For a number of reasons, I was nervous about posting Emily’s story. Would I get all the details and medical terms right? Would I be able to write in a way that touched people rather than simply evoke their pity? Would my regular readers be angry or annoyed with me for asking them to give money to people they don’t know? And perhaps most frighteningly of all: What if nobody donates anything?
Then miraculously, the links started piling up. The comments flooded in. And each and every time I opened my email there were 30 transaction notifications from PayPal. Admittedly, my first reaction was just relief that the initial response to the post was positive.
And as the hours ticked by and the numbers ticked up, my relief changed to awe. And then to amazement, to joy, to elation. And finally, to complete and utter disbelief. In the span of a little more than 48 hours, more than $15,000 has been donated to the Mandell family. Yes. Fifteen THOUSAND dollars.
I am humbled to think that the amount raised so far is about 15 times more than I ever in my wildest dreams imagined we could scrape together for this family. And it comes just in the nick of time, because Emily’s pathology reports finally came back from the lab this morning.
Emily has been diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor, or AT/RT. Unfortunately, AT/RT is a very rare, very aggressive and highly malignant cancer with a correspondingly high mortality rate.
Tomorrow morning (Thursday), Katie and Brian will be meeting with a team of specialists to discern the best plan for Emily’s treatment. Most likely, the plan will not include staying in Savannah. AT/RT is very rare (only 30 cases are diagnosed each year) and Emily will need to be under the care of an oncologist who specializes in treating this specific disease. As such, there is not one at their current hospital.
Please, if you wanted to donate and haven’t yet, don’t let the fact that it seems that there is “already so much money” deter you. Medical bills can sometimes total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and as of right now, it is uncertain which route Brian and Katie will have to take to get Emily healthy. Some of the options laid out before them tomorrow might not be covered by insurance. They will also incur travel expenses and living expenses in another area of the country, all while continuing to hold on to their assets here in Virginia. And we don’t know exactly how long Emily’s treatment will last, or how long Brian will have to be out of work.
And if you’re praying, please continue. Pray fervently for wisdom for Emily’s doctors, and strength and endurance for her parents, and for a miraculous healing for Emily herself.
I believe with my whole heart that God orchestrated a financial miracle on this paltry little website. And I believe with my whole heart that he can orchestrate a medical miracle as well. I don’t know why we shouldn’t ask that of Him.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed in any way to this chapter in Emily’s life, and to those who will. Each and every one of you has made a difference to this family, and to me, and to a little girl who we have to believe will grow up and be able to thank you in person for what you’ve done for her.
More information when I have it. Thank you again, a million times over.