Sam Gendusa December 4, 2014

Newsletter - December 2014

The Christmas season has its roots in Christianity; Hanukkah springs from the proud Jewish tradition; Kwanzaa is a "celebration of family, community, and culture"; Festivus is easily traced back to the immortal Seinfeld. But regardless of which tradition you celebrate, and even if the above holidays hold no value for you, the “holiday season” that swallows the entire month of December has taken on a life and meaning all its own – it's a time for families to come together.

Every holiday tradition has an emphasis on reflecting on and reconnecting with one of the greatest blessings we have on this earth: our families. Whether your family is bound by blood, love, or friendship, the love is the same, and the holiday season reminds us to stop in our tracks and remember that more important than careers, gifts, or hobbies are the relationships we have with our family, friends, and community.

It makes perfect sense, then, that December is also Human Rights month, does it not? What better picture do we have of a human's universal rights than the one we see in the family ideal? Every member is different; yet every member is equally loved, equally protected. Everyone has somewhere to belong.

Unfortunately, there are still places in our world where outside forces disrupt, decrease, or deny universal human rights. So the holiday season is not only a time to reflect on the family we have, but also to remember those who are being refused their basic right to exist as a free person in a safe and loving community.

For more information about the continuing fight for human rights in the world, please visit the Youth for Human Rights website to get educated and learn what you can do to help fight injustice.

So from the Blue Streak Docs family to yours: Happy Holidays! We hope it’s a wonderful time for you, and may we all remember those out of sight who still need our help!

Matthew's Story

5-year-old Matthew had been very sick with high fevers, lethargy and no appetite. His family brought him to the hospital and doctors diagnosed him with Pre-B ALL Leukemia. He received a bone marrow test and doctors discovered that 90% of his bone marrow and 5% of his blood was infected with leukemia. By day 4 in the hospital, 22% of Matthew’s blood stream was covered in leukemia.

He began chemotherapy immediately, and was admitted to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for a month. He underwent injection and spinal chemotherapy 2–3 times a week for the first year. After that, he started oral chemotherapy, sometimes up to 15 pills a night, injection chemotherapy once a month and spinal lumbar puncture chemotherapy once every 3 months for the next 2 years. Matthew’s reactions to the chemo hospitalized him several times—hair loss, mouth sores, leg pain, platelet transfusions, blood clots, factor 5 (a bleeding disorder) and a platelet function disorder.

He finished his last round of chemotherapy on December 2, 2014 and will continue to see an oncologist until he is 21 years old. Matthew is our true, strong hero.

We are asking for donations on Matthew’s behalf. We’d love to surprise him and his family with a trip to Busch Gardens this holiday season. Your support and love during this season of giving would mean the world to little Matthew and his family. No amount is too small. Let’s work together and take care of this sweet, courageous boy!

If you would like to donate, you can do so by visiting Matthew's Busch Gardens Fund on GoFundMe. Just click HERE!

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