The holiday season can be very overwhelming for many-the shopping, the parties, baking and the awful traffic. The truth is, even though there’s a ton of running around, it’s also one of the greatest times of the year. It’s about being with loved ones creating new lasting memories and also remembering the best of times.
This week LivFree, with the help of friends and family, put a wonderful package together for a special family. A few months ago six year old Lea was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare brain cancer. We fell in love with her families’ courage and knew we wanted to give them something extra special for Christmas. They spent 27 hours in NYC with a bunch of fun activities such as the Rockettes, brunch at American Girl, dinner at Carmine’s, and visited Santa at Santaland at Macy’s. They spent the holidays the way it was meant to, together making memories that will stay with them forever.
To follow Lea’s story: Lessons From Lea
Meet Ryan, he is currently fighting leukemia.
He is an energetic boy that loves machines. We couldn't think of a better place than Diggerland USA for him and his family to spend some time. As you can see below he had a great time!
We met him and his family while he and Lauren were being treated for Leukemia. Boys have a longer treatment than girls but Ryan is finishing up his chemo soon. After 3 years of intense treatment he has already had his last dose of intravenous chemo and will finish treatment all together in the next few weeks.
His family has done a great job with raising awareness by hosting and supporting many events across Connecticut. They will be hosting their annual Poker Run in October with proceeds benefitting LIVFREE! More info to come on that!
Once again, a huge thank you to all of our supporters and sponsors.
Meet Jimmy, he is a survivor of Bi-lateral Retinoblastoma.
His cancer was discovered at 26 months old. He fought hard for 5 1/2 years through a gauntlet of treatments and procedures. His family is happy to report as of last week, they are 5 years clear. He is very excited to be turning 13 this October.
He was only the 8th child in the world to receive an experimental procedure called interarterial chemotherapy. There was a tremendous amount of risk but proved successful and has since become standard procedure for treating thousands of patients after him. The best part is that most of these kids are keeping their eyes now because of the knowledge gained from the experimental trials.
He is incredibly proud to have taken part in that now that he is old enough to understand.
He will be attending 8th grade at Flood Middle School and plans to run for president of the student body this year while maintaining his straight A average!
Because of your support we were able to send Jimmy and his father to a Yankee game. It was a special night as they faced their bitter rivals, the Red Sox. From the looks of it, they had a blast!
Dr. Joe and Dr. Claudia
Not sure if we ever posted this but these two people are very special to us. Dr. Joe and Claudia were Lauren's primary care givers throughout our whole treatment process. We cannot thank them enough for all they have done for us and continue to do for other families. I especially want to thank Dr Joe for the prescription to go golfing, it was exactly what I needed!
Here is a great note we received from the Keil Family....proof that what we are doing is making a difference.
Livfree was so kind to gift our son Dylan and our family with a day of family fun at "A Day Out with Thomas the Train.". We spent the day together, worry free, enjoying our family time together. It was the first time since our son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of two, that we have spent the entire day together doing something fun and worry free. We are so appreciative to Livfree for giving our family the gift of family time, memories, and carefree living for the day. Cancer families have enormous daily struggles and we are very thankful for LivFree for giving us amazing memories ❤️
Below is Cruz, a young boy that has beaten brain cancer. He has defied the odds in so many ways and now plays soccer regularly. We had a chance to speak to his Dad and their family wanted to go to the Great Wolf Lodge in Massachusetts. We are always up for creating quality family time so LIVFREE provided a whole weekend at the lodge and all the water rides that go along with it. Their family had a great time and his smile says it all. It was such a privilege to work with this family. The mission continues... #50
Gavin and his little sister, Harper, were able to spend a day at the New England Aquarium in Boston this weekend. Gavin is currently fighting leukemia and finishes up in a couple of months. We are so happy that we were able to provide smiles to the whole family! Thank you all for helping make this happen!! #49
Skating on Sherman Green 2017
⛸It was such an honor to bring such a great event to Fairfield. Thank you all for the amazing support. The smiles were endless and the energy was electric. Thank you to our sponsors, all amazing families and businesses, without you all we could not have pulled this off. To our awesome volunteers, thank you for everything. You worked your butts off and took care of all our needs. You are so special to us and we cannot thank you enough. Sincerely, thank you to everyone involved in spreading the mission of LIVFREE and Al's Angels! And now, on to the next one... 🦁
Tea and Keyonna
LIVFREE had such a great weekend and it was capped off by being able to provide tickets to two families to see a Disney on Ice! Dressed up as Snow White is Téa. She is 2 and is fighting Neuroblastoma. She had a small break in treatment and was able to go see the show with her family. She will be getting a stem cell transplant in the next couple of weeks and can use the prayers, visit her page at Tough for Téa.
Keyonna and her family also attended the show and had a great time with her mom and cousins. She just finished up her treatment for leukemia after fighting for two and a half years.
This week four families that have been or are currently going through some very tough times experienced some fun family time. The impact we are having on the morale of their family unit is HUGE! Thank you all for playing a role in assisting these families.
Oliver and Brian
Oliver on the left and Brian on the right (Oliver's brother, Simon, in the middle). They had two different cancers but were treated at the same time, same place. They met briefly while they were fighting cancer and they met again while they bunked together at camp for patients and survivors. Both have done an outstanding job fighting their respective battles. Apparently they had more in common as both are huge Lebron James fans. Tonight Lebron and company were in Brooklyn to face the Nets and LIVFREE was able to link them back up and provide tickets for them to see the King in action. So blessed to be able to provide this night out for two very deserving young men and their families. Again, it's you, our supporters that make this happen. 2017 is the year of LIVFREE!!
Ethan, after nine trips to the doctor and emergency room, was diagnosed with an anaplastic Ependymoma . He was life-starred to Yale, where he underwent a 16 hour surgery, followed by radiation and months of chemo. He needed to relearn how to walk, talk, swallow, breathe, and just be a little boy. Earlier this week LIVFREE provided his family with tickets to see their favorite team play, the Flyers. This experience was so memorable for them all as the game went into overtime and eventually was settled by a shootout. One of the players even threw them a souvenir puck! Such a great family and we are proud to have met them. Once again, it is the supporters of LIVFREE that allows us to make this happen. Thank you all for your support and for providing this family with a memorable experience.
With all of your help and support we were able to provide Anthony's family with tickets to Hershey Park! Anthony, pictured in the tank top, was one of the first young men that we met when Lauren was first diagnosed. I remember him being quiet and polite but had a great energy about him. We keep meeting these young kids with such great spirits. Although he may not know it, he has had a tremendous impact on us. As we watched from afar, he taught us perseverance. Thank you for that Anthony! #cancerisntwinningoverhere
Last week Katrina, Lauren and I took a walk around the block to meet up with our neighbors. The boy in the picture is Ray and he recently beat lymphoma. He is great to be around and has a pretty good jump shot (he also dunked on me but in my defense the rim was lowered). His mom had told us that they had been wanting to go to Lake Compounce for a while so we worked on it and made it happen. This weekend they spent some family time just doing what kids do... Enjoying the summer. We cannot make things like this happen without the support of our followers, sponsors and donors. Thank you to Bender Inc. for your support and helping make this happen.
Meet the Warner-Garcia family. Their youngest son, Matthew, beat brain cancer. He has been such an inspiration to so many families within the cancer community and he even volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House. When LIVFREE had approached the family they said that they loved the Red Sox. We instantly knew that we would work to get them there. One of our teammates pulled some strings and we got them tickets to a game. To make this an even better experience, they were also given access to the field during batting practice. Every single person that has supported LIVFREE has had a huge impact and we are making this world a little better one family at a time. #cancerisntwinningoverhere
On a beautiful summer night, a young man, Brandon, was able to take a break from chemo therapy and enjoy a Yankee game with his father. He is fighting leukemia and has been recently admitted to the hospital for impatient chemo. On Monday, he was discharged just in time to attend the Yankee game. It was a very fitting game for him to be at. In the bottom of the ninth the Yanks were down 7-3 and the game seemed all but over. All of a sudden they put a few hits together and the game was tied. Then Didi Gregorius came to the plate with a man on and he belted a pitch into the stands for the walk off home run. I'm pretty sure Brandon understood what happened there. The Yankees, despite the adversity, never quit and came out victorious.
Brandon, your energy in infectious. You have a glow that lightens up the room (even a dreary hospital room). We know the battle you have ahead of you is going to be a tough one. When things get hard, just think back to this game. Think back about how in the bottom of the ninth the yanks kept fighting and pulled it off. Then step up to the plate and be Didi Gregorius.
While our staff was working on the final details for our event, our third family was off enjoying The Dinosaur Place. With contributions from all of you, LIVFREE had the pleasure of providing an awesome day for a family that recently beat Leukemia. You can follow this young boy's incredible story here at Victor's Victory. Thank you for your support and assisting us with providing much needed family time to another amazingly strong family.
Here are some of the memories they created, looks like they had a dino-mite day!
A day at the Zoo
A special thank you our very first sponsor, Ener-G Tech, Inc. With their donation we were able to send our first family to enjoy a break away from cancer treatments. They enjoyed a beautiful day at the Bronx Zoo. This was a huge milestone for LIVFREE and now we have 99 more to go for this year!!!
My name is Irene Blum. When I was 20 years old, I was a full time college student, full time worker, and a single mother of an awesome little boy named Jason. My life was very busy and I noticed I couldn’t keep up anymore. I was very tired and I had a persistent deep ache in my right leg that was so intense it would wake me up from deep sleep. I complained to my doctor for months before an MRI discovered an aggressive growth in my tibia. I was referred to Yale Orthopaedic Oncology where a biopsy revealed I had an extremely rare and aggressive form of pediatric bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. My treatment consisted of a year of high-dose chemotherapy and countless surgeries. They called me “Murphy’s Law Girl” because everything that could go wrong during treatment, did. The most debilitating complication resulted in an above-the-knee amputation. I was practically inpatient for 10 out of 12 months. During my treatment at Yale, I met Lauren Vieira and her amazing family. I became very close with them and confided in Daniel that being away from my child was tearing me apart. Just trying to stay alive not only hurt me, but hurt my son too because his mommy wasn’t around anymore. I went from being his primary caregiver to being lucky if I could see him during weekend visits at the hospital... Jason moved back in with me a couple weeks into remission and joined me at LIVFREE Day in 2015. I was honored to be the first recipient of the priceless gifts of being able to create memories with my son because I missed out on a whole year of his life. The Vieira family gave me gift cards to museums, restaurants, movies, and other family-oriented establishments in Fairfield County. My son and I enjoyed every single outing and we spent much needed quality time with one another. Checking out the sharks at the Maritime Aquarium, eating at the Cheesecake Factory, and watching movies in our local movie theater helped us momentarily forget about stupid cancer and what it did to us. The Vieira family gave my son and I the best summer of our lives because we knew firsthand how precious and short life could be. So we soaked up every opportunity to experience joy, happiness, and create new positive memories to replace those terrible ones.
In the Cancer world everything is new or at least it seems new. You don't know too much or you never heard of the different organizations or events. You never really knew compassion and the meaning of support either until you become a part of this community. You see we didn't know this world until April 2015 when H, my 12 year old son, learned that he had osteosarcoma in his femur. In the beginning of this journey we learned first hand how funds are limited. Families who have been through this journey know first hand how hard it is and, even though they're in need themselves, they always want to help out others. One organization was LIVFREE. We were going to Washington DC for Curefest and since it was a planned trip we booked the hotel and event for that night. Days before the trip, we received and email for a chance to tour the White House. This was a great opportunity for us but financially it was a little difficult. We posted on social media how we had to pass this opportunity and with no hesitation we were messaged by LIVFREE with an offer that we couldn't pass up. With their help, we were able to leave two days prior to the event and get a hotel room. We were able to sight see DC and tour the White House. LIVFREE free gave us the opportunity to enjoy our stay and see the White House, but they also taught us what love and caring is. We thank them for helping us create memories and life lessons of how the cancer community works.
The Alvarez Family
1st Annual LIVFREE Event
Thank you to everyone that supported us and helped make our first event a great success! Here's a look back: