Making Their Dreams Come True

Bridgeport, WV (US)
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Created 1 week ago
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Fertility Treatments

Making Their Dreams Come True

by Jacquie Amer

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  • $12,000.00

    Fundraiser Goal
  • $530.00

    Funds Raised
  • 48

    Days to go
$530.00 raised of $12,000.00 Goal
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Bridgeport, WV (US)

Jacquie Amer is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Elizabeth Hunter.

Campaign Story

Theirs was truly a love that stood the test of time.

Liz told me that she first fell for my brother back in the 80’s when she was in grade school. He was over at a friend’s house (who happened to be the older brother of her best friend) and it was love at first sight…for her. Mika, my brother, being six years older than Liz, didn’t know she even existed. No, my brother’s world consisted of football, trading cards (as blood sport naturally), and obsessing over Walter Payton…and girls his own age.

Years later, Liz was out one night with a college friend, who had mentioned her friend Scott was coming out and bringing a friend. Liz recognized Scott’s name, as he was the older brother of her childhood friend, and she wished and hoped (and probably prayed) that Mika would be the friend who walked through that door…and he was.

Liz and Mika dated for a few months, moved down to Myrtle Beach with a bunch of friends that summer and had a great time; however, college started back for Liz, and Mika was moving back to Philadelphia. A quick love affair, yes, but a memorable one. She was the right woman at the wrong time.

Nine years passed. There was some communication over the years, maybe a “hello” over Facebook or an email sent, but they both had begun to live their lives. Mika moved back to West Virginia and Liz was living in New York.

Which brings us to June 2010.

Mika was visiting me in Philadelphia and broke his arm while carrying a case of eggs. We rushed to the ER, fearing surgery, and hoping for a simple cast. The news we received was so much worse than we could imagine.

Cancer.

Multiple Myeloma, to be exact. The shock barely wore off before we were told the life expectancy was 3 to 5 years. I was devastated, as was Mika, though he was always the eternal optimist. I sat there dumbfounded as Mika told me he was lucky – lucky that he wasn’t being told he had 6 months to live.

Liz found out about his cancer diagnosis from a friend. After a few weeks, she reached out to him through a message on Facebook. They kept in touch for a few months, though they never spoke of the cancer. No subject was ever off limits with Mika – except his cancer. It wasn’t worth thinking about. He focused on the joys of life and cancer wasn’t going to take that away.

Within four months of Mika’s diagnosis, Liz had packed up her NYC apartment and moved back to West Virginia. She and Mika were not back together, but she told me that she knew in her heart she needed to move back for him, though she was unsure how she would fit back into his life. We all agree this was the smartest decision she ever made.

She and Mika almost immediately got back together, and that bond only strengthened with each passing year. From the day I met Liz, it was like she had always been there. Liz and I still celebrate that day as “our” anniversary.

Multiple Myeloma is a tricky cancer. It is nearly impossible to go into remission. Mika basically didn’t have the choice to stop treatment because a side effect of the cancer is that your bones break easily. Mika battled for years on end. Never achieving remission but trying to stay ahead of the game with the latest clinical trials and cancer drug combinations. He was fearless and signed up for any new medical treatment that there was. Mika said he would do whatever he had to so that he and “his Lizzy” could live the life he always dreamed. He wanted to marry Liz, to have children and to own a home that had a yard big enough “to play football and hit a few golf balls.”

My brother underwent two autologous stem cell transplants (he wouldn’t accept my bone marrow because I had children and he couldn’t accept the nearly non-existent risks for me), 7 clinical trials, 7 bone marrow aspirates, close to a dozen chemo drugs, countless blood and platelet transfusions, 3 surgeries resulting in rods in both his arms and leg and 6 rounds of radiation (all documented in Liz’s immaculately organized binders that she has to this day). And he did all this so that he could have a future with his Lizzy.

They moved from hospital to hospital and state to state over the course of 8 years, being seen at such prestigious hospitals as the Mayo Clinic, Levine Cancer Institute and the WVU Cancer Institute.

After almost eight years together, Mika and Liz were finally engaged. They Facetimed me that same evening and I will never forget the joy on my brother’s face. I can’t say I was surprised, seeing how I’d been hearing it in his voice the whole time we’d had BEEN plotting on the perfect way for Mika to ask for Lizzy’s hand and we couldn’t figure out how to top Uncle Cliff’s legendary proposal!

