In July 2013, my family and I were vacationing in Tennessee when my dad, Mark, came down with a fever and a bad cough. I drove him six hours back home to Ohio, straight to the hospital. Within hours, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and acute myeloid leukemia, just one month after his 50th birthday.
At this point my dad knew he was in for a battle, but he is a fighter and I knew he was determined to beat cancer!
We heard about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) through one of the patient support staff members who came to visit my dad while in the hospital. My family and I wanted to do whatever we could to make a difference. My cousin, Natalia, and I gathered up our family and friends to participate in Light The Night in October of 2013. We thought that we would have around 30 to 40 people show up to walk in honor of my dad, but as the night went on we realized that over 100 people came to support Team Ciminello! It was truly an amazing experience.
My dad went through intense rounds of chemotherapy and various clinical trials over the five months that he spent in the hospital. His immune system was knocked down to almost zero. In November 2013, my dad had a bone marrow transplant from a generous donor in Poland.
My dad and countless other survivors are able to beat cancer thanks to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the wonderful work and research that they do. It has been almost five years since his bone marrow transplant and we are blessed that my dad is healthy and living life to the fullest every day!
Nicole is the winner of the 2018 Light The Night T-shirt Design Contest!