Ivy Marquez

Has there ever been a better time to appreciate the little things? An opportunity to go out with family and friends, enjoy a ball game or a movie, or even just give your loved ones a big hug seems so much sweeter now.

But, this is not the reality for thousands of Michigan families managing a blood cancer diagnosis. Every 90 minutes a neighbor, friend, relative or child finds out they have blood cancer – and that’s when stability is shattered and normalcy becomes a luxury.

Meet the Marquez family, who were already healing from the trauma of an infant who had two open heart surgeries, when life changed abruptly. While managing life with three young children, their youngest daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. How do you maintain stability for the family while navigating the confusing world of cancer?

Just before Halloween in 2019, while the whole family was recovering from a fall cold, 18 month old Ivy developed a pain in her leg and began to limp. After seeing their doctor and running tests, Emily received the call every parent dreads.

“Ivy has leukemia.”

Immediately, Emily and her husband Antonio found themselves in a world of questions, appointments, procedures, new and different faces, medical terminology, terrifying realities and constant uncertainty. “I was trying to trust my gut, but everything was so confusing,” says Ivy’s mom, Emily. The Marquezes found themselves stressed, exhausted, confused and overwhelmed by the rigors of Ivy’s medical needs on top of regular life, and quickly realized that one of them would need to quit work to care for her as they endured ongoing hospital stays and dealt with her highly compromised immune system.

Enter The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan (BCFM).

At BCFM, the Marquez family was surrounded by unwavering support. We relieved financial pressure through travel and prescription reimbursements. We provided hotel rooms to help the family stay together, relaxed and comfortable prior to procedures. We provided social experiences to allow the entire family a reprieve from dealing with cancer every day. They made memories together. BCFM even reduced the pressure to provide gifts to their kids during the holiday season.

Life was (and still is) full of challenges, but BCFM is here, helping to ensure the Marquez family’s emotional, social and financial needs are taken care of.

Today Ivy and her family are looking forward to achieving remission. and the doctors are pleased with the progress she is making. They’re planning a five-year anniversary celebration soon, marking the day that Ivy became a survivor.

This is just one of the thousands of success stories that have been made possible by the support of The Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan. The critical programs of BCFM are ensuring the promise that no matter where these families and patients are in their cancer journey, their well-being will be supported – emotionally, socially and financially.

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