(flowing piano music) I am Jenny Ives, and I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was five years old. I was given a 25% chance to live. Following my cancer diagnosis, I spent the next three months at Albany Med battling life-threatening complications on multiple occasions, including a cardiac arrest. I underwent pioneering chemotherapy treatments for a year. I have been cancer-free for the past 27 years. Today, I am 33, and I am working in the healthcare world. I now enjoy hiking, running, and paddleboarding with my boyfriend and my dog. I would like to thank the Melodies Center for providing top-notch care to me while I was sick but also to thank the staff for their support and encouragement to not only myself but my family and friends during that time. I’m Elizabeth Reuss, and I was three years old when I was diagnosed with an optic nerve glioma, a brain tumor on the nerve that connects the eye to the brain. My parents consulted with experts at the Children’s Hospital in Boston and were told my best treatment option was right in our back yard at the Melodies Center. Surgeons removed the tumor, but, unfortunately, I lost sight in my right eye. I underwent countless MRIs over the years to ensure the tumor didn’t return. The Melodies Center was part of my life for the next 22 years, it became our family. My mom cried when I was declared cancer-free. My parents, Nancy and Mark, were on the original committee that created Dancing in the Woods 35 years ago. Today, I am 28 years old and work as an examiner for New York state. I love downhill skiing and traveling. I remember, during my treatment, the staff was wonderful, magnificent, and amazing. I would like to say thank you to the staff of the Melodies Center because without them, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m Dan Fernandez. I was 12 years old in late November 2001 when I started complaining of terrible back pain. My pediatrician immediately didn’t like what she saw in my blood work. I was shocked and overwhelmed to hear the diagnosis, leukemia. For the next three years, three months, and three days, under the expert care and treatment of Dr. Margaret Leary, Jennifer Pearce, and Joanne Porter, I underwent countless spinal taps and treatments three times a week at the Melodies Center. In May 2005, I finished my final treatments just in time for my oldest sister’s wedding. Today, I am 29 and in my first year of pediatric residency at Albany Medical Center. My positive interactions with the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Melodies Center inspired me to pursue a career in medicine helping kids. I also enjoy playing with my nieces and nephews and my two rescue animals, my cat, Graham, and my dog, a German shepherd mix, Nia. I remember, during my treatment, the staff was amazing. I would like to say thank you to the staff at the Melodies Center because without them, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m Faith Swanson, and I was four years old when diagnosed with leukemia. I underwent chemotherapy over the next 2 1/2 years. I remember, during my treatment, the staff was wonderful. This past September, I celebrated being 10 years cancer-free. I am a sophomore at Red Hook High School and enjoy cheerleading and track. Whenever I go for my yearly visit, I make sure I see my favorite nurse, Janice. I’d like to give a big thank you to the staff at Melodies Center because you have not only helped me through this difficult time, but you have also helped my family. I’m Joe Watroba, and I was 15 years old when I was diagnosed with stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the bone. I underwent seven rounds of chemotherapy as an inpatient at Albany Med under the care of Dr. Jennifer Pearce. My cancer treatments lasted seven grueling months. I was declared cancer-free 11 years ago. During my treatment, the staff was extremely caring, not only caring for myself but caring for my friends and family that came and visited. Today, I’m 27 years old and a senior accountant at Teal, Becker, and Chiaramonte in Albany. I am married to my wife, Michaela. As a co-founder and president of Play It Foreward 518, my family has raised more than $80,000 since 2015 for families battling childhood cancer in the 518 area code. I’d like to thank the staff of the Melodies Center for allowing me to watch SportsCenter 24 hours a day and never turning my TV off. I’m Rylyn Swierzewski, and I was seven years old when I was diagnosed with leukemia. I underwent chemotherapy for the next two years. During that time, I enjoyed singing in Melodies of Christmas for seven years. I was declared cancer-free in 2012, and I’ve been in remission since. Today, I am 16 years old, a junior at Albany High School, and I just ran my first season of cross country this past fall. I love art, and I’m starting to look at colleges. I would like to say thank you to all the staff at Albany Medical Center for saving my life. You impacted me in such a positive manner, and I couldn’t think of the past few years without you guys. I’m Jacob Shell. In 2009, I was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. After the tumor was removed, I underwent six rounds of chemotherapy that summer and fall. Because of the perseverance and determination of Dr. Jennifer Pearce, I was the first patient at the Melodies Center to undergo a new intensive treatment regimen, monoclonal antibody therapy, which enlists a patient’s natural immune system functions to fight cancer. On my mother’s 40th birthday, April 16th, 2010, Dr. Pearce called her voicemail and shared that I was cancer-free. Best birthday present ever. I’m Kashius Mostransky. I was six years old when I started feeling tired during a family trip to The Great Escape in October 2011. My dad took me for blood work. Later that night, my parents received an urgent call to rush me to Albany Med, and that’s when my parents learned that I had leukemia. For the next three years, I underwent treatments and numerous blood transfusions at the Melodies Center. Even though it was a difficult time, they made it as enjoyable as it could be. Every time I would go for a spinal tap, they would bring me bacon and chips, and I loved it. This January, I will have been in remission for the past four years. Today, I am 13, an eighth grader at Lishakill Middle School. I love creating art and playing video games. My favorite thing to do is play soccer. My parents, the staff at Albany Med, and everyone around me made it easier for me to fight leukemia. Hi, my name is Cooper Lare, and I’m seven years old. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 17 months old. I’m Cooper’s mom, Cristen. His stomach was distended, and he had been having lots of fevers. We brought him straight to Albany Med, where they found a tumor growing behind his stomach. He had surgery, and they discovered it was rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. For six straight weeks, he had radiation every morning, Monday through Friday. Through all of this, the Melodies Center doctors, nurses, and staff made us feel like part of their family. This past October, I celebrated five years of being cancer-free. Today, I’m happy and healthy because of the Melodies Center.

Dancing in the Woods 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *