Rachel’s Story

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“I wish I had Leukemia.”

These are the words of 17-year-old Rachel Kashton.

And although you probably find them very surprising, I can assure you that you read them correctly.

You see, when Rachel was only 14 years old she was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). This form of leukemia is very rare, affecting only 10% of people who are diagnosed with leukemia and nearly always adults. It starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and invades the blood.

The biggest challenge is that CML is not curable with chemotherapy.

This is why, at times, Rachel wishes she had ‘regular’ leukemia. Because in her words ‘then she could just endure chemo and radiation and be done with it.’ Her words show you how strong she is. But even with the will to fight, there’s nothing that can currently be done to cure her cancer.

I’m writing you to ask if you’ll make a year-end donation to support patients like Rachel. By making your donation today you’ll provide essential funds to help continue research into new treatments for patients like Rachel.

Your gift could be the difference in providing Rachel with a cure. And ensuring her parents get to see her live a long and healthy life.

Rachel’s diagnosis was discovered when she arrived at the hospital with more than 400 times the normal level white blood count. Her spleen was found close to her groin instead of behind her rib cage. The doctors couldn’t believe she was still functioning.

Her CancerCare oncologist started her on a drug called Gleevec. And it is this drug that Rachel says saved her life. One pill a day is what she depends on to keep her body “normal”. But it’s not easy on her body or spirit. And it’s not necessarily a long-term solution.

The scary reality is that one day Gleevec may no longer work for her. And if it stops working, her CancerCare medical team would have to consider other options that may not be nearly as effective for her rare type of leukemia.

Gleevec is the result of a clinical trial. It took years of extensive testing to develop. And it’s helping to give patients like Rachel a chance at life.

Rachel says it best, “Research is not possible without funding, new treatments are not possible without research and kids like me with cancer would not be alive without treatment”.

Rachel is able to live her life to the fullest, happy and healthy as possible because of the generosity from people like you in support of cancer research and treatment.

But not every child or young adult is as lucky as Rachel. By telling you Rachel’s story she is hoping you will help bring us one step closer to a world where there’s a cure for every child and young adult with cancer.

At CancerCare Manitoba we walk with patients like Rachel and their families every day on their journey battling cancer. I would be lying if I said it was easy. But what gives me just a little bit of comfort is knowing that, with your help, no one is ever alone.

You are an important supporter of cancer patients in your community. And I’m extremely grateful for your generosity.

Will you consider making a donation today to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation? Your gift will go so far in brightening up the lives of cancer patients and their families. In addition your generosity will also give us the tools to research, detect and treat different types of cancer, to help patients like Rachel continue their lives cancer free.