Daughter: Anna (Osteosarcoma)
In July 2009, my youngest daughter Anna, age 17, ready to start her senior year, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare cancer that primarily affects children and young adults. Even rarer was the location. A mass had grown at the base of her spine and enveloped her right pelvic bone including surrounding vessels and nerves of her right leg.
After frank discussions with oncology doctors, specialists, surgeons, and after obtaining not just a second, but a third opinion,we commenced on a course to save my daughter’s life. Prior to surgery, a three month regimen of potent chemical poisons developed specifically to kill cancer would lay waste to my little girl. What followed the chemotherapy was a 15 hour surgery to remove her right leg, right pelvis, and portions of her lower spine. Days later, a six hour spinal surgery was completed. After healing from the surgeries, another four months of chemotherapy was administered.
In all, Anna spent close to a year- most of which involved hospitalization - fighting her courageous battle. My wife Lynnette rarely left Anna’s room during her hospitalization. In a family effort, I, along with Anna’s older brother and sisters assisted in the Caregiver roleto provide continuous love and support during her ordeal.
It was during Anna’s heroic battle that my family was introduced to Sergeants Mary Kite and Whit Pauly from the Department’s Wellness Unit. They gave my family support during a time of great uncertainty. As representatives of the Los Angeles Police Department and Cancer Support Group, their numerous phone calls and hospital visits were greatly appreciated.
Now, five years later, Anna is attending a local university and looking forward to obtaining her BA degree in 2015. Her story is one of unmatched strength and determination.
The definition of the word support is to “give confidence or comfort to.” As a Group, that is our mission.
If you have any questions, please contact Reserve Officer Jim Rahm, Department Wellness Unit, (818)-219-6333, Detective Amy Sundquist, Juvenile Division at (909) 208-8451 or Sgt. Mary Kite, Department Wellness Coordinator at (213) 944-6819.