"Maire's Special Crew"
We were honored to have joining us to represent the cancer community these brave souls who fought courageously their own deadly form of cancer.The photos you see here had been placed inside the hull of Maire's boat. Their names were painted on the outside of the sailing vessel by Odawa artist Tom Teuthorn.
We thank the families who have embraced this story.
June 22, 1944 - September 17, 2013
April 20, 2000 - March 1, 2012
April 23, 1969 - July 7, 1995
Passed away June 28, 2012
Passed away December 29, 2012
Beverly Ann Brown
September 9, 1953 -
I hope this letter finds you well.
I hope your spirit is sailing on this boat.
I hope to see you soon, my love.
Nancy, Chrissy, Sean, Kyle, Madeleine, and James
Passed away March 5, 2009
On February 6th, 2009 Brett was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, he was only 25 years old. Here is an excerpt from Brett's carepage in his own words..."Met with Dr. Chugh at U of M. She confirmed that the sarcoma I have is an aggressive and fast moving cancer. It is currently in both lungs and groin lymph nodes. I will have a testicular ultra sound on Friday as well. Just before that ultra sound I will have a port implanted in my chest. Next Monday I will visit the Doctor, get training on my new port and then have 7 hours of chemo. A travel bag will be attached that will continue to administer drugs for another 72 hours. I will do this every 3 weeks and they expect that I could be in chemo therapy for 6 months to one year. Surgery is the best way to remove this type of cancer but because this has spread, that is not the best option right now - they have to go after all of it with aggressive chemo. They have a team of sarcoma specialists that meet every Wednesday night to discuss the cases. This includes the pathologists, nurses and doctors. If they feel I can get better care somewhere else they will refer me to them. Right now they do not know of any clinical research they can send me to which would be my best bet for finding a cure. It is pretty rare for someone 25 to have this type of cancer which is already a rare form of cancer anyway.
We figure that I'm 25 with 25% survival rate so our mantra will be 25 to survive. We will fight this thing and will win. Join me in my journey. They say the squeaky wheel gets oiled. Let's all squeak loud and often so the Big Guy in the sky answers our prayers. Love to all of you.."
Little did we know what was ahead of us. After Brett's first chemo treatment he seemed to get worse and worse. His breathing sounded like someone drowning in water he was always having a hard time walking because he had to use his cane to get around. There was something special about Brett, no matter what he had the most positive attitude, even when the doctor's didn't give him a chance, even when his health was at his worst, he always stayed true to who he was. The tumors where causing Brett's lungs to fill with fluid, so we had to take him into the hospital to get his lungs drained. This is done by sticking a needle into the back and accessing the lung to drain it (not so pleasant). Brett's smile after his lungs were drained was something we all needed to see, the amount of relief it gave him was like taking an elephant of his back. Brett had to go in multiple times to get his lungs drained. The fluid seemed to build up more frequently every time he did it.
Eventually it caught up with him. Brett was in the hospital overnight trying to get his lungs drained and get his body back in order when it happened. He had such a hard time breathing they had to put all sorts of oxygen masks on him, his breathing got worse and worse so they had to knock him out and put a breathing tube down his throat. Brett was then put in ICU that night.
For the next week Brett stayed unconscious with a feeding and breathing tube down his throat. The tumors were growing so fast the doctors did not know what to do. They had to keep him unconscious because of the amount of pain his body was going through. They had to do multiple minor surgeries or "fix-up" while he was in ICU. One night in the ICU I was putting some "special" holy water and saying a prayer to Brett while I stayed the night with him. While I was doing this a tear ran down his face when I was saying some things to him. The doctor says he was unconscious and was completely unaware of what I was saying, but
I believe in my heart that he knew...
After a week in ICU, the doctors had to tell Brett's parents the harsh truth... That he was not going to make it through this. His parents had to make the hardest decision of their lives and accept what the doctors told them. That night we sat around Brett all holding part of his body. Seemed as if timed stopped and we were all in some cruel nightmare while Brett took his last breaths.
On March 5th, 2009, less than a month after being diagnosed with cancer, Brett Johnston passed away at the age of 25. He was a pure inspiration to so many people. His attitude about life and everything it meant was absolutely astonishing,
it is unfortunate that not another person will be blessed with his presence. - Cory Allen
October 4, 1990 - March 1, 2012
Her words to live by: "Don't take the easy road...take risks."