Anthony Derouen, a 19-year-old young man from Calhoun, Louisiana currently battling acute myelogenous leukemia, is this year’s recipient of the L.I.F.E. Survivor Grant. He was referred by his social worker, Kara, at the Ochsner Hospital for Children in New Orleans. We were so moved by his story, we are going to assist him and his family in any way that we can – more to be announced on that soon!
Anthony’s social worker asked him this past week if he could choose 3 things to be on his bucket list, what would they be? What impressed us the most, and what really shows the true character of this young man, was that his first wish was to be able to financially help out his mother. His Mom is currently unable to work to care for Anthony, and he also has two brothers, ages 12 and 17. Please consider donating to Anthony and his family by clicking here https://www.gofundme.com/f/21ikbawns0
We have some other things in the works and will be announcing them very soon. 100% of all donations made to L.I.F.E. are given to young adults with cancer like Anthony that need our help. We are entirely volunteer-driven, and have virtually no overhead costs. Please consider supporting Anthony, and help others live!
“June 17, 2020 – My cancer has come back for the 3rd time in two years. My name is Anthony Derouen. I live in Louisiana. I am 19 years old, and I have cancer. Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML as people like to call it. I am no stranger to AML. AML has been in my life in some way since I was 14 years old. I created a go-fund-me account, because my cancer has come back for the 3rd time in two years. Cancer has impacted me and my family’s life in so many ways, particularly financially. My mom (Amie) is always coming with me, everywhere. She has never left my side, so work has been impossible to maintain. We don’t have a lot of support. It really is just me, my mom, and my brothers Jordan and Taylor. I was first diagnosed with AML in 2015, when I was 14. It was in the summer, and I was entering the 7th grade. I honestly didn’t even understand what was going on. All I know is a day and a half later, my mom, myself, and my youngest brother, Taylor, were off to St. Jude in Memphis, Tn. The chemo sucked, but I got through it. About 6 months later, we came back to Calhoun. Life returned to normal… for the most part. I couldn’t play football. I had to be held back in school due to my cancer (but that was the least of my concerns). We would still have to check in with St. Jude and the doctors in Shreveport but at least I was home and back at school. I was about to start my freshman year (July 2018), I was 17, and the bloodwork shows that AML is back again. So back we go, to St. Jude. We do some more chemo, I get into remission (Aug 2018), and wait for a bone marrow transplant. My mom was supposed to be my haplo-transplant donor, but they couldn’t collect enough stem cells from her. Since that didn’t work out, we head back to Calhoun and get more chemo. After the chemo I was told I was back in remission, and a year later (Aug 2019) the cancer was back again. We did some more chemotherapy in Shreveport. My doctor talks to me about doing stem cell transplant in New Orleans. In January 2020, we drive 300 miles (one way) to New Orleans, La. I meet with Dr. Bob Vasquez, and my brothers get HLA testing to see if they can be donors. My brother, Jordan, who is 17, became my donor. He hates needles, but he really did great. I can’t thank him enough for ultimately, giving me more time on this earth. On February 12, 2020, I got my stem cell transplant. It was rough some days. I had to stay in the hospital for over a month. My mom and I had to stay in New Orleans for 100 days post-transplant because we lived so far away from New Orleans. We were getting excited to get back home and be with my brothers. I got my 100-day post-transplant bone marrow biopsy on 5/28/20, and then we drive back home on 5/29/20, but we must come back once a week for follow-up with Dr. Bob. We came back on June 2, 2020 for follow-up and learned that my 100-day biopsy shows 2% blasts, which means my cancer came back. Dr. Bob comes up with a plan for donor leukocyte infusion (DLI) where I would receive a boost of immune cells from Jordan. So, I am back in New Orleans doing this. I had a bone marrow biopsy done on June 23, and it showed I now have 78% blasts. I know this isn’t good, but we are keeping hope and faith that this works. Depending on how well DLI goes, I might be doing another transplant, this time from my mom. That means another 100 days in New Orleans. I created this go fund me for a variety of reasons. The main reason is to help financially with bills at home. My mom cannot keep a job due to my health and constant travel. The second is to prepare if things don’t go the way we hope. If I die from my AML, I want my family to have some financial security. While I am not giving up and my goal is to be cured from cancer, I want to make sure I live my life fully. If we get through this, I want to do something to thank my family, especially Jordan and my mom. I want to thank so many people who have supported me along the way. I want to thank god for always being with me and blessing me with my family, friends, and my doctors/ transplant team from Ochsner. I also want to thank Boomtown Auto and Dave the Mechanic for helping with the car. So many nonprofits over the years, but most recently for L.I.F.E for the support and help in more ways than I can speak of. Any amount donated, is extremely appreciated. I promise to provide some updates along the way.