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Sunday February 22, 2004

Hi Everyone,

We're here for our forty lashes!!!!! I'm telling you, two healthy active kids will keep you busy!!!! We've been having fun!

Beautiful Girl - 2/4/04There truly hasn't been much going on. We are still waiting for the immune studies from her 9 month blood tests, but hopefully we'll have them within the next week. We are hoping that we can get her into school in the next month or so! Talk about mixed emotions! On one hand, we are sooooo ready and on the other, it scares us to death because we won't be there to protect her. We think about how rough kids can be and how fragile (read klutzy) she is and we cringe. She's doing well with her homebound schooling and loves her teacher.

What?Nick is just as much of a maniac as ever!!! It is amazing how fast that kid moves! He is cruising all over the place, but luckily he's not walking yet. We are definitely not ready for that! He is such a happy baby now, what a difference from when he was a couple months old! He's hilarious around women! Especially blondes. The funniest thing is if we go out to dinner and have a blonde waitress. He pulls out all the stops and flirts up a storm! If we happen to sit by a young couple on a date, he'll work on the girl and Alex will work on the guy!!!! My kids are definitely Italian flirts!!!!

Princess on her bedThursday (February 19th) was Todd's and my 10th anniversary! We don't know what's more amazing, that it's been 10 years or that a little over half of that has been spent trying to keep Alex alive! Either way, WOW! My wonderful (read temporarily insane) parents came up last weekend and shooed us out for a quiet weekend ALONE!!!!!! So, off to Vancouver we went for three glorious nights - ALONE! We had a wonderful time being pampered, lazy and well fed - ALONE! Did I mention that we were alone???!!! My parents on the other hand were quickly reminded why you have kids young and why one of the first responses from parents when you ask them how they are is, "tired"! Let's just say that Nick kept them a little busy!!!!

Damn I'm cute!We are getting ready to leave for Washington D.C. in about a week or so. We don't have confirmation on our flight from Corporate Angel yet, but we may be leaving next Thursday. We are going with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to speak to our two Senators and Congressional Representative about the funding (or lack thereof) for cancer research. We will be hitting hard especially on the NIH cuts that Bush has put through and the damage that it's going to do to all the progress that has been made in the past few years. While we are very happy to be going and honored to have been asked, we wish we weren't talking to our representatives, but those that have actually voted with Bush on his policies. I will refrain from getting up on my soap box as Todd is going to be up there long enough for both of us.

Tea time with DaddyAt the end of April, we will be returning to Duke not only for Alex's one year studies, but also for the Rainbow of Heroes Walk. This is a walk not only to honor the patients that have had and are having transplants, but to raise money for the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Family Support Program. The Family Support Program does amazing things for the bone marrow patients and their families. Some of the things that they are responsible for are the Best Buddy Volunteers, CellMates (kids support group), and ArtMates (kids craft time) for the patients. For the families they have a Crisis Team, pagers, phone cards, community meals, and Salon Day. Two of the things that we used the most were the community meals and Salon Day. Every Tuesday afternoon, Jane Schroeder walks onto the unit carrying a large stack of Pizza Hut pizza in all varieties! She is quickly stalked by parents that have been standing at the windows of their child's room waiting for her! The parents sit in the family lounge and eat, talk, vent, cry and comfort one another. At least two times a month fresh pastries and bagels are brought in from a local bakery and the same thing happens, although at a slower pace as mornings tend to start a bit later on the unit. Something about your kid keeping you up all night puking or having to go to the bathroom every twenty minutes makes it a little difficult to drag yourself out of bed too early! Salon Day happens twice a month and is such a lifesaver!!!! I can't tell you what a relief it is not to have to worry about finding a hairstylist in an area that you're not familiar with and then, having to leave your sick child to go there! After all, not too many people can go four months or sometimes more without a haircut! The stylists come to the floor to cut, color and do whatever else is necessary to keep the parents looking like they actually have time to take care of themselves! It's awesome! All of these things are provided at no cost to the families and with no financial help from the hospital.

They don't feed me enough around here!The Family Support Program survives solely by donations (yes you're about to get hit up), mainly raised through this walk. So, we need your help!!!! Please consider making a donation to this very vital part of the bone marrow families' lives while on the unit! In fact, please consider hitting your friends, families, neighbors and employers up for donations as well!!! Donations should be made payable to: Duke PBMT-04RH with Alex Martini written in the memo section. They can be mailed directly to: Jane Schroeder DUMC 3350, Durham, NC 27710 or to us at 2504 7th St NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335. Click here if you would prefer to make a donation with a credit card.

In the section titled "Designate my Gift to the following:" make sure to check the box for Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, which can be found listed underneath the "Non Annual Fund Designations".

Lastly, in the comments write "Rainbow of Heroes Walk" and "Alex Martini". Click here to read more about the walk and the Family Support Program. Thank you!

As usual, this has taken me much longer than it should to complete! Thank you for your patience with us and our slowness in updating the site. We will try to update as soon as we get back from D.C. to let you know how it went!

Take Care,

Andrea, Todd, Alex and Nick

More Photos...

Todd's Blog
Today's Subject: MTBE & the NIH Budget Cuts


Hi Everyone,

In the past I've been hesitant to politicize Alex Update for fear of offending anyone, but recent events have changed my mind. You may ask what events I'm referring to. They are the following...

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