illness

Laura "Anorexia Misdiagnosed"

Laura "Anorexia Misdiagnosed"

“Thirteen years ago, I nearly died from a common medical condition after constant misdiagnosis. Now, despite my life not going exactly as I had envisioned it, I wouldn’t change what happened to me because I have been given the opportunity to see life and death literally and help save many others who are suffering.”

LAURA'S STORY HERE

Rachelle "Team Burnett"

Rachelle "Team Burnett"

“This is my son’s life we are talking about. Time is of the essence and I know, even with the rarity of the diagnosis, that someone out there has the answers to give my baby his life back. His 8 month old daughter should not be denied the opportunity to know how amazing her daddy is.

It is time to tighten up our gloves and get to work because this will not beat us! Tyler has competed all his life, he knows what it takes to win. We are not scared to be the first success story to beat this. There is a little girl who is counting on it.” - Rachelle

RACHELLE’S STORY HERE

Jennifer "Legacy of Joy"

Jennifer "Legacy of Joy"

​“Reese was just about to turn four, then instantly - life changed. Who I was changed. We were hopeful that this would be a bump in the road because her odds were good. We celebrated and thought we had won the war. However, we had only won the first battle.

It’s now been two years since she passed...I don’t even know how that’s possible. How has it been that long since I held her, painted her nails or reminded her to take a pill? It's unreal, yet at the same time, it's very much my reality. It's also what empowers me to live the biggest life possible. My job now is to spread the powerful message of joy.” - Jennifer

JENNIFER’S STORY HERE

Lane "Loving Lane"

Lane "Loving Lane"

“He was blue in color and was making a strange sound with each breath. My smile at the sight of him quickly turned into a panicked grimace. The nurse set him on my stomach and wiped him off in preparation for skin-to-skin, then his whole little body went limp.

An alarm went off and a team of doctors and nurses charged into the delivery room. They wheeled my baby boy out of the room. I hadn't gotten to hold him or even really gotten to see him up close. I was left in the room with one other nurse for an hour to recover. I was a shell of a person….”

LANE'S STORY HERE

Adelyn "Resilient Spirit"

Adelyn "Resilient Spirit"

“At 7 years old, Adelyn was a normally happy, spunky and very active little girl. All of the sudden, she was complaining about most physical activity and was tired all the time. Between 2013-2017, Adelyn ended up in and out of casts and splints with a combination of 14 fractures and bone contusions.

She was devastated after each broken bone and I always worried if this ‘one more thing’ would break her spirit. She never let a cast slow her down. It was as if it became her new normal.

Adelyn is now 12 and still, one of the many struggles with Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM) is that it’s so rare and still not widely understood. For the most part though, Adelyn is a normal kid and you’d never know the struggles she’s faced.”

READ ADELYN’S STORY HERE

Ethan "Live a Good Story"

Ethan "Live a Good Story"

“Why not play catch every day for an entire year?

Two of my mantras are “Baseball brings people together,” and “Baseball tells the best stories.” These mantras undergird almost all of my writings. Playing catch every day felt like a natural way to truly test those mantras. Ten-year old me couldn’t wait to get started. Forty-three year old me worried about my arm falling off.

As is the usual, inspiration left the vast majority of the details to me. Each day, I was forced out of my comfort zone to ask friends and family and complete strangers if they’d be willing to toss a ball with me. Rejections far outnumbered agreements.

But living a good story demands risk, courage, and perseverance. So I press on, trusting that someone will eventually say yes each day. Every morning, I wake up both anxious and excited to see what story will unfold that day.”

ETHAN’S STORY HERE

Jody "The Light"

Jody "The Light"

"A few months after I started noticing flashing lights in my vision in 2009, I realized that I was straining to see. I admit I had put off making a doctor's appointment for a long time and blew it off as an annoyance. I certainly did not think I had something life threatening. One night after putting our daughter to bed, I went into our living room and sat down. You know that feeling when your glasses are blurry, and you need to clean them to see? I always had 20/20 vision and wasn’t wearing glasses. I held my hand over my right eye and instantly knew something was very wrong; I had no center vision in my left eye. I looked up at our family photo above the fireplace and there were no faces.

