Archive for July 2012

July 22nd, 2012. Day +499   3 comments

It has been another good week in Columbus.  We have been staying busy with swimming lessons for both girls over the past two weeks.  They started the lessons on July 9th and went 4 days a week.  Charlotte did so well in her class that she is no longer a “seahorse”, but will qualify for the “sunfish” lessons next time!!  The girls had the same instructor and on the last night of classes she told Amy “You have the two cutest girls.”  Charlotte would talk the instructor’s ear off night after night often interfering with her swim stroke.  But the instructor loved it!!!  We know many people love our girls, but it made Amy so proud to have a stranger fall in love with our girls without knowing one thing about Charlotte’s medical background.

On Thursday, Amy took the girls to Jackson for cousin Brett’s 4th birthday party.  The girls had a great time.  Brett’s Grandma and Grandpa Harley bought him a battery powered motorcycle that all the kids loved to drive down the sidewalk!  It was nice to see all the cousin’s hanging out again.

As we’ve mentioned before, Charlotte has been asked to be a frontrunner for the Make-A-Wish Walk for Wishes on Sunday, September 23rd at the Alliant Energy Center.  We again have registered a team “Charlotte’s Angels” to honor Charlotte and to help raise money for Make-A-Wish to provide more amazing wishes.  The cost in advance is $15 (adult) and $8 (child) or if you choose to register that day $20 (adult) and $10 (child).  On July 31st, Charlotte will be making a commercial for the walk that will be broadcast in the Madison area.  If you are interested, please sign up to join our Walk for Wishes team or donate to our team using this link.  This is just one small way to say a very BIG thank you to Make-A-Wish!!!

Charlotte’s Angels Walk for Wishes team page

Here is the video Amy took of Charlotte throwing out the first pitch at the Mallards game last week.  We all had a great time at the game.  Many thanks to the Make-A-Wish staff, G&G E, Uncle Lyle and the girls, James and Robyn and Ann and Dawn for joining us!

Posted July 22, 2012 by L. Elske in Uncategorized

July 15th, 2012. Day +492. Here’s a story about a woman named Erin.   9 comments

Charlotte took this picture of Erin!!

Meet Erin.  In January 2007 she was enjoying life in a big city on the east coast when she learned her mother Sherri, living on the west coast, was diagnosed with Lymphoma.  She was tested to find out if she was a match for her mother, whose treatment protocol would likely require a stem cell transplant.  Erin and the rest of her family were not a match.  Sherri was able to use her own stem cells for a transplant and did well.  Determined to help someone else out against the evil that is cancer, Erin entered herself into the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry.

Fast forward 3 and a half years.  In September, 2010, a two year old girl from a small town in the midwest was diagnosed with a form of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Her doctors, being on top of their game, contacted the Bone Marrow Registry to find out if there were any possible matches for this little girl.  They weren’t sure if her treatment would involve a transplant, but wanted to know if there would be a donor in case it was recommended.

Also in September 2010, Erin was contacted by Be The Match, letting her know she was a possible match for a person who may need a transplant and wanted to find out if she was still interested.  She said “Yes”, and didn’t hear anything further for a few more months.

In late November 2010, the family of the little girl learned that the doctors wanted her to receive a stem cell transplant to give her the best chance of long term remission.  As expected, there were no matches found among her family members.  The doctors were hopeful, as they already had two possible good matches ready for further testing.  It wasn’t until the next month that the family heard that both of the first two donors declined to donate stem cells from their bone marrow, instead preferring to have cells harvested from their peripheral blood.  The little girl’s doctors wanted stem cells from the bone marrow, as it was preferred for AML, so the next two donors had already been contacted and agreed to donate by any method requested.  This meant she would have to undergo another round of chemotherapy to keep her leukemia at bay while further donors would have to be tested.  Her family was pretty heartbroken, but knew that things (even bad things) happen for a reason.

Erin received a call in December, asking her if she would be willing to have some more tests run, and in early January she received the news informing her that she was the preferred donor for a two year old girl with Acute Leukemia.  The harvest date was set for March 2nd (which changed to March 10th), and Erin would undergo several rounds of testing to make sure she was a healthy donor.  At this time, she decided to start a blog, documenting her own journey here:

I bet you know where all of this is going.  Could it be some strange coincidence that these two stories meet on Charlotte’s website?  Could it be two entirely unrelated stories, both magnificently summarized in just a couple of paragraphs?  Could Charlotte be the little girl?  Could Erin be her unrelated bone marrow donor?  Yeah, that was hard to figure out wasn’t it?

