Tuesday, February 1, 2011

To Our Friends of the Sarcoma Alliance

The following note and the story below was mailed out for our annual appeal in December. Thank you to all who donated to help us continue our mission of providing guidance, education to everyone affected by sarcoma.

The personal story in this annual appeal newsletter was written by my daughter Alison. She was only 13 when she was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a dangerously aggressive cancer with only a 50 percent survival rate. Imagine the horror of flipping a coin to determine whether your child would live or die; that was what it was like for me 14 years ago.

Fortunately for our family, Alison was in the half of children with a good outcome. However, her story did not start out well. Like many others with sarcoma, she was misdiagnosed, delaying the start of treatment. Her initial surgery was done incorrectly, potentially increasing the risk of spreading the cancer. By extreme good luck and a lot of difficult research, we overcame this dreadful beginning by doing almost everything else correctly. We sought out a second opinion from a sarcoma expert and changed chemotherapy as a result. We found a surgeon who knew sarcomas and removed the tumor with clean margins. We traveled to have radiotherapy at a hospital with extensive experience in sarcoma.

It shouldn’t take blind chance or extensive research for a person newly diagnosed with sarcoma to obtain the best possible treatment. The diagnosis of a cancer you have never heard of is so horrifyingly numbing that it’s difficult to know where to turn. You feel hopelessly alone. And that’s why the Sarcoma Alliance exists: to provide hope; to empower the person affected by sarcoma; to help them identify the best places to obtain treatment; to provide grants to seek out second opinions from sarcoma experts; to connect them with others who know exactly what they are going through. And we provide all our services for free.

And that is why the Sarcoma Alliance is asking for your generous support to continue to provide these essential services. The Sarcoma Alliance is the only national organization whose sole mission is to provide information, guidance, and support to people affected by sarcoma. As the report by Arthur Beckert our Executive Director indicates, we have provided our services to people in all 50 states of the U.S. and in 21 countries around the world. It is only through past donations that the Sarcoma Alliance has been able to provide hope and information to thousands of people affected by sarcoma, letting them know You Are Not Alone.

Our best wishes to you and your loved ones for a happy, prosperous, and most importantly, HEALTHY 2011.

Joan Darling
President, Board of Directors

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