Tuesday, October 2, 2012

LIVESTRONG DAY: The WEINERLEIN FAMILY ...

GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
Caryl here...

(Above: Anthea, Trevor, Katie-Meg, Me and Amy)

Every year, on LIVESTRONG DAY, I try and put up a special blog post to to honour the amazing men, woman and animals who have fought, and still fight, the dreaded "Cancer".  This disease has affected my family too and I have lost loved ones in the process. This day has special meaning for me as I remember all the millions of people, around the world, who have walked this difficult path. Some have sadly lost their battle, whilst others fight on bravely. 
I honour and pay tribute to them.

This year, however, I am hoping that you will grant me a little flexibility as I reach a little further - to honour those who fight, so bravely, against other life-threatening illnesses and, in particular, JUVENILE ARTHRITIS.  I am doing this, because there is are some special and brave family members of mine who are currently fighting the fight of their lives..
  Today, I would like to honour the
...in their current battle with JUVENILE ARTHRITIS - a disease which is affecting their two, beautiful, young daughters.

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 Here is their story...

Trevor (a Headmaster) and Anthea (a schoolteacher) are parents to daughters Katie-Meg (12) and Amy (10).  They are both dedicated High school teachers who never waver in their professionalism and their love for children as a whole. Their courage has been highlighted over the past two years as they have bravely fought the battle of their lives.

Some time ago, Katie-Meg (12) was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis.  Over the past 1-2 years she has deteriorated from being an enthusiastic athlete, sports person and high academic achiever , to a young girl who is now confined to a wheelchair  (at a time in her life when she should be embracing adolescence and all its challenges).   Despite this, her spirit is strong and her battle has inspired many young (and old) people around her. She is one of the most inspiring young women I have ever met!  She faces her plight bravely and gracefully, but sometimes the pain is just too much.

This disease has affected every joint of her body.  It means that she is in constant, excruciating pain and there is no letting up.  In fact the pain is increasing daily despite extensive physiotherapy and chemotherapy. She goes for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy every week to stop her muscles atrophying, but nothing seems to be helping. Even the small movements are intolerable. 

Trevor and Anthea have to get up every night, every two hours, to turn Katie in bed and try to alleviate her pain.  They are fatigued and sometimes despondent, but despite this they still try to hold down their full-time teaching jobs, and continue to search for an answer to this devastating illness.

As if this isn’t enough, Amy (10), Katie's younger sister, has also been diagnosed with the same illness. It’s effectively a double blow.  At this point there are no answers to overcoming this affliction.  Amy’s pain has only recently begun but there is inflammation in different areas of her body and it is starting to hamper her activity too.  Both girls are on chemotherapy injections/drips but there has been no improvement although, thankfully, Amy's pain seems to be under control. 

Doctors, too, are somewhat stumped as to how to help Katie with pain management.  She is on an 8-weekly Revelex drip which makes her extremely ill.  Nausea and fatigue are constants in her life and she is also on anti-depressants.

Despite all this the girls are still going to school and trying to retain normal lives.  Their parents are icons of strength.

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I cannot begin to imagine the nightmare that this special family of mine is going through.  I spoke to Katie-Meg recently about what was the most difficult part of this disease.  Her answer was simple and unexpected:

"Aunty Caryl, it's the isolation.  I can't go out and I can't do what my friends are doing.  I sometimes feel so lonely."

This answer is what has prompted me to write about this today.  Katie's answer gives us all an opportunity to do something, It's small, but it is something, and that is simply to convey our support, empathy and encouragement . 

 I have set up a Facebook support group for the Weinerlein family - where friends and supporters can go and leave messages of encouragement for them.  

PLEASE CAN I ASK YOU, today, to take the time to leave messages of support for
 TREVOR, ANTHEA, KATIE-MEG and AMY WEINERLEIN?

  You can do this either in the comments section of this blog (and I will convey this to them), or you can visit their FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP and leave your message there.  I know that each comment and message, no matter how small, is a treasure for this family. Tell them where you live and tell them how you feel.
PLEASE, on this LIVESTRONG DAY, can you do this?


TREVOR, ANTHEA, KATIE-MEG and AMY, my beloved family:

I love you so, so much! I wish I could take this affliction away from you.  Please know that you are loved beyond measure.  I have no doubt that you will beat this disease. 
BE STRONG! BE COURAGEOUS! LIVE STRONG!  
You are a true inspiration to all of us.

With all my love to all those who suffer around the world.

11 comments:

The Life of Riley said...

From New Zealand we send the Weinerlein family our love, and the Maori words "Kia kaha" which mean "stay strong".

Ginger Jasper said...

A very beautiful post and so very heartfelt. Love to the family and the battle they fight.I too wish we had a world were there was no cancer and other evil diseases and no pain. What a world that would be. hugs G xx

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

A beautiful heartfelt post.

Remembering MaxDog today, extra especially. xx

Sam said...

We are sending love and hugs and all the positive prayer we can. We are believers that miracles can happen.

Sam

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

How very sad! We will keep these two precious girls in our thoughts and prayers.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning and Mom

Two French Bulldogs said...

It is a good day to spread the word
Benny & Lily

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

Hi Caryl, what a beautiful heartfelt post. We would love to send the Weinerlein family a special hello and gentle hugs all the way from Oz. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

Suka said...

What a touching, bittersweet post. Katie-Meg (great name!) and Amy are beautiful girls with lovely smiles. Their strength and courage in handling their disease is truly inspiring. Katie-Meg's comment was heart-wrenching to read. I am so sorry she feels so lonely.

I hope your post and FB page create much awareness to this devastating disease, which is not as publicized as it should be. I pray that through your efforts these two beautiful girls find some help, such as from new research. Miracles do happen.

Katie-Meg and Amy, I have you both in my heart and prayers. I especially pray that your pain goes away forever and you never feel lonely again. God bless you both, and your amazing parents. *hugs

K and Suka

Sam said...

Best wishes from the west coast of Canada. We wish the family well.

Bouncing Bertie said...

My heart goes out to Katy-Meg and Amy. I want to send them healing and comforting hugs from Scotland.
Very best wishes,
Gail.

Amber DaWeenie said...

We hope that some day in the near future we can say GOODBYE forever to the "C" Monster!

Saying extra prayers for your brave family.