Their engagement lasted 22 days. Though my brother died, their love story certainly did not.

I never thought my heart would heal, until one day Liz called me a few months after his death and told me that she had gone to the reproductive clinic to have a check-up. She informed me that she and Mika had talked about starting a family about a year before he died. I knew that Mika had followed the doctors’ advice to visit the reproductive clinic before starting cancer treatments, but I was unaware that he and Liz had begun discussing future family plans.

I was OVER THE MOON. Still, she said she needed a bit more time to deal with her grief, but her doctor said that she was healthy, and he was hopeful she could conceive her child with Mika through IVF.

Sadly, it took longer than Liz had hoped. She lost her father unexpectedly only 15 months after losing Mika. Then Covid hit. Then she struggled with some depression (as many of us had during this time).

Things were looking up last summer and she began her fertility treatments. It took a few trial & error months to work out the best plan for her and she successfully went through her egg retrieval last August. They were able to retrieve seven eggs, which pleased her doctor. Of the seven eggs, they were able to create three embryos, though sadly two did not make it to the genetic testing stage (which has been recommended for her). So, she was left with one.

We called it the “little embryo that could.”

We waited with bated breath for the results of the genetic testing. Knowing that a part of my brother would continue to live on in this precious new baby did everything to help heal my heart.

Then I received the call.

The embryo was abnormal. She was told it would not survive.

Anyone who knows Liz knows she’s tough. She hates to show weakness. She battled Mika’s cancer with the same tenacity he did. When his oncologist told her that Mika’s disease was progressing, she stepped up to the doctor’s face, looked him square in the eye and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

She didn’t shed a tear. She never freaked out. She is very protective of her emotions and her heart. I saw this same strength after she lost her embryo.

I know how devastated and completely heartbroken she was. She never showed it, but I knew it was there. When I asked what I could do for her, she just said, “We will always love that little embryo, but let’s look forward to the next one.”

Her doctor reiterated that he was pleased with the number of eggs retrieved during her first round of IVF. He had stated that time could be her biggest enemy, as she was not in her 20’s, but he was confident that she could successfully go another round.

I spent this time really sitting with myself to make sure my motivation was pure. Seeing the way Liz took care of my brother and knowing how much Liz and Mika loved each other and wanted this with their entire being. I knew that Liz would be an excellent momma, that this baby would be raised surrounded by love, and an army of aunts, uncles, cousins and one living Grammy, and that no way would this baby not inherit Mika’s traits with a constant flow of Mika stories from said army.

I also knew Mika would be raising this baby too, through those memories and all that love.

I’ve created this page because she has been unable to undergo another round due to the costs of IVF. These costs are very expensive, as there is lab work, countless ultrasounds, medications, retrieval and implantation costs, etc. IVF costs can exceed $20,000 in some cases just for ONE ROUND.

She will hate that I’m saying this, but she is too proud (and a tad scared) to ask for help. I have told her repeatedly that this is not the time to keep to oneself. This is such an emotional experience, on top of trying to conceive the child of a fiancé who is no longer with us. I’m hoping that by creating this page, that her friends and family might be able to assist in her costs and help her try once more to bring such a precious life into this world.

My brother has now been gone for six years, and the love that he shared with Liz still burns strongly. This is seriously the love of a lifetime, that has stood the test of time. To know that she is still so in love with my brother and still hopes to have the baby they always dreamed of…I feel beyond lucky that I can be part of making their dream come true in real-time (I just wish to God I had started saving from the beginning, so that I could help). Their love deserves to be celebrated and I hope that you will join me in wishing her much success in her journey to becoming a truly amazing mother.

Name Donation Date
Sonny & Chetyl Martin $300.00 June 11, 2024
Ralph Falcone $200.00 June 06, 2024
Anonymous $30.00 June 05, 2024
Sonny & Chetyl Martin commented with a $335 donation about 1 day ago
Praying for you Liz
Ralph Falcone commented with a $235 donation about 6 days ago
You can do this! Being a parent is the most rewarding thing imaginable and we pray for the success or this procedure. Love, Aunt Jo-Del & Uncle Ralph