I made a doctor's appointment for the vert next day, and when the doctor eventually walked in, he looked at me and said, “You have a tumor in the back of your eye. It’s called Ocular Melanoma.” This is when I stopped listening and just passed out for a minute. The doctor explained to me my options: Wait and see if it grows or treat it with Plaque Radiation. I would likely lose my vision in my left eye, but this would save my life. The wait and see approach was not for me. After spending the night researching options, it was obvious we needed to go to Wills Eye in Philadelphia and see Dr. Carol Shields. Two weeks later my husband and I were in another state, checking in for my Plaque Radiation surgery."

Jody's Full Story + how she joined our team at 7 Billion Ones HERE.

Sheranne & Ross “Power of Perseverance”

Sheranne & Ross “Power of Perseverance”

"We were heartbroken and felt helpless but we were not about to give up, we were however about to let go. Let go, and Let God is what we decided to do. We gave up trying to control the situation and fix it ourselves.

I had fear of the unknown, fear of how the surgery would go, fear of how recovery would be, fear of possible failure, fear of how both our lives would be following this date and how we might forever be changed.

Today, I am determined not to let fear and worry rob me of any more precious time."

SHERANNE & ROSS'S STORY HERE

Jennifer "My Acoustic Neuroma Journey"

Jennifer "My Acoustic Neuroma Journey"

"I went in for a hearing test and was told I was completely deaf in my right ear. They gave me three options for suddenly becoming deaf; 1) bad luck, 2) past cheerleading incident that just surfaced, or 3) brain tumor. So of course, I only heard option 3 and began to panic. I had an MRI done immediately and was told that I had an acoustic neuroma (a tumor on the main nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain).

After much thought and discussion with my parents and boyfriend (now husband), we chose the surgery route (posterior auricular approach). I took a big risk in hopes my facial nerve could be saved so I could continue with my career dreams.

I woke up to find I had no movement in the right side of my face. I was weak and had no balance on the right side of my body either. My right eye couldn’t blink, my mouth could not close all the way, I felt like anything they said could go wrong with my surgery did go wrong.
...
My story is unique and I want others to see that a positive recovery is possible amongst those days when you feel the whole world is against you. I want to help in any way I possibly can, I feel as if it is my job to do so."

JENNIFER'S STORYHERE

Cindy "Love You Forever"

Cindy "Love You Forever"

"It wasn’t until Michael was about 20 that he had to have surgery on his shoulder. He was prescribed pain pills that he took over the next five months. I didn’t realize at the time that this was the beginning of his own long battle with drugs.

Over the next couple of years I saw the signs, but didn’t know how to help him. He was so good at hiding and I was so good at denial.

The very next weekend after Michael was arrested for drug possession, I received a call from my other son, Steven. He had been having some medical issues, although we had no idea that they were serious. He was crying and saying that they found cancer spots on his liver, pancreas and bones.

During this time, I had so many people tell me that they were sorry and that they couldn’t believe we had to go through this. At this point it came to me—why do we ask why? We only ask "Why?" when we are dealt with something we don’t like. I never asked why I was so lucky to have healthy kids and a good job. So I decided “why?” wasn’t going to be a question anymore."

CINDY'S STORY HERE:

Livvie "Nothing Short Of A Miracle"

Livvie "Nothing Short Of A Miracle"

"We were in the office for about three hours when the doctor walked in holding the big plastic “eye” – my heart sunk.  I knew this was big, I knew this wasn’t lazy eye, I knew the days ahead were going to be very difficult. She could not tell us for sure what was going on but she did tell us that Liv’s retina was detached and that “something,” and she wasn’t sure what it was, was blocking Liv’s vision. I was hearing for the first time that my daughter had no vision in that eye. I lost it."

Read Livvie's story HERE..

Katie, Mary and Liz's Story "Sister Survivors"

Katie, Mary and Liz's Story "Sister Survivors"

Since I had a strong feeling my lump was cancer, my mother and one of my four sisters went with me to my mammogram which was the same day I was told I had cancer. I texted them from the radiologist patient room, “It’s cancer”. 

Read Katie's, Mary's and LIz's story HERE.

Tabetha's Story "It's What's On The Inside"

Tabetha's Story "It's What's On The Inside"

All three of my kids have mitochondrial disease, which is a sibling-based, incurable disease. From what I’ve been told, doctors haven’t seen a child with this disease make it to adulthood. It’s difficult when people say to "keep them as comfortable as possible", but to give up on a six and seven year-old is difficult. 

Read the story HERE.

Jerermy and Destiny's Story "An Unexpected Love Story"

Jerermy and Destiny's Story "An Unexpected Love Story"

 I do have Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), just like Destiny.  I went to school kindergarten through my senior year in a little town in Missouri called Marionville.  I went to normal public school, not a special school.  Because of having A-T, I went to some special classes but I also went to normal classes.  While I was out of the room in my special classes my teachers would talk to the students about me, about my disease.  The students knew what I had so they never made fun of me.  I appreciate the teachers for that.

Read the story HERE.

Linda's Story "Perserverance"

Linda's Story "Perserverance"

I will never forget the words my doctor told me, “I would have never dreamed results like this, but you have a malignancy”. What started as a mild pain in my side ended up being the dreaded word cancer. Many were shocked as they told me I was one of the healthiest people they knew. There was no history of cancer in my family. Our lives turned into a battle to survive.

Read the full story HERE.

Jenny's Story "Recognize and Acknowledge"

Jenny's Story "Recognize and Acknowledge"

I have read closely similar notions tied to indigenous groups that identify traits linked with mental illness as higher expressions and earthly gifts that are bestowed upon the affected to bring them to a place of greater understanding, empathy, and ultimately -- carve out a much greater capacity for forgiveness, compassion, and love.

When I sit down to think of what there could possibly be to share from my life that could serve the greatest good in helping others it is to offer the condensed story of my mother. While those that are closest to me already know it well (and this story hasn’t changed much in the last 12 years), the understandings that I am able to gain grow with each passing year.

Read Jennys story HERE.

Jaxon's Story "Unstoppable"

Jaxon's Story "Unstoppable"

Truth be told, if it weren’t for the good my story might do for someone with food allergies, I wouldn’t be writing it, if only because it causes me to reconsider my entire life and all.  That being said, here we are, so I might as well try to teach whoever’s reading this a little about living life with anaphylaxis.   

Read full story HERE.

Aubren's Story "Fight For You"

Aubren's Story "Fight For You"

At 3-months-old, I received my first open heart surgery. I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot. Tetralogy of Fallot is a combination of four problems: there is a hole between the lower chambers of the heart, an obstruction from the heart to the lungs, the muscle surrounding the lower-right chamber is overly thickened, and the aorta lies over the hole in the lower chambers. When I was a teenager, my heart rate would get so fast that it was a miracle I wasn’t having heart attacks.

Read Aubren's Story HERE.

Elizabeth and Peyton's Story "A Miraculous Plan"

Elizabeth and Peyton's Story "A Miraculous Plan"

I will never take for granted how lucky we are. And I will never understand why we were given a child like Peyton. Maybe I'm just simply not supposed to. But I do know that by having faced all that we faced when Peyton was born, I've learned a lot about myself.

Read "A Miraculous Plan" HERE.

Lanae's Story "Peace Amongst the Chaos"

Lanae's Story "Peace Amongst the Chaos"

Everything happened so fast the week I was diagnosed.  I had the colonoscopy at the beginning of the week, and by mid-week the pathology results from the tumor were back showing that it was definitely cancer.  By the end of that week I was seeing a colorectal surgeon and then had appointments with a radiation oncologist and an oncologist. My head was spinning with little time to process what was going on. 

Read Lanae's story HERE.

Kristina's Story "He Won His Wings"

Kristina's Story "He Won His Wings"

I am a 27-year-old widow. I lost my husband last year to Stage IV Colon Cancer.  We were 7-months pregnant when he was diagnosed. We fought it with despair, pain and anger. What frustrates me the most is the pictures of cancer the media never portrays.  The shattered lives of those left behind, step-mom's who lost their husband and their step-daughter all in the same moment. Mom's raising their sons who are physical replicas of their dads, answering questions of when daddy is coming back, the daily fight of convincing yourself you have to get out of bed, make a difference, continue to live...yet with guilt,  sorrow,  and unbelievable sadness.

Read the full story "He Won His Wings" HERE

Mark's Story "The Old Mark Died"

Mark's Story "The Old Mark Died"

If a feeling can be described as breaking crystal, then that’s how it felt just after I sat down. My whole right side slowly went limp. I slid out of the chair and onto the floor. I tried to cry out.

Read "The Old Mark Died" HERE.

Allison's Story "Faking Happy"

Allison's Story "Faking Happy"

A week passed by and before I knew it I was being admitted into the hospital. After a spinal tap, steroids, sedatives, baby pain medication, and the strong pain medicine, I left the hospital in more pain than I had arrived in. I was sent home in hopes it would “go away with time.” I was told I should take a vacation, that my stress was causing all my pain, and my mom was told she was causing all my stress.

In a whirlwind, I ended up a patient at the Headache Care Center, and then at The Mayo Clinic.

Read Allison's story HERE.

Lauren's Story "Hydro Warrior"

Lauren's Story "Hydro Warrior"

Hy·dro·ceph·a·lusˌ(hīdrōˈsefələs/): It’s a condition characterized by the brain’s inability to circulate cerebrospinal fluid that cushions the brain resulting in a buildup of fluid and high amounts of pressure on the brain. It’s an incurable condition occurring in 1/500 people either from birth or acquired sometime in later in life.

Read Lauren's full story HERE.

Dan's Story "Surviving vs. Thriving"

Dan's Story "Surviving vs. Thriving"

I’m unaware of an age wherein a doctor can use the words “cancer” that would not shock an individual.  But I can tell you that age is not fifty-years-old.   Cancer is a scary word! The thoughts it conjures are irrepressible. Every moment can be a struggle to just hold your ground. Perspective becomes a major defense mechanism. But as I discovered, it is not the only one.  I was so overwhelmed by everyone's love and support. It gave me strength beyond reason - beyond understanding. 

Read Dan's complete story HERE.

Cindy's Story "This is Serious - You Have MS"

Cindy's Story "This is Serious - You Have MS"

When I got there, the doctor pulled her chair up right in front of me and said, “This is serious – you have MS.” The MRI revealed that I had nine lesions in my brain and four to five lesions in my neck and spine. She went on to explain treatment options and we decided on the daily injections as the best way to treat the MS. She finished by saying “when you can’t walk any longer, I will write you a letter for disability.” She basically gave me little hope.

Read Cindy's full story about her journey with MS HERE.

Cindy and Will's Story "Bald is Beautiful"

Cindy and Will's Story "Bald is Beautiful"

Will's spots became patches and his hair line finally crept up enough that we began cutting his hair differently and finally began shaving his head.  Most recently his Alopecia has become universalis: a condition characterized by the complete loss of hair on the scalp and body.

Read "Bald is Beautiful" HERE.

Emilee's Story "For A Reason"

Emilee's Story "For A Reason"

My senior year of college, I started having trouble writing by hand, so I had to type all of my work. Then  I started falling a lot and I had to get glasses because my eyesight was deteriorating. I became very anxious and depressed, which is really abnormal for me because I'm a happy and outgoing person. My doctors prescribed me anti-depressants and anti anxiety medication. Nothing helped. I started talking very softly even though I have a loud voice.

Read Emilee's Story HERE.

Olivia's Story "Grace and Courage"

Olivia's Story "Grace and Courage"

During surgery, my facial nerve stopped showing that it was active so my doctors stopped operating on me. I did end up getting facial paralysis and my doctor's didn't get all of the tumor out.

Read Olivia's story HERE.

Caroline's Story "Barren To Blessed"

Caroline's Story "Barren To Blessed"

"So, in 1983, at the age of 11, I became gravely ill with this rare bacterial infection. I underwent an emergency hysterectomy. I was the youngest female known to have a hysterectomy."

Read Caroline's complete story HERE.

Nicole's Story "Freedom Through Obedience"

Nicole's Story "Freedom Through Obedience"

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune skin disease called Alopecia Areata. Eventually, I lost most of the hair on my head and body. Without a cure or any effective treatments, my parents bought me a wig to cover up my semi-bald-patchy-haired scalp. And I have barely taken it off since.

Read Nicole's story HERE.

Angie's Story "Two Chances in 100"

Angie's Story "Two Chances in 100"

My Gynecological Oncologist had to hold my tumor in his hands before it could be diagnosed. I woke up after surgery to Ryan hovered over me. “Do I have cancer?” “Yes, yes you do.”

Read "Two Chances in 100" HERE.

Amy's Story "A New Heart"

Amy's Story "A New Heart"

"I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy at the age of 20. HCM is a thickening of the heart muscle, it is the number one cause of sudden death."

Read Amy's full story HERE.

Laura' Story "Live as if Anything is Possible"

Laura' Story "Live as if Anything is Possible"

"...diagnosed with an extremely aggressive cancer. I had a husband, two daughters in sixth grade and a thirty percent chance to live."

Read "Live as if Anything is Possible" HERE.

Nicolle and Baby Q's Story "Thankful Today, Now, This Second"

Nicolle and Baby Q's Story "Thankful Today, Now, This Second"

Before Baby Q was born, she had severe brain and heart defects. After she was born, we also found out she had a cleft palate. At 4-days-old, she had her first cardiac catheterization."

Read Nicolle's and Baby Q's full story HERE.

Amy's Story "3 Months to Live"

Amy's Story "3 Months to Live"

"My doctor sat with my parents after he looked at the more cantaloupe-sized tumor. He was able to take a little piece of it but, my chest was also full of tumors. The doctor didn't see much hope in survival, with maybe 3 more months to live."


Read Amy's complete story HERE. 
 

Fallon's Story "One Life To Live"

Fallon's Story "One Life To Live"

"This broken body was the result of a string of genetic mutations that affected my collagen resulting in a diagnosis of a rare, connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, EDS."

Read Fallon's amazing story of dealing with her rare disease HERE.

Pearl's Story - Five Years Later "A Mother's Words"

Pearl's Story - Five Years Later "A Mother's Words"

"Charity's daughter, Pearl, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and kidney cancer in her first year of life. One kidney was removed followed by chemotherapy. Two years later, her other kidney went into failure requiring full-time dialysis.  Pearl's remaining kidney was removed one year later."

Read Pearl's and Charity's full story HERE.

Garret's Story "A Reason"

Garret's Story "A Reason"

"I first tested positive for HIV in 1989. At that time, the doctors told me that I had at most only two years to live."

Read Garret's complete story HERE.

MADI'S STORY "A NEW NORMAL"

MADI'S STORY "A NEW NORMAL"

"I found out I had diabetes right after we dropped my brother off at school. We went to the doctor and he told me I was diabetic."

READ MORE ABOUT MADI'S ILLNESS HERE.

Carolyn's Story "The Dreaded "C" Word"

Carolyn's Story "The Dreaded "C" Word"

"There was that initial shock when they told me I had the dreaded "C" word, but then I decided I can fight or succumb to it. Cancer, remember this: I have you, you do not have me! "

Read Carolyn's full story HERE.

GEORGE'S STORY "35 FEET"

GEORGE'S STORY "35 FEET"

"...if you are ever lying around with a hose around you like me that keeps you breathing. That hose is 35 feet long. That is the extent of my world, 35 feet. "

READ MORE ABOUT GEORGE'S ILLNESS HERE.

ANGIE'S STORY "BEST MEDICINE"

ANGIE'S STORY "BEST MEDICINE"

"I assumed that I would kick cancer’s ass and then the treatment detour would take me back to the same road I had been traveling. I would return to my duties as a homeroom mom, working part-time as a hospice social worker and taking care of my daughters and my husband. It turned out that the “surviving cancer journey” is not the same as the “fighting cancer expedition”."

READ MORE ABOUT ANGIE'S STORY HERE.

Pearl's Story - Chapter 1 "Embrace"

Pearl's Story - Chapter 1 "Embrace"

"We tried for a long time to have a baby and we got pregnant and brought Pearl into this world...and then she ended up being sick."

Read Pearl's and Charity's full story HERE.

KRISTA'S STORY "CHAPTER 1 - HOPE"

KRISTA'S STORY "CHAPTER 1 - HOPE"

"Eight months ago, in front of my kids' elementary school just before I went inside to get them, I listened to my doctor’s voice over the phone tell me, “Krista, you have extensive, invasive ductile carcinoma. You need to see a surgeon tomorrow who specializes in breast cancer.”

READ MORE ABOUT KRISTA HERE.

JOEL'S STORY "MIRACLE EXISTENCE"

JOEL'S STORY "MIRACLE EXISTENCE"

"Immediately after Joel entered the world, he had to have open-heart surgery on a ruptured valve in his heart."

READ MORE ABOUT JOEL'S AMAZING STORY HERE.

Candi's Story "Alzheimer's"

Candi's Story "Alzheimer's"

"In the beginning, my Mom and I would joke around at his forgetfulness and say he probably is getting Alzheimer's. Not so funny now!"

Read Candi's full story HERE.