Trees of Hope WI- We Introduce our 2012 Ambassador Tony Navarre

Fighting Leukemia and never giving up, meet this local man who has inspired us, and we hope will inspire you too.

I can’t believe it's already the end of July!    This year has gone so fast.  Nov 17th will be here before we know it-  and we continue to make progress towards our 2nd Annual Trees of Hope WI Celebration and Auction to fight Blood Cancers
On July 3rd- Lindsay’s Voice, Inc  was officially registered  as a non-profit public charity.
Our mission is clear: To support local patient services and research in
Wisconsin for blood cancers. To support and advance the development of
less-toxic, more effective cancer treatments. Promote and support Marrow donor
registrations and blood drives. 
Trees of Hope WI will be our Signature Annual Event- 
but we encourage people to reach out to us to assist with Marrow donor
drives, blood drives, etc.  We’d love to help promote your event.


We are honored, this year, to have met a wonderful man that has touched our hearts.
Tony Navarre is our 2012 Trees of Hope WI Ambassador.
He is a 30 year old Special Ed Teacher at Mequon/Homestead High School. His wife is Molly and their daughter, Adeline is 2 yrs old.

He has inspired us and we wish to share his story with you.


In January of 2011,
at the age of 29, I knew that something wasn't right. I was beginning to feel
fatigued with everyday tasks that typically were simple for me. I was nauseous
and had headaches. I wasn't eating and my pillow was typically soaking wet when
I woke up in the morning from sweating. I continued to work full time as a
teacher but went to the doctor numerous times. I was getting prescribed
inhalers and antibiotics and given a diagnosis of the flu and walking
Pneumonia, as well as a staph infection that wouldn't heal and asthma. Finally,
on March 14th 2011, I went to the doctor again and, at the urging of
my wife Molly, had blood drawn. On March 16th, at the end of the
school day, I received a phone call from the doctor that I needed to get to the
Emergency Room at St. Luke's or Froedtert as soon as possible. He was pretty
sure that I had Leukemia. Needless to say, my wife and I were devastated. We
had so many questions but we knew that the word "Leukemia" was never
a good thing.

I was admitted to St. Luke's and immediately placed on the MRICU floor. It was nerve-racking to say the least. My condition rapidly worsened over the next few days as I began chemotherapy. It became impossible for me to breathe on my own. By the 21stof March, I was put into a medically induced coma. The initial intention ofplacing me in the medically induced coma was to let my lungs recover, but there were numerous complications during this time due to the severity of what had happened within my body. The intended five days in the coma turned in to 24. I was "trached" to allow for an easier weaning off of the breathing
machine. I woke up unable to move or talk. I had numerous chest tubes in my
body and a tube coming from my neck. I thought I was on a hospital boat in
Florida. After recovering in the ICU and on the Cancer floor at St. Luke's, I
was able to go home on May 6th 2011. I couldn't believe I had been
in a hospital for 50 days straight.

By May 12th,
I was back in the hospital with an extremely high fever. I had Pseudomonas and
I was put on the bi-pap machine to assist my breathing but did not need to be
intubated this time. I was back to the oncology floor by the 30th of
May. However, my lungs were still in pretty bad shape.

June 20th
was the beginning of another hospital stay and my lungs were so infected they
had to do an invasive surgery called a Thoracotomy. There was an infectious
build up over an inch think in some places. After removing the breathing tube
and the two chest tubes, I was able to again return home by the 29th
of June.

During the month of July, I had another rough battle with fevers and had a VATS procedure to attempt to figure out the reason why my lungs were in such bad shape. Another couple of chest tubes later and I was hoping things could move forward. My first transplant date in August was cancelled because of the danger of going through it with my lungs in such bad shape. I was told that my odds of survival were 50/50 at best if I were to go in for the Bone Marrow Transplant at that time.

September was a rough month consisting lots of hospital stays due to high fevers and infections. I had another VATS procedure to attempt to figure out why my lungs were deteriorating as rapidly as they were. I had two more chest tubes, which brought the total to 12. I told the doctor performing the 2nd VATS
procedure to try to make the scars on each side match so I could be
symmetrical. It was important to find the humor in order to get through those
tough times.

In October, I had my fifth round of chemotherapy, at which time it was also discovered that I was allergic to the chemotherapy drugs they had been giving me since the beginning.
After they figured out the correct concoction of chemotherapy drugs, I was out of
the hospital until November 30th. My transplant was scheduled for
December 3rd. Although difficult, I knew that this was potentially
the beginning of a new life for me. After my stay in the BMT, I went to live in
a long stay hotel. I was finally able to go home to Port Washington in mid
February. From March of 2011 until March of 2012, I was in the hospital each
month for a period of time.

Since my bone marrow transplant, I have continuously been improving and getting my life back to my new normal. I had one hospital stay in May for some graft versus host disease issues, but my counts have continually improved and I have been feeling great.
I am so happy to be able to watch my baby girl, age 2, grow up and spend time
with my family and friends. I will forever be grateful to the individual from
Germany who gave me another chance at life by signing up for the National Bone
Marrow Registry. Without this individual, it is likely I would not be here
today. I realize that my road to full recovery is a long one, yet I am thankful
that I have a road. Cancer changed me. I always felt like I appreciated life,
but now the appreciation for life is on a whole new level. I remember early on
in my diagnosis one of the doctors saying to me, "We will take care of your
physical health; it is your responsibility to take care of your mental health.
Be positive." That has stuck with me. To others going through cancer, I leave you with this: Don't ever give up hope. A little over a year ago, a doctor stated to my family that my chance of survival was 1 on a scale of 1 to 100. Today, I am looking forward to returning to my teaching job in the fall and being a head coach. Life is good and getting better every single day.

We hope that this will help you have an appreciation of the battle that is waged daily by the 1,000's of children, teens and adults that are fighting Blood Cancers. Please help us fight that battle too.

Lindsay's Voice, Inc is a registered non-profit Public Charity in WI with a mission to support the Blood Center of WI, BeTheMatch- National Marrow Donor Program, CIBMTR and research to find cures for Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma.
Trees of Hope WI is our Signature Fundraising Event Nov 17, 2012

Radisson Hotel-Milwaukee West (Mayfair)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »