We just had to write you! This story seems like one that fits your show. Andy Meinolf, our friend and coworker, has been having an awful few weeks. And with his 2 1/2-year-old son's recent Leukemia diagnosis, things have went from bad to worse. We have even edited this letter multiple times because more keeps happening.
It all started about a month ago. Andy and his wife, Nickie, were excited about their upcoming family vacation to Walt Disney World with their two children, Amara (6 years) and Clay (2 1/2 years). A week before leaving, Nickie, Amara, and Clay all ended up with pneumonia. Nickie had a bad reaction to the medication she was prescribed and ended up getting rushed to the hospital by ambulance. The doctor cleared them for flying, and off to Disney they went on Saturday, October 26.
They had a couple great days at Disney, but Tuesday morning, Amara woke up and could not stop coughing, even with the use of an inhaler. They took her to a walk-in clinic, but were directed to take her to the ER. She was admitted to the hospital and treated for pneumonia. During that time, Andy and Nickie took turns staying at the hospital with Amara and spending time with Clay. Amara was finally released on Thursday evening. Disney was great and let them change their Halloween party day so that Amara could attend. A family member scheduled a breakfast with Disney princesses to help cheer up Amara after she had missed so much. We also have to mention that one of her requested meals was bacon and maple syrup.
After returning home, they took Amara to a follow-up appointment on Friday, November 8. They brought Clay with because he wasn't acting like himself. Amara checked out okay, but Clay's color was off--he seemed grey. They took a blood sample and discovered that his red blood cell count and hemoglobins were down. Clay was immediately sent to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, which is an hour away. That evening, the family found out that Clay has Leukemia. They had to wait until Monday for him to get a bone marrow test. After the surgery, he was diagnosed with B-Cell ALL. Luckily, they didn't find any Leukemia in his spinal fluid. Clay's chemo treatments started the next day. The chemo is making his skin very sensitive. He has to be changed every two hours--even during the night--because it becomes very painful for him. He also has to take steroids twice a day. Andy and Nickie have to crush up the pills and put them in applesauce to get him to take them.
On Thursday, November 14, their family car broke down when taking Andy’s mom, who had strokes and is in a wheelchair, to the hospital. While at the hospital, they were on lockdown for a few hours because of a shooter. They could see helicopters and police cars from the window. On Friday, they found out that the car repairs would total $1,550 to $2,200.
Friday night they were all able to be home, but had to go back to the hospital on Saturday because Clay was throwing up steroids. They had to put a tube through his nose and down his throat to get the steroids directly into him. On Sunday, they were able to go back home again. Since being diagnosed, Clay has already received four blood transfusions--and more are on the horizon.
Every week, the family has to take two trips from their home in Sheboygan to Children's Hospital in Milwaukee--Clay has chemo treatments every Tuesday and lab work every Friday.
Here at ACUITY, our department has sent around a card to collect gas money to help pay for all the trips they will be making back and forth to Children’s. We raised just over $1,000 for Andy and his family, which touched our hearts.
They are fun family. Amara is even more of a character then Sophia Grace or Rosie. Clay, with his curly blond hair and sweet demeanor, is just adorable. Nickie will tell you like it is. And Andy just goes along for the ride.
Anything you could do to help them would be amazing and very appreciated.
The Help Desk at ACUITYJane, Christine, and Tami