Inspiration, Remission & Biking
"It All started with a routine dentist appointment. After I got home, my gums started bleeding. It went on for days, but I was young and figured there was no need to tell my mom. Then one day, she noticed my legs were full of bruises. Her instant reaction was, 'we are going to the hospital'." - Jonathan Alfaro, Leukemia Patient.
Jonathan says, "I was sitting on a bed in the emergency room at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. Suddenly, I heard the loudest yell I'd ever heard coming from another room. It was my mom. She walked into the room where I sat. Her tears said it all."
"I was 15. I didn't even know what acute leukemia was then."
"I didn't go home that day. Instead, I went straight upstairs, and then it was chemo, chemo, chemo. I was in a bed so long that I lost all my leg muscles. After months of treatment, I went into remission, which lasted for about a year. I relapsed so many times I lost count. I began to lose all hope. It was my mom who kept me in the game."
"In 2009, I was 19, and found myself in adult oncology, where I met Dr. Rondelli. He consulted with my pediatric oncologist and they came up with a plan- a cord-blood transplant. After intense radiation, and more chemotherapy, I was ready. I got two transfusions of stem cells from umbilical cord blood. I've been cancer-free for two years now. I really feel the stem cell transfusion cured my leukemia."
"Dr. Rondelli is the one actually motivating me. I've got to get my life straight. Raising money, helping others is what I want to dedicate my life to. Giving back is the best way for me to find my way back into civilization after being away for such a long time with treatments."