LTC Bullet: LTC Touches One of Our Own

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Seattle--

Today's is a very special LTC Bullet.

Many Center supporters and subscribers know the name Mark Meiners. Mark is the key man behind the Long-Term Care Partnership program. He and many others working with, through and sometimes for him have persisted through decades of difficult challenges to make the LTC Partnership into the remarkable national program it is becoming today.

But that's not why I'm writing now.

Last December, Mark's 29-year-old son Matthew was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive pediatric cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue cancer). It started as a tumor in his left sinuses and metastasized to his lymph nodes and spine. At first, he thought it was sinusitis and possibly his wisdom teeth. It is hard to believe how sick he truly is because just a couple weeks earlier he was scouting a basketball game (he is a scout and analyst for the Los Angeles Clippers) at the Verizon Center in DC.

That's how Mark explained his son's condition to me when I inquired. Since then I've subscribed to Matthew's "CarePages" updates. That's where his wife Amy periodically reports on Matthew's treatment, his heroic struggle, and their mutual commitment of extraordinary faith, persistence and optimism. Go "TeamMeiners!"

From one of those CarePages updates, I learned that some of Dr. Meiners' students at George Mason University had pooled their resources to make a substantial, unsolicited contribution toward the staggering and rapidly increasing costs of Matthew's care. That gave me an idea.

Who understands better or cares more about the financial and emotional stress of long-term health care than the readers of these LTC Bullets? Nearly no one, I'd wager. So, I'm inviting each and every one of you to help Matthew and Amy in their battle against this disease. I'll "prime the pump" with a personal contribution of $250. If you'd like to help, please send your own contribution to:

Matt and Amy Meiners
c/o Team Meiners
1255 S. Michigan Ave. Apt. 2506
Chicago, Illinois 60605

To follow Matthew and Amy's story, you can subscribe to CarePages at www.carepages.org. It is under "TeamMeiners" and requires a little sign-in but is not difficult.

Following is more detail from his Dad on Matthew's condition:

"Although Matt is an adult, we transferred his care from Illinois Masonic Adult Hospital over to the University of Chicago's Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department. The Pediatric doctors are the most familiar with this disease and we are hoping they can provide the best possible treatment and care. There have been numerous tumor boards and pathology conferences to review his case and we were finally given the course of treatment on Christmas Eve [2007]. Matt will be part of a year-long clinical trial specifically targeted for his diagnosis. The protocol for the trial is intense. He began his first high-dose chemotherapy December 26th. He was at Chicago Comer Children's Hospital for the next five days. A few weeks later they added radiation therapy to his treatment. He will be in and out of the hospital for a long while. Luckily, since it is a children's hospital, his surroundings are a bit more cheerful."

Those of us who care so much about long-term care know it can touch anyone, anytime and at any age. But it never hurts or costs more than when it strikes the young and vigorous. All they've asked for is prayers and kind thoughts. But we can honor the spirit and fight of these tough young people by helping out with some cash as well. I hope you'll all join me in such a worthwhile investment.