Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Never Forget

Today marks the six-year anniversary that my cousin, Eric William Keeter, died suddenly and unexpectedly from leukemia - AML, or Acute Mylgenious Leukemia. He was 15.

No one in the family ever knew before that day of this, it hit suddenly and he was gone that same day. I'd just begun a new job a few weeks earlier - the call came from my mom at work. I didn't understand what she was saying at first. The words "what" kept coming out of my mouth, as I sat at the desk of my first reporter's job. Car crash? School shooting? Some tragic accident? I fumbled the phone; tears formed; my mind raced. My father was driving to the hospital in Ann Arbor - I rushed to do the same. By the time I arrived there, the whole family was already at his bedside. It was mostly too late.

My aunt and uncle know the details - they witnessed this: Rushing him that morning to the ER with a headache in the very back of his head. A suprising and unbelievable diagnosis. He's being airlifted to U-M for platlets to stop the bleeding in his brain, due to AML. Gone by 6:00 PM that day. Doctors said if they hadn't taken him in, Eric would have died at home in his bed, in his sleep.

His story is important. It must be told. And told again. Over and over. My aunt and uncle carry on that mission. People must be aware that AML doesn't mean any big signs signalling this disease. Just the ones of a typical teenager - fatigue, sleepiness, headaches. The Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is trying to help and doing what it can to help. Please help them.

On January 24, WCSX in Detroit (Classic Rock station 94.7) will be hosting a radiothon for the CLF. They've raised $2.9 million, and this is one of the major revenue-generators for the CLF. Morning hosts JJ & Lynne (favs of mine back in Michigan...) handle the radiothon. You can check them out here at WSCX Radiothon. Here's a link to the CLF. We can all help by donating. This is the optional, of course, and the donation period is open until Friday, Jan. 18.

Oh, and you might also be interested to know that Eric's story will be run on the air. And a certain someone (read: ME!) will be there in the studio to tell his story. I hope his story touches those who need to hear it, and it can help do some good. We can all help by remembering Eric, sharing his story, and contributing in whatever way possible to help make sure this type of thing doesn't turn other families upside down.

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