This week we had the pleasure of speaking with a strong woman who is a loving mother, proud grandmother and a cancer survivor. Thirty-one years ago, Ms Donna Coykendall had a two-week-old son when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As she puts it, she began the “fight of her life” and started aggressive chemo and radiation treatments. By the time her son celebrated his first birthday, she was cancer free. Years late, she now has a bill of good health, three children, five grandchildren and a whole new mission: helping to fund research to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancer diseases. Learn more about her story as well as how you can help contribute to her fundraiser.
In addition to her dedication as a teacher and childcare provider, Ms Coykendall is an active participant in Leukemia and Lymphoma Society programs. She has had the good fortune to meet many wonderful people throughout her journey, including one amazing family that changed her life. This family’s young son was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 18 months. He completed 3 years of chemo and medical treatments and was in remission for only a few months when he relapsed. He once again faced an uncertain future of medical treatments/chemo. During this time, a close friend’s husband was suffering from brain cancer. The young boy asked them for a picture of the husband so that he could put it on his refrigerator and pray for him everyday. He also sent the man an 8×10 picture of himself as motivation. This exchange touched Ms Coykendall and made her think, ‘if a young child could think of others while going through such a difficult time, then she could step out of her comfort zone and become part of a cause that could make his life better and could also improve the lives of many other children and adults.’
She signed up to participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society‘s Team in Training program in June 2010 and is continually blessed throughout the experience. She works tirelessly to raise money to help find a cure for Leukemia and other related diseases. With help and support from friends, family and her community, Ms Coykendall has been able to raise over $6000 for the Leukemia Society. She has trained for and completed 2 full marathons for TNT and just started training for her third marathon.
She has met so many people who give their time/money for this cause; teachers, doctors, lawyers, parents and even college students – their strength continues to inspire her to keep going. Her biggest inspirations are the families who are dealing with these dreadful diseases and also the families who have lost the battle with this disease and other blood cancer diseases. Ms Coykendall is doing a fundraiser with Mixed Bag Designs to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to fund research and find a cure. You can help support Ms Coykendall and the LLS by shopping at Mixed Bag Designs and providing the Fundraiser ID#105202. 40% of every purchase made online will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.