In December of 2007 we returned from a family trip to Seattle with our 13 year old son Jared coughing and quite lethargic.
When I brought him to the pediatrician our lives changed in a single moment. She was examining his neck when she found a large mass that I had never seen before and as she ran her hands over the mass again and again the color drained from her face. This is what it is like to find out your child has cancer. One lump, one doctor with knowledge in her eyes, one phrase spoken, "you must take him to the hospital for tests immediately."
Jared was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma III A-S on December 31 2007. Happy New Years to us! The protocol was a clinical trial out of City of Hope in Duarte CA and chemotherapy began in January. All together he endured 4 rounds of 5 types of chemo, 32 days inpatient, 4 blood transfusions, 40 shots of neupogen, multiple medications, sores in his mouth, throat and esophagus, 3 surgeries, hair loss, pain, nausea, steroid rage, multiple PET scans and CAT scans and finally 14 days of radiation to his neck, chest, abdomen and spleen.
And in the end we were the lucky ones. On July 8th 2008 Jared was declared cancer free. We fulfilled a promise we had made that when treatment was over and the cancer was gone we would jump in the fountain in front of the hospital and dance a victory jig together. And we did. And it was perfect.
In 2010 I heard about a group of women who would be shaving their heads in Los Angeles for The St. Baldrick's Foundation and raising money for pediatric cancer research. The team was called the 46 mommas named for the approximately 46 children who are diagnosed each weekday in the USA with cancer. I signed up to shave on August 7th, my 46th birthday and went bald for the first time in September raising over $5000. It was the beginning of a journey that would take me around the country to cities like Boston, San Antonio and Las Vegas to help organize amazing events and to shave my head once more in 2014. The 46 mommas have truly given me purpose, passion and a mission to help raise enough money to find a cure for pediatric cancer and to save lives.
Our St. Baldrick's hero fund named The Rich and Weissman Family Lymphoma and Survivorship Fund is the culmination of all the years of work that have come before. The Rich in the title honors my parents, Terri and Barry who have been a driving force in our fundraising journey and our biggest supporters. The Weissman is for my son who we honor by continuing our work each and every day. Lymphoma and survivorship are where we will focus the funds we raise. Battling the disease and searching for a cure while also helping the survivors who suffer the after effects of the toxic treatments used to cure them.
Donations made to The Rich and Weissman Family Lymphoma and Survivorship Fund have funded a St. Baldrick’s Research Grant for Theresa Keegan, Ph.D. Dr. Keegan is researching adolescent and young adult survivorship issues at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine which is affiliated with UC Davis Children's Hospital.
The Foundation is guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of leading experts in the childhood cancer community, to ensure that every dollar makes the greatest impact for kids with cancer.
These people make us smile - they’re the doers and money-raisers on behalf of The Rich and Weissman Family Lymphoma and Survivorship Fund. They’re shaving their heads, hosting events, starting fundraisers and more to make childhood cancer research possible.
Start your own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money on behalf of our Hero Fund! You’ll be paired with a staff member who will walk you through every step of the process, and you’ll have fun knowing you’re doing a great thing for kids with cancer.
Register to shave your head and raise money for our Hero Fund at any St. Baldrick’s event happening around the world! Not finding an event near you? Register as a virtual shavee and shave your head anytime, anywhere.