My father broke the news to me in December 2012 that my Grandfather had been diagnosed with Leukemia. I had no idea what that meant for me or for us as a family. Growing up the only granddaughter, it’s safe to say my Grandfather and I had a bond that nobody in the world could comprehend or come between.
The doctors told us it would be months. Months quickly turned into weeks, and soon days. My grandfather was the strongest man I knew. He served 30+ years in the navy and continued to work until he wasn’t physically able. There is no feeling in the world like seeing the strongest person you know be torn down mentally, physically and emotionally by an illness… and not being able to help.
My grandfather was a blood donor his entire life. Near the end of the battle he was blood transfusion dependant. He would receive a blood transfusion every two weeks to hopefully give him a couple days of life. When the doctors gave word that he had three weeks left to live, I was on a plane to say my “see you later.” I was lucky enough to be in town during one of the transfusions. After eight or so hours in the hospital, the following day he was able to go swimming and out to eat with the family. A thousand words could never explain how thankful I am for that day with him. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has given blood or plans to in the future. Thank you.
Now, I can’t go a day without hearing the word cancer. Seven months since his funeral and I still cringe every time someone says the word. I had heard of Leukemia before but had never met anybody suffering from the disease itself. I am so incredibly thankful that my Grandfather lived to see 72 successful, happy years. Leukemia typically strikes much younger – very young children often suffer. Studies show that one in every five people know a person who has died or is suffering from a blood cancer: mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandchildren, grandparents, husbands, wives, friends, co-workers.
Since 2009, 55 candidates in the Indianapolis Man & Woman of the Year have raised nearly $1.8 million. Candidates are chosen each year to participate in a 10-week fundraising competition to earn the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s ‘Man & Woman of the Year’ titles by raising funds for blood cancer research.
This year, my father, Douglas Karr has been chosen as a 2014 candidate. My dad is the Chief Marketing Officer of Circupress, the CEO of DK New Media, founder of The Marketing Technology blog, and author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies. With my father’s technology background and large network throughout the city, he has decided to put on a Music and Technology Festival here in Indianapolis. On April 27, 2014, music will be played throughout the day in the Beer Garden of the Rathskellar and a technology conference will be held downstairs where you can see and experience the best marketing and technology the state has to offer.
Thank you so much, to the Rathskeller for opening their hearts and venue to this upcoming event. The night will be filled with live, local musical talent while raising awareness for local marketing and technology companies. All proceeds from ticketing, sponsorships, and donations at the event will be benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma society – going directly to research, support and information programs for blood cancer patients.
While my grandfather can’t attend, I’m sure his spirit will fill the air. Come join us!