This post is long overdue. Today is a day where we take time to be grateful for the many blessings in our lives. And while I do not typically engage in personal discussions, I hope you'll humor this post today.
On March 31st, 2010, some dear friends found out their two year old son had less than a 30% chance of survival. Liam Kelly had been diagnosed with the rare condition of stage 4 Neuroblastoma. If you have children, family, or a soul, you probably appreciate how devastating this diagnosis was for the Kelly family.
Liam has now gone through eighteen grueling months of treatment including six cycles of chemotherapy, major abdominal surgery, four stem cell harvests, two stem cell (bone marrow) transplants, weeks of radiation, and finally six months of an experimental antibody therapy. In short, more pain and suffering than anyone should ever have to endure. However, there is a happy ending here, because Liam has completed his treatment and was declared cancer free.
Liam's dad is a proud Marquette alum (and dedicated hoops fanatic). When this first started to unfold, I reached out to Mike Broeker to see if there was anything that the athletic department did in situations like these. Here are some of the things I am thankful for.
- Broeker immediately contacted Buzz, who called Liam's dad the very next day and wanted to come visit in the hospital. The hospital visit never worked out, but Liam's parents were particularly touched by Buzz's call. I'm thankful that Buzz was so responsive and makes those types of calls.
- Mike kept in touch with the Kelly family off and on during much of their treatment. He would check in to see how things were going and sent a care package or two. In addition, prior to a Benefit Dinner to raise money for Liam's ongoing care, Broeker was nice enough to get three signed MU basketballs (by JFB and Lazar) donated for the auction. I'm thankful that Mike Broeker finds the time to follow up and help out an MU family.
- Also prior to the auction, Tim helped reach out to Marquette legend (and the coolest radio announcer in the business) Jim McIlvaine. Mac donated signed pictures, a rookie card, and other memorabilia, for which I am thankful.
- Finally, I'm thankful for Cracked Sidewalks contributor muwarrior92, who donated a signed jersey from (Super Bowl winning) quarterback Eli Manning.
And most especially, I'm thankful that Liam is cancer free.
If you want to read more about Liam, you can see their story at the family's website.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We Are Marquette.