For Joanne McInerney, answering the phones at the WYRK Country Cares for Kids Radiothon to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was an important thing to do. You see, the hospital – it’s staff, doctors, researchers, nurses, technicians – saved her daughter’s life, “I’m here because I want to help. I hope people give as much as they can give. It helps families so much.”
And Joanne should know. Her daughter, Ashley Bedard, was 19-years-old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a very aggressive blood cancer.
Ashley was treated at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. She spent nine months undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant. Nine agonizing months. Followed by a full year of visits every two weeks. The treatment – all of it – was at no charge to Ashley and her family. That is how they do it at St. Jude – they cover all costs – even travel to and from the hospital. Joanne says it allowed her to concentrate on what was most important – her daughter’s care, “We wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.We never would have been able to do what we did.”
What Ashley did was beat cancer. Seven years ago – today – she had that life-saving bone marrow transplant. Her mother is celebrating the day by answering calls at the Radiothon, giving back to the hospital that gave her the ultimate gift.
And while Joanne answers phones to give back – Ashley gives back, too. She graduated from nursing school three years ago – and is now working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Helping children, sharing her story, making a difference, “She gives them so much hope.” And, Joanne says hope really is everything.
But there is more to this story.
Ashley is engaged to be married. Cody popped the question in the lobby at St. Jude – a fitting place for the couple who’ve been together for 8 years – before, during, and after cancer.
And yes, there is even more.
One of the invited guests at the wedding – that bone marrow donor – who helped save Ashley’s life.
It’s all come full circle for this amazing family from Corfu.
Proof of what hope can do, what it can give, what it can mean.
The WYRK Country Cares for Kids Radiothon runs Feb 1 and 2nd. Call 1-800-372-4999 and become a partner in hope.