February 25, 2002 is a day that shattered our stable existence. It is the day our youngest daughter, Monica, was diagnosed
with Leukemia. Monica had recently turned 8 years old. A normal, intelligent, and happy kid. A week earlier she had
complained of leg pain and couldn’t catch her breath during a short hike. That day though, was very long. We went to our
doctor, had some blood taken; the results were abnormal to a critical level and we were sent to Oncology. That was a very
long 30-minute car ride. Next came more blood tests, IV fluids, bone marrow biopsy, and a diagnosis.
After hearing the word “leukemia”, it was just like in a Charlie Brown movie: “what, what, whaa” mixed in with coherent words, ”26 months of chemotherapy”, “she will lose all of her hair”, “she cannot go to school for a year…” It was unbelievable that this could happen to an innocent child and a happy, loving family. It was difficult for our eldest, Nicole, too; we tried to make life as normal as possible for her.
Monica was hospitalized for a week, had several blood transfusions, surgical placement of a Hickman catheter, and chemotherapy started. For the next 26 months, Monica popped pills, had biopsies, spinal taps, needles galore, and a very good outcome. We feel we owe our good outcome to medical research, and we live to support future research.
The Trent family has become crusaders for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Instead of asking why us, we focused on what we can do actively to help find cures— Joining forces with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program to raise money for cancer research and treatment was our way of finding meaning. Each member of our family has raised money and competed in endurance races such as marathons, triathlons, and century bike rides.
By early 2016, we had raised more than $150,000 so far and it was at this point that life sent us on another detour – Christopher was chosen as a National Representative of LLS doing, what else, an endurance event. And not just some endurance event – but the big daddy event, the Ironman Championships in Kona Hawaii. That’s where you swim 2.4 miles, then ride 112 miles, then run 26.2 miles – yes Mom, all in the same day! The Ironman didn’t even worry him though. Frankly, what worried us most is that we wanted to be successful in raising money. And in honor of participating in this milestone event, we committed to raise another $100,000.
By the end of Christopher’s Ironman adventure in October 2016, we were able to raise $103,000 – bringing our grand total of funds raised for LLS to more than $250,000. Of these funds, $50,000 was linked with a recurrent Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) portfolio in honor of Lisa’s sister, Lora, and another $50,000 was allocated to the Beat AML Master Trial in honor of future patients.
In addition to Team In Training, we also volunteer our services to another LLS program called Light the Night – an evening for honoring survivors and victims of cancer. In addition, we are “first connection” volunteers for LLS. Newly diagnosed families can connect with us for someone to talk to during this tough time. We symbolize hope – what an honor to be a symbol of hope….
Anyway, why this letter? You probably figured out that this is an appeal – an appeal for money because there is still more work to be done.
You know, as parents, we are supposed to protect our vulnerable kids. Our daughter got her cure thanks to research done before her diagnosis, and the treatments are getting better with ongoing research. We hope to protect some future kid, so his/her outcome will be as good as Monica’s.
That’s why we continue to train and raise funds. Christopher’s next endurance challenge is the 50K Ultra Marathon at the Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival in Oregon on June 23, 2018. Our latest goal is to raise an additional $10,000 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. That’s why it’s important for you to donate now and share this with as many people as you can – before tomorrow begins!
Please give until it hurts – Thank you for your generosity and support. The Trent family appreciates you! Donate online today: just click here.
Very truly yours,
Chris, Lisa, Nicole, and Monica
PS. All expenses are being paid by ourselves; all donations to LLS go to LLS (tax ID 13-5644916).
In August 2017, Monica – our survivor – started medical school at UC Irvine and continues to maintain her good health.
Here's all of us with Christopher after he completed
the Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii.