I cannot count the hours I have laid next to Allistaire with this quiet music playing. Putting her to bed for a nap, closing the curtain to her hospital room and posting the sign telling the world to stay away, Allistaire is sleeping. Laying next to her in Ron Don, going through our night-time rituals.
The music plays on but she is gone. Gone. The bed is empty.
After four and a half years of fighting her great foe, Acute Myeloid Leukemia…after two long grueling weeks since Sten and I made the brutal decision to no longer attempt to thwart her disease, an aggressive, relentless, mindless onslaught…after over three hours, as her body continued to fight, to grasp for life, lungs pulling for air, and a heart, oh her heart, far stronger than we could have ever imagined, that heart so determined, so fierce, it pumped on and on and still her mouth gulped for air when her chest no longer rose and there was not one flex of her heart muscle left…
And then stillness. Only the soft rushing sound of the oxygen still trying to sustain life.
How very strange to come to the end. To have this child between us, this longed for child that together we had conceived, this little bright vibrancy now extinguished, pale, still.
We love you little sweets, beyond words and time, you are so very dear to us.
Allistaire Kieron Anderson died early this morning at 1:33am, April 30th 2016
My deep and fervent desire has been that these most vicious versions of Allistaire’s cancer cells would be able to be studied and contribute to the understanding of AML, in honor of all that Allistaire went through and in blessing to those who will be forced to come behind her. Dr. Soheil Meshinchi, one of our spectacular, brilliant and tender-hearted Bone Marrow Transplant doctors at Fred Hutch, made a way for this final offering. Soheil is the COG (Children’s Oncology Group) AML Biology chair and oversees the largest pediatric AML tissue bank in the nation. Along with other doctors/researchers dear to our hearts (Dr. Katherine Tarlock, Dr. Marie Bleakley, Dr. Phil Greenberg, Dr. Todd Cooper), he is tireless in his pursuit of understanding AML and finding ways to thwart its stranglehold on so many sweet children.
These are the words of Dr. Soheil Meshinchi to me:
“I will do everything I can to learn all we can about Allistaire’s leukemia. Her diagnostic sample is being sequenced now and we will sequence specimens that you send us…Please feel free to call me anytime you want to talk.”
“My prayers are with Allistaire and your family. We will care for these precious cells of Allistaire. Please call me if there is anything I can do.”
And this comes from him this very morning, “Dear Jai, I wanted to give you an update on Allistaire’s cells. We received them in great condition. They were processed and a fraction was used for extracting RNA and DNA. We purified leukemic cells from another subset and banked several vials. We are waiting for the result of the foundation medicine testing with plans to sequence her recent cells as well. I’m available to talk anytime you need to. Best, Soheil.”
Allistaire’s life was strangled out by cancer and while I look in hope for her to have a new body, one incorruptible, I also strive after life here and now.
Please considering honoring Allistaire’s life and tremendous fight by supporting cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. You can join our team Baldy Tops or give financially to Obliteride HERE.
*We will be planning some means of memorial in the future, but have no plans as of yet.
**Allistaire is alive in all of these pictures (with the exception of the very last picture of her toes), though they are either days or even only several hours before she died. Some may find these very difficult to see.