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This fundraiser ended on 10/07/12

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The family and friends of Jonathan Szahler are uniting! Please show your support!

Dear friends and family,
I’ve sat here thinking about what to say…To be honest I have no idea! All I know is my nephew is suffering from terminal Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and it isn’t fair. He has bravely persevered through life even though he was born profoundly deaf. He courageously continued on after being blinded in one eye as a child. He kept going, even though at times it was extremely difficult. He made it through the difficulties of high school and graduated!

Not sure of what to do next, he came and stayed with me in North Olmsted the summer after graduation. (Rural Medina can be isolating when you don’t drive) Jonathan got a job close by so he could walk to work. He saved his money and bought a bicycle. Having a bicycle gave him the freedom to explore the community and become more self-sufficient. He rode to work, the grocery store, movies, Game Stop and all around town. Life was good; Jon started talking about getting his own apartment! His plan was to save some money and within a year he would be able to get his own place.

Jon was well on his way to accomplishing his goals when out of the blue he got sick. We thought No big deal everyone gets a cold. Then he sent me this message.
(See attachment)
I took his message seriously and took him to the Urgent Care first thing Sunday morning. They diagnosed him with pneumonia and gave him a breathing treatment right then and there in the office. The doctor told him to get lots of rest and make sure he finished all the antibiotics and take two different inhalers as needed. He was so worried about his job we stopped on the way home so he could drop off his doctor’s excuse. Jon did as she said and rested. The following week he returned to work even though he really wasn’t feeling better. He worked his physically demanding job for two days before it really took a toll on him and he couldn’t go on. I made a doctor’s appointment for the following day. The doctor gave him a prescription for steroids and told him if he wasn’t better in a couple days go get blood work and a chest x-ray. Two days later November 18, 2011 he went for his blood work and chest x-ray. The doctor called before we even got home and instructed us to take him to the emergency room ASAP. The doctor informed me Jon had a pleural effusion and was in danger of his lung collapsing. Needless to say, we rusted straight to Fairview Hospital.

November 18, 2011 will forever be the day that changed everything!

It’s been a hard 9 months. In and out of the hospital, round after gut wrenching round of chemo and radiation, each worse than the last. But Jon endured it with grace and dignity! Finally, the day we all thought would be his savior came, June 1, 2012 “Stem Cell Transplant Day.” A perfect stranger, 44 year old male from Germany gave his cells so Jon could have a chance for a cure. The doctor said the first 100 days would be critical. The chance of dying from an infection or transplant related complications were very high, but this was his only chance for a cure. The days to come were horrific; there were many days we didn’t know if he could survive much more, but he did. After about a month he turned the corner and started to feel better. He started eating and had more energy. By day 75 Jon was feeling really good; better than he had felt in a long time. In fact, the doctor said he might be able to go home a week before his 100 day was up. We were all elated! Our prayers had been answered.

Jon started making plans; he was so ready to start life again away from the hospital and Ronald McDonald House. Finally, the day when he found out if he could come home came. Everything looked great with his blood work; he was 99% engraphed with the donor’s cell. However, he had this pain in his back and over the past couple days it was getting worse. The doctor ordered an x-ray and then a CT scan followed by a biopsy. The results came in on the afternoon of the 96th day, September 4, 2012 the cancer is back.

It was like someone kicked me in the stomach. Over the past week I have experienced denial, misery, anger, hopelessness and helplessness. It wasn’t until I talked with Jonathan on Saturday that I was able to find an emotion I could experience that didn’t make me want to crawl under the covers and disappear. Here is a 20 year old young man who is handling his terminal illness with strength, dignity and grace while the rest of us fall to pieces. I decided right then and there I needed to follow his lead; he gave me the strength to focus on the here and now. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow; therefore, we should be thankful for each and every day we have together and never take our loved ones for granted.

This is why I am asking you to help make Jon’s wishes, wants and desires come true while we still have the chance. Your donation could allow him to accomplish things he has wanted to do but didn’t have the money to do it. It can give his family an opportunity to spend time together after the PTO is used up. It can help make the time he has left a little more comfortable.

If you have any questions, or suggestions please call me at 216-299-8420 or e-mail at

If you want to send a donation by mail, please send checks to attention: Jonathan Szahler

23524 Sharon Dr.
North Olmsted, Ohio 44070

All your generous contributions, thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated!!
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