Archive for Cancer

Grieving Mom Lauressa Swedberg Lost 3 Year Old Daughter To Cancer Full Of Grace Donates Daughter’s Organs To Two Pittsburgh-area Boys Giving Them A Chance To Live

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 3, 2015 by sheriffali

Lauressa Swedberg smiled through her grief Thursday as she planned a funeral in Nebraska for her 3-year-old daughter, whose donated organs saved two lives in Pittsburgh.


And two families rejoiced while perched at the bedsides of their respective children in Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. They called the donor, Olivia Swedberg, who died of brain cancer Tuesday, a hero who lives on.


“It’s so hard to describe,” said Lauressa Swedberg, 31, of North Platte, Neb. “I am this mourning mother, but I also feel wonderful to know she is living on. I feel so grateful because I now know that she was here for a purpose — to save others.”


Two-year-old Lucas Goeller of Indiana Township received Olivia’s liver during a transplant surgery that began Wednesday night and ended just before 7 a.m. Thursday.


During a simultaneous surgical procedure, Angelo Giorno, 4, of Derry Township received Olivia’s small intestine to combat a digestive disorder known as short bowel syndrome.


The surgeries performed by two teams lasted for about nine hours, said Dr. George Mazariegos, chief of pediatric transplantation at the Lawrenceville hospital.


“We are thrilled to let you know that all is going well with both boys,” Mazariegos said at a news briefing Thursday. “This is the first step of a new journey for them, but we’re very excited about that journey. I expect with good care and good monitoring, both of these children will be able to live normal lives.”

In Lucas’ case, Mazariegos said, he would have died had he not received a new liver within the next few weeks.


He developed an illness called biliary atresia shortly after birth. The disease inhibits bile ducts in the liver.

“So far, so good. We need to take it one step at a time,” Jessica Goeller, Lucas’ mother, said after the operation.


She said her son still has “a lot of hurdles,” including potential infections and rejection of the organ.


Swedberg said she connected with the Goeller family through Facebook on receiving an email about Lucas’ condition last week and a link to his Facebook page.


“Who couldn’t fall in love with that little boy?” Swedberg asked. “He is amazing, even from the pictures I have seen.”


Lucas waited 18 months for the transplant. A public campaign, including billboard advertisements and social media posts, sought a suitable donor.


Swedberg contacted Lucas’ family over the weekend and offered to help. She said doctors tested Olivia’s liver and deemed it viable Wednesday evening. The organ was flown to Pittsburgh shortly thereafter.


“That’s an incredible person,” Mazariegos said of Olivia’s mother. “This donor’s name needs to be remembered.”


Doctors in May diagnosed Olivia with a terminal tumor in her brain stem. The illness did not affect any of her organs, making her a “perfect organ donor,” Swedberg said.

Still, Mazariegos said, Lucas and Olivia had different blood types. But he said the liver tends to adapt better in children despite the blood mismatch.


In Angelo’s case, his legal guardians Dean Kuhns, 56, and his partner, Dale Darazio, 46, said Children’s Hospital officials called them Wednesday about a possible intestinal match. They were speeding down Penn Avenue just before noon in East Liberty when Darazio said Pittsburgh police pulled them over.


“I just jumped out of the car and told the officer I had to get to the hospital for a transplant,” Darazio said. “He said, ‘Get back into the car and follow me,’ and gave me an escort. He was gone before I could even get a name and say thank you. I’d really like to find out who he is to pay my respects.”


It was just another twist in the emotional roller coaster all families involved were experiencing.


“The fact that both of them were able to be helped by Olivia is just indescribable,” said Lucas’ grandmother, Theresa Goeller. “Olivia’s mother is reaching out to us in such a positive way. She’s so happy that the transplants were successful.”


Since news of the transplants broke, Swedberg said, people from Western Pennsylvania have flocked to a Facebook page honoring Olivia to offer support.


“Social media is incredible,” she said. “I know some people get fed up with Facebook, but without it this would have never happened.”


Mazariegos concurred.


“Social media is definitely changing the landscape for transplantation, and it’s exciting to see the wonderful benefit that it is having in the past few years,” he said.


Ben Schmitt is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. [Author]


Twitter @sheriffali


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Beau Biden, His Father’s Son, Died At The Age Of 46, Served His Country At Home And Abroad In Iraq

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2015 by sheriffali

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden III, the former attorney general of Delaware and the elder son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., died on Saturday in Bethesda, Md. He was 46.


The cause was brain cancer, his father said.


Mr. Biden had spent more than a week receiving treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he died.


In a statement Saturday night, the vice president said, “It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.”


The statement went on to say, “In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”


In 2010, the younger Mr. Biden, known as Beau, had suffered what officials described as a mild stroke. Three years later, he was admitted to the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after what White House officials described at the time as “an episode of disorientation and weakness.”


Officials said in 2013 that the doctors in Texas had removed a small lesion from his brain.


Mr. Biden’s death is a second tragic loss for the vice president, whose first wife, Neilia, and 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident in 1972 when the station wagon they were driving in to go Christmas shopping was hit by a tractor-trailer. Beau Biden and his brother, Hunter, were also injured in the crash, but both survived.


A popular Democratic politician in his home state, who was known to be very close to his father, Mr. Biden served two terms as Delaware’s top law enforcement official before announcing last year that he would not run for a third term so he could make a bid for governor in 2016.


Twitter @sheriffali



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29 Year Old Brittany Maynard diagnosed with terminal brain cancer is going to die on November 1, 2014. November 6, 2014 is going to be 17 years since I survived Lymphoma Cancer. “The Nexus!”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by sheriffali

29 Year Old Brittany Maynard diagnosed with terminal brain cancer moved to Oregon to legally “Die with Dignity,” on November 1, 2014. Oregon is one of the States that has approved the “Die with dignity Law.”  Mrs. Maynard’s story his heart-wrenching.


ABC News link to her tragic story;   


I was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer and the root of the cancer was lodged in my Spinal Cord. The Oncologist and Bone Marrow Specialist advised that surgery to remove the Lymph Nodes without a Bone Marrow Transplant would only be temporary. Failing to obtain compatible Bone Marrow I was advised to have the surgery and remove the Lymph Nodes and to keep on trying to find the compatible marrow.


The White Blood Count was out of control. I agreed to the surgery.  One day prior to the surgery I fell into a Coma for six days and six nights and woke up on the 7th day to the dismay of everyone. More shocking than anything was the fact that I woke up with a normal White Blood count.


What I did learn from this experience is that “we don’t die before our number is called.” I don’t know whether or not Mrs. Maynard would die on the date she chose to take the legally prescribed medication, but I am going to follow this story.


November 6, 2014 is going to be 17 years since I survived cancer and woke up from the Coma. My story’s link;  


Twitter @sheriffali