We heard from Erin a few weeks ago that she would be in Chicago this weekend on a work trip, and she was wondering if we might want to get together.  We didn’t think about it for more than a few seconds before we said “YES!”.  Erin invited her mother to come along since she was the inspiration for her to join the registry.  We also invited our parents and Grandma and Grandpa Elske and Grandma Wags came along for the fun.  Grandpa Wags stayed behind and watched Broadway because we didn’t think he (Grandpa/Broadway) would take too well to big city life…

Erin, Charlotte, and Sherri.

We stayed at the Fairmont Chicago and the girls loved it!  They loved our hotel, they loved our room, they loved the view.  A million games of “I spy” were played while looking out our 11th floor window. And Saturday night, when we were able to finally meet Erin and her mother, the girls loved them.  We had a wonderful Italian dinner at Bella Bachino’s then spent the rest of the night just walking the streets talking as if we had all known each other for years.  Charlotte was especially won over by Erin when she knew the words to Charlotte’s favorite Veggie Tales songs.  It was an emotional night.  It was just so great for us to show Erin how normal CJ is because of her.

We spent today with Erin and Sherri at the Shedd Aquarium and everyone had a great time!  Charlotte and Molly just loved all of the animals and things to see and do.  And as the morning grew into the afternoon,  Charlotte and Molly took to Erin like a fish to water.  It was a heartbreaking moment when we all had to say good-bye.  Erin still lives in Philadelphia,  Sherri in California, and us in the middle.  Who really knows when we’ll see each other next?  I’m thinking a road trip…Do you smell that?  Smells like cheesesteak…

Thank you Erin.  You may not think what you did was all that heroic, but I don’t know that I have the words to say it any other way.

Posted July 15, 2012 by L. Elske in Uncategorized

July 11th, 2012. Day +488   3 comments

I just wanted to write all of you quickly to ask you to send prayers and positive thoughts in the direction of my Uncle Dean this week.  His leukemia relapsed at the end of May, and he is currently in Houston talking with the good doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  I pray that all is going well with him and Sharon.

I wanted to remind everyone who was considering coming to the Mallards game to please use the following link to purchase your tickets.

The Mallards information is highlighted in yellow.  By purchasing through the link, Make-A-Wish will receive  the $2 donation per ticket.

Also, how cute is this?

We are going to be getting another team together to do a little walking (just a little while, none of this overnight horse hockey stuff again).  Please let us know if you would be willing to join our team or if you would like to donate to a very worthy cause!


Thanks for checking in on us!

Posted July 11, 2012 by L. Elske in Uncategorized

July 5th, 2012. Day +482   3 comments

Molly staying cool.

Another two and a half weeks have gone by with no updates from us.  My apologies for that.  I have no excuse other than we have been busy doing regular normal summer family stuff, you know like trying to stay cool in 100 degree weather!!!

Last week, we received the latest Inspire magazine featuring a story of Charlotte and a Hartford girl with ALL.  The cover had Charlotte and her on it and there were several pictures throughout.  If you would like a copy, please let me know.  We have a few to spare.

You can read the story here:

Charlotte took this picture of us at the Madison Cougars football game.

Charlotte has been doing great.  She is really becoming a social butterfly.  We are now watching her happily run off to Sunday School by herself.  A couple of months ago, she needed us to stay outside the door in the hallway to make her feel comfortable while she was going to class.  We had a swell time watching the Columbus fireworks display last night.  Charlotte saw a few families with kids and walked right up to them and asked them their name and if they wanted to play.  She spent an hour running around, playing hide and seek, tag, and catching lightning bugs!

She also had another three immunization shots on Monday (making it 10 shots in 4 months), which she didn’t love at all, but she is now caught up until March so at least she is done for a while now!  We also found out that she is in the 62% for height and 58% for weight so we think that’s pretty great.

Charlotte, just being happy and awesome.

Guess who has been invited to throw the first pitch out at a Madison Mallards game on Tuesday, July 17th?  You got it-Charlotte!  It is a fundraiser night for the Wisconsin Make a Wish organization.  If you are planning on going to a Mallards game this year, this should be the one you attend!  If you haven’t been to a game yet, you are missing a really good time.  Why not join us on the 17th?   She’ll be throwing the first pitch at 6:40pm.  She and I have been practicing and she’s pretty excited.   To learn more, please check the Make a Wish calendar of events using this link:

Posted July 5, 2012 by L. Elske in Uncategorized