Welcome to my Light the Night fundraising page in honor and support of my incredible granddaughter Rachel Spotzl, our inspiration behind our team #rachelstrong. Rachel was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in November 2017, at the age of 7. She had just returned from a family vacation in Hawaii, and Rachel had not been feeling like herself. On a Saturday afternoon at home, Rachel had a stroke and was found sitting on her bed unable to move or speak. She was rushed to BC Children’s Hospital emergency and that is how her journey began. Rachel would not only have to recover from multiple brain injuries, but she had cancer. We were shocked to learn in such a difficult way that a stroke can be a symptom of early onset AML.
The brain injuries Rachel suffered, were a side effect of the AML. During chemo treatments, Rachel had to learn how to eat, drink, walk, talk and learn to understand again. Her memory came back slowly and we started to see the Rachel we knew before the diagnosis. Rachel lived in the hospital for 6 difficult months, only visiting home a few days between rounds. The toll on our whole family was tremendous! Rachel spent nearly a year at BC Children’s Hospital, with only short day trips allowed home. After the fourth round, her counts slowly recovered and Rachel was finally able to move home.
Unfortunately, Rachel’s bone marrow was not able to fully recover before the AML returned. In June 2018, Rachel had relapsed. Her only and last hope was Hayley, Rachel’s sister, my other precious granddaughter, who through testing, proved to be a 50% match and the best chance of beating the Leukemia. Remarkably, it worked! Rachel is now in remission and continues on a long path to recovery.
Rachel in her blood cancer journey continues to show tremendous courage, strength and is remarkably well considering the challenges that she has faced thanks to our supportive and loving community and the because of the incredible advancements in research and new treatments and therapies made possible by generous donations in the community.
Though missing almost two years of school, Rachel is remarkably intelligent, still in her appropriate grade in school and everyday her speech continues to return. I’m forever thankful to have Rachel, my friend and granddaughter in this world today and am continually amazed by the support provided by her mother, father and brave little Hayley.
This year, I will be matching all donations made to my fundraising campaign up to $14,000!! My goal will be to raise in total $28,000 in tribute of my two courageous granddaughters as a part of our collective fundraising goal for team #rachelstrong in our quest to raise $110,000 this year. Please considering donating generously to help us get closer to a cure so that we can have a future where no child experiences the difficulties of a blood cancer diagnosis. Our story is a story of hope and with your support you’ll provide the next crucial step in ending blood cancers once and for all.
Thank you for your tremendous support, it means the world to me, Rachel and our family.
"For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else."