Monday, March 12, 2012

INCREDIBLE WEEKEND! (YOU MUST READ THIS!)

Well, I don't know how to say this except to say God is good. He's so good! And I'm not just talking about the spectacular weekend weather we just enjoyed in Chicago. You have to read this post in it's entirety! I know so many of you have been praying for Andrew Park and his family as well as Connor Lim (see their stories HERE) and became aware of their stories through Kim's cancer.

the Park family
Kim and I have known Andrew since he was a young boy because Kim was his pastor when she was the Sunday School Director at Calvary. It's hard to believe that he is 17 years old now! He was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia literally the day after Kim was officially diagnosed with lymphoma in early January. Our trials have been inextricably linked from day one, and we both firmly believe that this happened so that we could both encourage and pray for one another as we walked through this trial hand in hand.

the Lim family
We became aware of our 7 year-old friend Connor, in late January (a few weeks after Kim's diagnosis), through one of my sister's good friends who is his aunt. Connor was born with an extremely rare cancer called "X-linked Hyper IGM" which results in a devastating immuno-deficiency that he needs monthly treatments for, in order to buy time. It turns out that his family only lives 10 minutes from us and so we were able to swing by after a doctor's visit and spent a couple hours meeting and talking with his parents. They have been searching for approximately 6 years for a match for Connor and they finally found one in Japan late last year. It was about to be the best Christmas present ever but the donor backed out at the last second. Obviously, they were all devastated. Especially considering how long it took to find a match..

As such, both of these children and their families have become near and dear to us and I have some incredible news to share with you...

First of all, it must be said that Andrew's outlook was (and is) more dire than ours. His cancer is a very rare one and mutated from another cancer he was in remission from 3 years ago. He has been in and out of the hospital so much my heart aches for him. About 3 weeks ago (see Joe's post HERE) Andrew got news that after only one round of intense chemotherapy his cancer was in remission. Dr. Morgan Andrew who is a leading expert in the field and has seen it all was absolutely shocked. She did not expect this at all - she expected a few rounds at least. This meant that Andrew could immediately begin looking for a bone marrow donor which was his only chance of putting this cancer into complete remission. That said, even in the wake of that good news the joy and enthusiasm was tempered as the doctors told him that because Andrew has a serious chromosomal defect even if they were to find a match the chances of a transplant actually succeeding (and ultimately his long-term survival) were extremely low. When Joe asked the doctor, "What the chances of the chromosomal defect would correct itself?",  Dr. Morgan said, It would be miraculous”.  It was then that Joe and his family resigned to the fact that Andrew would in all likelihood not be with them much longer. Things looked very bleak.

However, Friday night I got some great news from Joe - you can read an excerpt from his blog below but please read his entire post HERE):
Well folks, Jenn and I got a call from Dr. Morgan today saying after further molecular testing:  ANDREW’S NO LONGER HAS A CHROMOSOMAL DEFECT!  Chromosome seven and eight are no longer fused together!  I asked her how and she said that is not the right question, we should be ecstatic and rejoice!  PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!  There is no explanation for this at all, except the prayers of God’s elect have been graciously answered!  My friend in California, who is an accomplished cardiac thoracic surgeon, said to me awhile back, medicine can do so much, but it’s ultimately God that is in control. WHAT DOES THIS NEWS MEAN?  It means Andrew’s chance of survival after transplant just got EXPONENTIALLY better!  We are meeting with Dr. Sonali to discuss the timetable for transplant.  Dr. Sonali did say with Andrew in remission, responding well to treatment and his chromosomes normal, Andrew’s situation is ideal going into transplant.  So, we still wait for possible donors.  We just found out there may be several 6 out of 8 marker matches that will be tested for possible donation.  Andrew is still a cancer patient and will get another round of chemo in 3 weeks as scheduled, but his chances of survival have gone up!
Please continue to pray for them as they continue to seek a match for Andrew. (See upcoming BONE MARROW DRIVES listed below or visit www.marrow.org to get your own kit mailed to you so you can register! It takes 10 minutes to potentially save a life!) Pray that God in His mercy might heal him fully and pray that they would sense the nearness of God and that our Lord would continue to show himself strong in their lives and that their faith would be strengthened despite all the ups and downs (and I'm sure there are more to come!).

I've been trading emails/texts with Joe all weekend and he was eager for me to share this great news here as an encouragement to everyone who is praying and to inspire more people to register to be a bone marrow match for his son Andrew. Rest assured, I slept with a smile on my face Friday night.

However, as it that weren't enough I received a text the very next morning on Saturday at 9:32am that Connor had found a match. Yes, you read that correctly! I repeat CONNOR HAS FOUND A MATCH!!! I wouldn't believe it if it wasn't true! 

I spoke with Connor's mom Stephanie after I got the text and apparently the donor is from Japan again and appears to have registered sometime last month (somehow God moved this random person's heart to register!). He has been extremely receptive to further testing and moving forward and it looks like, Lord willing, they are shooting for a transplant for Connor in mid-May. Please pray that this donor would not back out (like the last one) and that Connor is able to receive what he needs to conquer his disease. And as with Joe's family please pray that Connor's family would sense the nearness of God and that our Lord would continue to show himself strong in their lives and that their faith would be strengthened regardless of what the future holds.

There is still a long road ahead for both Andrew and Connor and although we still don't know for certain how or when the Lord might answer - it is clear that He is hearing the prayers of His beloved children.

He is good and His love endures forever.... 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21

In His IMMEASURABLE grace,

Peter & Kim


Saving Connor from Saving Connor on Vimeo.

PLEASE NOTE SOME UPCOMING BONE MARROW DRIVES IF YOU ARE IN CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, CHICAGOLAND OR PASADENA AREAS:

Tuesday, March 13th
University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
Illini Union: Courtyard Cafe 
10am to 5pm

http://www.union.uiuc.edu/funspots/courtyard/Default.aspx

Sunday, March 18th
Parkwood Community Church
350 N. Addison Ave
Villa Park, IL
12pm to 3pm
Sunday, March 18th
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena CA 91101
1:30pm to ?
http://www.ppc.net/

Sunday, April 1st
North Shore Chinese Christian Church
1250 Waukegan Road,
Deerfield, IL  60015
12:15pm-3pm

3 comments:

  1. Incredible. You cannot make this stuff up! We serve an amazing God!

    ReplyDelete
  2. To God be the glory! Truly He is the Great Physician! Wonderful, wonderful news. I'm psyched about Andrew's miraculous progress, and Connor's donor match! I was so heavy in heart last week about donors backing out, so this is great news. God is good!

    ReplyDelete