Meet Jay Steiner. Jay is a cancer survivor. Jay is also a superhero. It takes a superhero to beat cancer and then to support a family member who is also battling cancer. Below, in question 8, you’ll find Jay’s Tips on being a superhero for your loved one who may be battling cancer.
1. You are a KU Fan – predict their record for this year.
Jay: Crimson & Blue all the way through. 5-7 in football. 33-3 in basketball.
2. What is the food that you are best at making?
3. If moon travel becomes available in the next 10 years, are you going?
Jay: Too many exciting things to see here (on Earth) first.
4. If you could throw a party for your donors with an unlimited budget, where would it be and what two bands would play?
4. Why did you want to join the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society team?
Jay: I’m a survivor of Pediatric A.L.L. (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) so finding cures for Leukemia has always been at the forefront of my mind. I’m fortunate to work for an organization who’s primary objective is so aligned with my personal objectives.
After Jason Clements and Aaron Randel both lost close family members to cancer, they wanted to raise money for people going through similar experiences.
They approached a friend at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with their idea of what would become Cells for Cells: Their business would work with corporations to recycle used mobile devices. Clements and Randel would then sell the refurbished parts and scrap metal, and sale proceeds would be directed to the cancer organization.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society said yes. Cells for Cells now has more than 100 corporate partners and has raised more than $30,000 for the organization.
The company’s founders hope the money they donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society helps relieve some of the everyday financial burdens families face.
The company also has developed the “Extreme Medical Bill Makeover,” which donates $500 or more to families who submit their stories.
“What happened to us happens to thousands of people every day,” says Dawn Wooten of Wichita, whose husband, Jeff, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 37. Cells for Cells gave them an outlet to tell their story. They became the first recipients of the makeover award.
Cells for Cells sent them a check for $500 to put wherever they needed it most.
“That doesn’t sound like much, but we were able to put that money toward one of Jeff’s medical bills,” she says. “Four and a half years after the original diagnosis, we still have an insane amount of medical debt, but every little bit helps.”
This is the story of how a 72-year-old man won a battle with cancer, and how you can help men and women like Richard who are battling cancer.
Self-deprecating and wry, Richard Todd is the kind of man who could only come from the American Midwest. He believes in personal reasonability and the right to make his own happiness. His speech has the gentle laziness of a man who has all the time in the world. On the surface there is nothing particularly striking or heroic about Richard’s brand of quiet dignity. Yet Richard Todd managed to become a medical miracle by beating leukemia in 44 days.
To understand how Richard Todd overcame his illness, you must first understand his story. His recovery wasn’t the result of fabulous genetics, (his father and sister both died of heart failure), perfect health (at 72, he’s already survived two heart attacks), or an amazing HMO. The only thing Richard had on his side was a supportive community to help him, and the healing power of his own faith and positive attitude.
Early this year, Richard Todd was a man in recovery: he had survived his second heart attack, and though his heart was healing, he was still short of breath. Both Richard’s GP and his cardio-pulmonologist found nothing wrong—he seemed completely healthy. But on February 3, Richard came home from church sick, vomiting and nauseated. Recognizing what he thought were the signs of another heart attack, Richard had his wife of 55 years drive him to the emergency room. It was there that the blood tests came back: his white blood count was 132. He had leukemia.
At first Richard’s reaction was one of total disbelief: he told the doctor’s he wouldn’t accept what had been put in his body, and he would be healed. After two bouts with his heart, after watching his mother slowly die of Alzheimer’s, Richard was not about to give up now, after he had worked so hard for health and happiness.
Richard’s sunny outlook was soon clouded over by doubt. Immediately after his diagnosis, Richard came down with acute bronchitis and had to be hospitalized. Then as he was being discharged, his insurance company told him they weren’t going to be covering his cancer therapy. For Richard, this was the first blow that had the power to shake his faith that he would be alright. At $4,000 a month, there was no way to pay for even a fraction of the medical costs. His HMO had abandoned him.
Because of the red tape that surrounds pre-existing HIPA laws, there was no way for Richard’s doctors to advise him on alternative funding for treatment. But help was still able to find Richard, where he least expected it. A devout Pentecostal, Richard has a close-knit relationship with the members of his congregation, all of whom have a deep faith in the power of personal healing. At church the following Sunday, an acquaintance asked Richard if he had heard of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a non-profit group which helps provide financial relief to families battling cancer. Richard was put in contact with a representative from the society who consulted with Richard and his doctor to discuss the best treatment options available. A few days later, Richard was handed a month’s supply of Gleevec, a cutting-edge new drug from Novartis.
Unlike traditional chemotherapy medicines, Gleevec doesn’t target rapidly dividing cells blindly. It’s a drug which is drawn to a particular type of enzyme produced by a particular kind of lymphoma cell. Richard had a hard time taking the drug, knowing how much others had sacrificed so that he might receive a $26 pill. Yet Richard was supremely grateful: a grandfather of 14 and a great-grandfather of 5, he felt as if God was answering his prayers.
What makes organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society so effective is that they allow patients to fully concentrate on recovery. A huge number of cancer patients die from issues only tangentially related to their disease. They die of malnutrition, they die of pneumonia because of their weakened immune system, and they simply give up because they are overwhelmed by the burden of finances and insurance headaches. Optimism and a positive outlook are more than just new-age mantras; they’re just as vital to the success of a patient as a drug like Gleevec. Richard’s insistence that he would indeed survive is one of the reasons that he did. All of his energy was focused on healing his body; everything else was taken care of by his friends, his family, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
April 11, just 44 days after he was diagnosed with leukemia, Richard Todd returned to the hospital for a check up. His doctor was absolutely shocked by the results. In less than two months, Richard’s white blood cell count had gone from 132 to a mere 5.9. The cancer hadn’t just gone into remission; it had been cured. Richard would be around to see the birth of his 6th great-grandchild. Richard Todd had survived.
Richard Todd’s story is one of amazing odds: because of a rare combination of medical support, a fantastic new drug, and a positive attitude, he was able to beat leukemia with astonishing speed. While his results are truly miraculous, it’s easy to see how things could have ended very differently. If Richard had not found the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Kansas City, he would have died months ago.
This story is the reason why Cells for Cells is recycling and supporting groups like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. By helping Richard and his family every step of the way, the Society gave Richard the peace of mind to concentrate on his own health. Asked if he had any advice for those who struggle against the odds, Richard said (with his characteristic bluntness) “Stay positive—if you don’t you’re a fool.”
By donating your old cell phones to Cells for Cells, together, we can help raise money and awareness for those who are battling cancer. Just like with Richard Todd’s story, sometimes little things make all the difference.
Note: We had published Richard’s story last year and in our website upgrade, lost the links to the original. This is a powerful story so I wanted to get it back up. I hope you enjoyed it – Jason
Once again, Dr. Michelle Robin has added to the Cells for Cells Extreme Medical Bill Makeover, making April’s award $2000. Cells for Cells is contributing $1000 in cash to pay for any expense related to battling cancer and Dr. Robin’s Your Wellness Connection in Shawnee, Kansas has added $1000 in Wellness Services either in person at her facility or consulting via telephone.
Here is the list of the 6 categories of services provided by Your Wellness Connection:
is an art, science and philosophy…
restores energetical balance to the body…
Counseling & wellness coaching
empowers people with knowledge and skills…
enhances general health, reduce anxiety, and…
promotes the body’s ability to heal and recuperate…
gain flexibility, strength and bring about calm…
Extreme Medical Bill Makeover
If you know a deserving family, battling cancer, who desperately needs help paying medical bills (perhaps it’s your family or a co-worker’s), please make them aware of the sign up process. It is very easy and the details to submit your story are here.
A very special thank you to Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, for sharing this video.
Here are his words:
“There are moments when you feel the world is too much. Days and even weeks when you want to (or perhaps do) pull up the covers and half-sleep in bed until nightfall, avoiding a feeling of hopelessness that seems insurmountable. Long-awaited deals fall through without warning, haters attack you without reason or fact, circumstances turn good decisions into awful realities — sometimes it just feels like the deck is stacked against you and there is nothing you can do about it.
I’ve felt the same on more than a few occasions, and more are coming.”
Truth be told, I’ve felt that way many times in my life, too.
And if you or a loved one is battling cancer, that feeling of hopelessness could be 10 x 10 x 10 times worse than anything you could have ever imagined.
…guess what? Lots and lots and lots of people survive cancer: Lance Armstrong, Christina Applegate, Rober DiNiro, Steve Jobs, Sheryl Crow, and many more. And not just famous people win their battle with cancer. Check out Richard Todd’s story at www.cellsforcells.com and how he beat leukemia in 44 days!
Stand back up! Finish strong! Beat Cancer! Win Your Battle! Watch this Video.