I walk for my Wife Sara O'Brien
During the month of September 2017, Sara had felt extreme pain in her chest bone, shoulder blades, and elbow. After many trips to different health care providers and care centers with no clear answers, a blood test was taken and reviewed by her family doctor. We received a phone call from her urging us to take Sara to Foothills Hospital as soon as possible due to her low red blood cell and platelet counts. Our 6 month old son Killian was left with his grandparents as we headed off to the hospital, driving faster than I ever have for fear of how serious this was.
October 7 2017, Sara was officially diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML for short. The doctors told us that her blood came back with a 70% blast, for those of you that do not know; Blast Cells are white blood cells that are unable to further develop into mature white blood cells. This meant that 70% of the cells present in the test were Leukemic. All of these immature white blood cells were clogging her bone marrow, leaving no room for healthy cells to pass through the marrow and do their job. This crowding of cells is what caused Saras excruciating pain.
It was only a couple of days after Sara’s diagnosis when we received a visitor from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. This visitor was a survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She spoke about her journey and struggles, and shared with us that the room Sara was staying in happened to also be her old room when she was going through treatment. She provided us with a pamphlet from the LLSC presenting The Light The Night Walk. She was soon out the door and moved on to talk with some of the other patients on our floor. But her impact had been made.
All night Sara invested her time into looking at the pamphlet, and searching for more information online. She was inspired, and felt like for the first time during this experience she was not alone, and that there are other people who are going through the same or similar experiences as she is. Sara was also very interested in learning more about our visitor.
She was a volunteer survivor from the LLSC. “She is a very big deal!” Sara said, “She is a local hero and we got to meet her!” Sara exclaimed. Her eyes were wide and bright. It was refreshing to see Sara so happy and inspired. She told me that night she wanted to be apart of The Light The Night Walk if she was feeling better by then. Unfortunately Sara was unable to attend the walk that year, so soon after starting her treatment. However I walked in her honor with our Son. This massive community welcomed us openly and our eyes to were opened by the love and support.
February 6 2018 at 12:29pm Sara passed away surrounded by her family, listening to her favorite music at the young age of 23.