaches. Her mother took her to the doctor in early March 2015 and within days she was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. She was admitted to Children's Hospital on March 4th where she had surgery to remove and biopsy her tumor, she was there for three weeks. The doctors gave her a 60% survival rate. She was then referred to Mass General Hospital for proton radiation and chemotherapy treatments that lasted for six weeks. She is currently on an aggressive chemo treatment that will last through December of 2015. Because of the treatment and the effect on her body, she is hospitalized for a week every month, this is in addition to her two weeks of outpatient chemo every month. She missed 74 days of her 5th grade year but with a tutor she was able to graduate and attend her 5th grade graduation ceremony. Her dad Gerry said that the whole school stood and clapped as she walked to the stage. She will continue to have a tutor into the next school year and hopes to be able to go back after her treatment ends.
Before her diagnosis Nicole was a dancer. She has a twin brother Gerald and a younger brother Brian who is 8 years old. Nicole and Gerald just turned 11 on August 3. Her family is staying positive and are focusing on the 60% chances that she was given. Wicked Good Cause is honored to support Nicole and her Family as one of our 2016 Winter Ball recipients.
Kris Okerfelt, “Mrs. O” to the students, is a long-time Duxbury resident who is an instructional assistant at Duxbury High School. She is one of the warmest, most caring individuals in the school. Since 1990, she has been a positive force in the school system. She is present every day within the classroom working with students with disabilities and further dedicates her own time by volunteering with Best Buddies, Girl Scouts, and Special Olympics, giving support to those who need it most. There are thousands of Duxbury students who have benefited from her patience, compassion, and teaching. She battled breast cancer in 2000 and did not miss one day of work in the 14 weeks she received treatment. She embodies what it means to be a dedicated educator and member of the community.
Kris' family has had a hard year. Her husband Robert, better known as “Okie”, is a commercial artist who was exposed to a lot of dangerous chemicals over his career. He has been diagnosed with the lung disease emphysema and needs a lung transplant. After becoming sick with a virus last winter, his health deteriorated so much that he is on oxygen full-time, and cannot drive or work. The medical bills are piling up and they are living off of her small salary. Kris works full time, takes on babysitting jobs, lunch duty and detention in order to supplement their income.
In addition, several months ago, Kris' youngest granddaughter was born with medical issues. Kris is attempting to balance caring for her husband, and being there for her daughter and granddaughter, who reside in North Carolina.
The holidays are approaching and the Okerfelt family needs our help. They have given so much to this community, we are so hopeful that our community can now in turn give to them in their hour of need.
Noah is a 5 year old boy who suffers with a Diffuse Vascular Lung Disease caused by a genetic mutation. They are studying his mutation at Brigham and Women's, and his case was presented at the American thoracic society conference in 2013. He has undergone two lung biopsies, multiple surgeries, diagnostic tests, and way too many hospital stays to count. He has a very rare lung disease, but it falls under the Children’s interstitial lung disease umbrella because it is a diffuse process and vascular in nature. He is dependent on supplemental oxygen 24/7 but despite the use of this, he still struggles with very low oxygen saturations with activity resulting in negative effects on his entire body. He is short of breath just talking which inhibits his ability to be a normal five-year-old. His illness also causes significant fatigue. Noah sleeps about 18 hours a day 12 hours overnight with a very long nap during the day. He is dependent on a feeding tube for nutrition and more recently in the past year nutrition called parental nutrition through a central line, also known as IV nutrition due to the development of complex GI issues. He is hooked up to tubes 24/7 and requires a lot of medications to improve his quality of life and treat symptoms. There is no cure or real treatment for Noah's condition aside from symptom management and he may require lung transplantation if his condition continues to worsen. His prognosis at this time is unknown.
Noah's main treatment is at Boston Children’s Hospital. However, hospitals around the Country have reviewed his case and lung pathology as it is so rare. We are very grateful to every person who is a part of Noah's very large care team. So many people advocate for Noah and try and help find answers and treatments for him. We have been blessed with amazing doctors, nurses, and a wonderful social worker at Children’s.
Noah is the happiest and most loving boy you will ever meet. He loves life, his family, and pretty much anyone he meets. Noah does not attend school at this time but has home school services through the local preschool. Noah loves Thomas the Train, Sky Landers, Paw Patrol and Jake and the Neverland Pirates He is easy to please. He loved going to Disney on his recent Make a Wish trip. Noah faces his illness with a smile, even through the tears. When he is scared or in pain he still manages to tell you he loves you. It is not easy, but he does it with such grace, and such courage. He is an inspiration to those who love him!
