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Deseree was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma of the bones on her 15th birthday, March 19, 1993. With a stem cell transplant that August, she is doing VERY well! It was a painful experience, but one that would forever change our lives. While doctors were saying she had less than 10% chance of surviving, Desi put 110% into living. You can read about her courage, faith and determination by clicking the following link...
Desi is the most loving person you will ever meet. So many times you hear people who have been diagnosed with cancer ask, "Why me?" Desi never asked herself that question but rather the family asked, "Why Desi?" She has always been the most spiritual, always there to comfort others, has taken care of her family and friends, and places the needs of others ahead of her own. We have called her our "Little Mom" since she was a very young :) Is it any wonder why I found the answer to everyone's question? Desi had to be the one to get cancer because she's the only one strong enough to be able to handle it. Handle it is what she did! She never let it get her down. While the doctors were telling us that no one had ever survived her type of cancer with this amount of disease, Desi turned to me, smiled and said, "Guess that just means I'll be the first!" Desi helped everyone cope with her ever-present humor. "It was probably Mom's meatloaf", or "IIIIII dunno' about having more Xrays, don't those things cause cancer?" While her dad was cutting clumps of her hair that was about to fall out due to her chemo treatments, I was standing behind him trying to swallow the lump in my throat as I'd watch the beautiful locks of curls fall to the floor. I wondered how hard it would be for her to face the stares when she went out in public. Desi looked up at her dad's head and said, "at least mine will come back!" She was our rock. Desi taught us that laughter IS medicine.
After receiving numerous awards and a scholarship her senior year, Desi joined the college ranks. I'm sure whatever she decides to do, she'll do it with the same determination and self confidence that has brought her to this point in her life. Desi says she's glad she got cancer because it made her realize what's important and what's not. Yep! I think she's going to do fine :)
This picture of Deseree with former tennis star, Andrea Jaeger, was taken in Aspen, CO. Andrea has established a non-profit foundation called "Kids Stuff" to assist children and teens with cancer and other life threatening diseases. This foundation is providing the financing for the "Silver Lining Camp" where kids and teens are able to spend a week with Andrea horseback riding, rafting, playing tennis and tons of other fun activities. The time spent with Andrea enables kids to enjoy feeling "just like a regular person" again. Desi calls Andrea an angel from heaven because she devotes so much of her time giving kids new confidence and reinforcing their inner strength. Andrea believes they need the sense of well-being to survive the challenges of their everyday lives. Phone calls and postcards from Andrea's fund-raising travels keep the friendships strong long after camp is over.
For more information on the Kids Stuff Foundation and the Silver Lining Camp, write P.O. Box 10970, Aspen, CO 81612.
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