A Community Dances In The Rain To Fight Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Joey and Oliver after latest round of chemo. He is due again October 23.

My sister Andrea is part Mary Poppins,  part MacGyver with Moves Like Jaggar.  She is organized, energized, a true Virgo and I am proud to call her my little sister.  I’m not featuring Team Joey in my first Fundraiser Spotlight because my sister Andrea has incriminating photos: I’m featuring Team Joey because my sister, Andrea Brookshore, is one of Joey’s Angels.

A Community Comes Together 
Joey’s Angels is the team behind the scenes, organizing the activities of Team Joey;   a small community in upstate New York, that has come together to raise funds and help eleven year-old Joey’s family pay for his life saving medication and expenses.   Joey’s Angels organize events, make phone calls, inventory donations and keep Team Joey running like a well oiled machine of love and support to Joey’s family.  Joey’s Angels know the well being of his family is just as important as his cancer treatment.

Falling Through the Cracks
In addition to Joey’s diagnosis, his parents  Holly and Ben, were devastated to learn their insurance only covers $5,000.00 of prescriptions each month.   Joey  is in stage 2A of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  That means Joey has “involvement of two or more lymph node regions.” (National Cancer Institute).   The urgency for treatment is obvious, but at $3,500.00 per dose, Joey’s chemo is the tip of the iceberg.   Joey’s family has to travel three hours one-way for treatment, while maintaining two incomes to put food on the table and keep their house and manage a “gift with purchase”: The overwhelming worry of loosing a child and brother to cancer.

Joey’s family is one of many who fall through the cracks.  They don’t qualify for Medicaid because their income is to high; and they certainly do not have the cash to cover the expense of paying for treatment up front.  That’s right; payment for treatment is required up front.  They don’t get billed for chemo shots and  Joey doesn’t receive his life saving treatment before payment is made in full.  Luckily, Joey and his family have a fleet of angels.

Joey’s Angels, have taken the Team Joey Facebook Community, from zero to 486 likes as of 10/18/2012 at 9:29pm- less than three weeks after launching.    But this Facebook page is about more than just getting “likes”.   This page is filled with the pictures and prayers of a small community working hard to lighten the load of one family.   There are pictures of  the  recent can drive, items for raffle and updates about Joey’s progress.

What strikes me most about this community is watching  human beings at their best during the worst of times.  There is nothing fun about watching a family cope with cancer, but I see a community  “Dancing in the rain.”  And this Saturday, dancing is exactly what will happen.

This Saturday, October 20, Team Joey is dancing in a Zumba Fundraiser  for Joey’s treatment and family’s expenses.   There is nothing more painful to a parent than the helplessness of watching your own child fight for his life.  But because Ben, Holly,  Hanna and Joey have the support of Team Joey, I have unyielding hope this family will prevail intact.  The load of things like expenses will be lightened by the help of their community, giving the family time to focus on each other, where their strength is needed most.

Holly, Joey’s mom, is a Zumba instructor and while she is at home with Joey and my nephew Oliver, her teaching partner, Dani will be leading over 300 people in a Zumba class with Holly’s husband Ben and their daughter Hannah.  In this way, the community  will be putting their minds and bodies in the game, if only for 90 minutes.  Nothing is more powerful than souls coming together in dance.  Humans have been doing it for millennia for a reason.  It’s not just 90 minutes of dancing; it’s 90 minutes of empowerment that will strengthen the bond of this community.   There will still be still more work to do when the music stops, but for 90 minutes, more than three hundred people at a school auditorium in Upstate New York, will cry out in one loud voice “No!” to the cancer in Joey’s body.    Dancing  in the rain of tears, prayers and love.

You and I may be reading about Team Joey  a few thousand miles  from the Zumba Fundraiser this Saturday, but we can help through the power of social networking.  Share this story.   If 500 people read this post and 100 of them can kick in $3.00 each, that’s $300.00.  Imagine what could happen if 500 people share Team Joey’s page.  There is no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Visit and “like” Team Joey’s FaceBook page and see how you can make a big difference with a small donation. If you live nearby, you can participate in the Zumba Fundraiser, upcoming spaghetti dinner, raffles and events in the works.  Joey’s fight has just begun.    Please join Team Joey and  make a difference.

About Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the Possibilities of Successful Treatment
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is one type of cancer with many stages and types.  It can occur in children and adults, which makes Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is an equal opportunity destroyer.  Follow the links to learn more.  Cancer research has created the possiblity for treatment of other diseases;  such as immunosuppresants for autoimmune diseases, better treatment of medication side effects and complications, patient care and caregiver education in not just cancer, but all illnesses.  Progress in cancer research helps all, and we are in this together.  Cancer gets a lot of publicity, but it ‘s not enough because people still die of cancer. Now that there is treatment to put cancer in remission,  large amounts of money to pay for life-saving treatment is now needed because patients like Joey, are  falling through the cracks.   Join us and support the fight for Joey’s life.  Thank you.
Links to Join Team Joey &  Learn More About Pediatric Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

About Childhood Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, treatment and prognosis: National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/childhodgkins/Patient/page1

Treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Livestrong

When your child has cancer: The American Cancer Society

A unique resource for cancer: Cancer 101

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