The following was posted two years ago. Sent by Stephen Vermillion’s brother, Ryan, through the Potomac Boat Club Yahoo Group, we wanted to share it with all of Steve’s teammates, friends and supporters out there, and let you know that Stephen continues his fight today, November 6, 2012. Your prayers and good thoughts are much appreciated by Stephen and his family … so keep ’em coming.
We’re thinking of you, Stephen. Hurry back.
I wanted to bring you up to date on Stephen and ask for your special thoughts and prayers tomorrow. As many of you know Stephen has been battling leukemia for over 18 months. That is a long time, for someone to stay strong, upbeat, thankful and appreciative for everyday he has while battling a disease that ultimately wants to kill him.
Stephen has been a real warrior, trooper, stud or whatever adjective you want to use during this period of time. Think of what you have been through the last 18 months, we have had two Christmases, two New Years Eves, two St. Pattys Days, we have all had our birthdays and some of us have had two birthdays since Stephen’s diagnosis. We have had births, deaths, times to smile and times to cry, good times and bad times. We wake up and complain about the rain, the snow, our jobs, our class work but we wake up and move on with our day. Stephen wakes up with leukemia every single day. He has to go through another day of chemotherapy, blood transfusions, bone marrow biopsies, spinal taps, platelets, IV antibiotic drips, CT scans, radiation, skin biopsies and coughing down more pills than 10 people should take.
At times he is his old self, talking, laughing, teasing but other times he is tired, quiet, reserved, in pain, dizzy, nauseated, cold, hot, irritated but he pushes forward not knowing where this journey will take him. He has been declared cancer free, he has been told he beat it, he has received a bone marrow transplant that was supposed to be the answer. He has been told he is strong and not the normal patient, that is body is in great shape and the chemo has not had any detrimental effects on his organs but … he still has leukemia. He has done everything the doctors have asked him to do. He told me one time he would give his left leg if that would cure him, he is willing to do anything to continue to be a husband, father, son, brother, cousin, and friend.
Tomorrow Stephen will be receiving his second bone marrow transplant at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. This time he will be receiving his bone marrow from his 13 year old daughter Sarah. Can you think of a better gift you can give a parent than life? We would all want to give our parents the gift of life, they gave it to us and how great would it be that we could give it back, well Sarah will be doing just that tomorrow morning. Sarah will give her father the gift of life through her bone marrow. Tomorrow morning think of and pray for Stephen and Sarah, that their day will go well and that ultimately this bone marrow transplant will cure Stephen. I know that is what Sarah wants and she believes she is going to save her Dad. We all have busy days, we are pulled in many different directions, demands on our time are always there. When you think you are having a bad day think of what Stephen and Jennifer have gone through the last 18 months.
Tomorrow morning think of and pray for Stephen, give him the strength he needs to continue the fight. The Doctors are amazed at Stephens physical condition, his ability to tolerate chemo, his mental fortitude they can’t understand it and they don’t have an answer. There is someone who has the answers, our mother. She knows where Stephens strength comes from, it comes from your continued prayers and thoughts. There are thousands of people praying for Stephen, please keep it going, it is working. One day Stephen will finally be able to say he is cancer free.
Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do for Stephen, Jennifer, Sarah and Joe.
I know I have missed family and friends with this email, please forward it on to any of Stephens friends that I have missed, the more people praying the better.
God Bless you all,
Ryan P. Vermillion