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I'm writing to you to nominate Jo-An Feller and her family for the Extreme Home Makeover. I've had the pleasure of knowing Jo-An and her family for over 20 years. My brother and her son, Darin, joined the Army and trained for the Special Forces together. And have been best buddies ever since, over 20 years now. I haven't come across any family more deserving than them.
Cancer has devastated their lives; the results are overwhelming to say the least.
It all started when Jo-An's father was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, more than 50% of people newly diagnosed with Lung Cancer already show signs of cancer elsewhere in the body. He started chemotherapy and then was on radiation treatments, but to no avail. He lost his battle within a few months. Jo-An and the whole family were devastated.
They got through the grieving process and started to get their lives back together. Everything seemed to be going well. Until Jo-An's husband, Ron, was in a accident that left him permanently disabled. The family pulled together again. Shortly after that Ron had a Heart Attack from Coronary Heart Disease. And ended up having to have double bypass surgery, where they remove a length of blood vessels from elsewhere in the body and attach one end to the Aorta and the other end to the Coronary Artery downstream of the blockage. Things were going better, then unfortunately he had yet another Heart Attack. And this time he had to have Triple Bypass surgery.
Their son, Darin was already in the Army. Shortly after he was honorably discharged from the Army, he felt a lump by his ear. So he went to get it checked out only to find out that he had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A type of cancer that arises in the Lymphatic System (body tissues that fight infection and perform several other vital functions in the body). According to the American Cancer Society in 2005 more than 56,000 people in the US developed Lymphoma and 19,200 loss their battle. Needless to say his family and friends were in total disbelief and shocked. He was started on Chemotherapy and then Radiation Therapy. I really think his positive attitude attributed to his survival. He is still cancer free right now. But the treatment did take a toll on his body. He is still on multiple medications.
Again they tried to get their lives back together and were doing a pretty good job of it when they were forced to face more devastating news. Ron was having trouble swallowing and was immediately taken to see his doctor. After running several test they found out that Ron had Throat Cancer on December 22, 2006. A cancer that forms in the tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). The prognosis was dismal. He started Chemotherapy and then Radiation treatments. Jo-An's son, Darin was there to help out...he had been through it and knew what to expect. Unfortunately he lost his battle in April 2007.
The family was again devastated.... He was diagnosed and just less than 4 months later he was gone! Jo-An was married to Ron for over 40 years and he did everything for her. Darin was so busy staying strong for his mom that he didn't have enough time to grieve.
To top it off while all of this was going on Jo-An's mom, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, which is a progressive and fatal brain disease. It destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior, severe enough to affect work, life long hobbies and social life. It gets worse over time and is fatal. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. She is now @ stage 4 of the disease and along with it she has edema and heart failure. She is now bedridden and is on Hospice, but they only come out 4 days a week and about an hour each time. And it is really taking a toll on their family and they could use some more help, but unfortunately they cannot afford it.
Jo-An has multiple health problems of her own to deal with, which include thyroid problems, a brain tumor, seizures, migraines and high blood pressure. Which also makes it hard for her to care for her mother (Elizabeth) all alone. And that is where Darin comes in. He is there 24/7 to care for both of them. In order to make sure they are well taken care of Darin put his life and plans for the future on hold.
Thank you so much for your time,
77 Hollywood Ave
San Jose, CA 95112
We the undersigned would like to nominate the Feller Family to be on the Extreme Home Makeover Program.
Cancer and other health problems have devastated their lives.
They have always been and still are givers. Helping people in need and giving them support in whatever way they can. They also did volunteer work helping to rescue exotic animals for years.
Now they are the ones in need of your help.
So please help me help them.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read their story.
I really appreciate it.