With our help Noah’s mom is currently seeking a 3 bedroom rental in Easton. Noah is looking forward to his dream pirate bedroom.
Noah also has a Facebook page "Noah's Angels"
Alison Joy Light is a precocious and sassy little girl. She has a pizzazz for life. She enjoys playing with her big brother Sam, arts and crafts, swimming and singing at the top of her lungs. She has always been an independent and determined girl.
On September 2, 2014 her family’s world was turned upside down. Ali had suffered from constipation and belly (and bum) pain from the early spring through that summer. Her parents were advised by her pediatrician to go to the emergency department at Children's Hospital Boston and let them know Ali had chronic constipation. That Tuesday evening the last thing they were expecting was CANCER. In a moment’s notice, they learned their precious baby girl had cancer that had started on her tailbone and had metastasized to her liver, lungs, and lymph-nodes. A few days later, they received the hopeful news that Ali had germ cell yolk sac tumors.
Germ cell tumors are masses of tissue formed by the type of immature cells which, in a healthy body, would develop into mature eggs (in a female) or sperm (in a male). Germ cell tumors may be malignant or benign. While the tumor burden was significant, Ali’s parents knew that there was treatment and a cure for this type of pediatric cancer. At such a young age, Ali has been an inspiration to many people and she continues to brighten everyone’s day.
THE STONE FAMILY
Casey Marie Stone (Scanlon) died unexpectedly after an apparent illness that was brought on during her third pregnancy. Casey never felt right after delivering baby Brayden, but suffered through her pain quietly. She died suddenly at home on Friday, May 9, 2014 leaving behind her husband Brendan Stone and three children Shea, Taylor and Brayden - all under the age of seven. Additionally and heartbreakingly, Casey's mother Patricia – one of the family’s caregivers – also died unexpectedly Christmas morning 2013. There are so many daily expenses for this grieving family facing the tragic loss of these two matriarchs.
As a Wicked Good Cause Winter Ball recipient, we’d like to offer financial assistance with medical bills, baby sitters, nannies, diapers, food, clothing, rent, college, proms, and more.
Danny Nickerson and his family were introduced to us in the Spring of 2014. Danny was a fun, witty and energetic five-year-old who was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare inoperable brain stem tumor.
As a recipient of Wicked Good Cause donations, it was our wish to greatly improve Danny’s quality of life and make sure some of his five-year-old dreams could come true as well as help support the family with medical and other expenses.
Wicked Good Cause was saddened to learn the news of Danny’s passing in April, 2015. We continue to pray for his brother Matthew and their whole family.
Zachary Kane and his family were the recipients of our Wicked Good Cause One Year Anniversary party in the Fall of 2014. At that time Zach was a typical 14 year old boy who had just entered his freshman year at Carver High School but was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. Ewing Sarcoma is a cancerous tumor that grows in the bones or in the tissue around bones (soft tissue)—often the legs, pelvis, ribs, arms or spine. This type of cancer is commonly diagnosed in persons ages 10-20 years of age.
The circumstances of Zach’s illness made it nearly impossible for both parents to work. Expenses like co-payments, gasoline, parking, eating outside of the home, and missing work added additional stress to the Kane’s lives and Wicked Good Cause with the support of our community were there to help.
Wicked Good Cause was saddened to learn the news of Zachary’s passing in September, 2015. We continue to pray for his parents and their extended family and friends.
Delaney and her family came into our lives as our 2014 Winter Ball recipient when Delaney was just five years old. At that time Delaney was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma and was undergoing a six-month course of chemotherapy treatments at Children’s Hospital Boston. Additionally, Delaney had to have surgery to remove much of her right leg as a result of a tumor found in her femur.
We’re happy to announce that on February 20, 2014, the Madden family received some long-awaited good news. Delaney was finally in remission and eventually was fitted for a prosthetic for her leg!
Delaney is doing great. She visits Children's for scans every 3 months and her scans continue to be clear. She is now taking swimming lessons and is back at gymnastics. She is still doing physical therapy a few times a week and working very hard to get back to 100% with her leg.
It’s been a long road for the entire Madden family. We wish them heartfelt healthy wishes and are honored to be a positive part of Delaney's journey and to contribute to the wellbeing of the family.