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18 donations

This fundraiser ended on 12/31/12

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The family of Kara Kelley Hallmark are uniting to raise money to help Kara pay for chemo treatments for Ocular Melanoma.

In 2001, she was originally diagnosed and was able to save her eye until 2008 when she lost that battle and had her left eye removed.  In December 2011, she was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastasis to the Liver and Right Breast.  Currently, this is considered a rare and incurable cancer.  Kara is not eligible for a liver transplant, resection, or traditional chemotherapies.  She is currently on a trial that is extending her life by keeping her liver functioning normally and keeping the disease from spreading.  However, the tumors are continuing to grow.  Because of this, the team at M.D. Anderson is seeking another trial.  The cost is prohibitive without the benefits of the drug being a trial as each infusion costs $125,000 and insurance will cover only 4 infusions.  Kara probably needs at least 2 years worth of infusions.  We are reaching out to you to help us help her with the daily stress and the extra expenses that they are incurring each week with doctor visits, lab and scanning copays, gas, and the emotional energy that Kara and John have endured these past months.  We are now facing, not months, but potentially years to see the other side of this battle.  Thank you for taking the time to read her story.

In Kara’s words:  When I was first diagnosed in 2001, John and I had just moved to Tallahassee so that I could pursue my doctoral studies at FSU.  Family flew in and out of town, but we were not connected to the community where we lived and many times felt very alone during that experience.  This third time around, we are back home (well, my home anyway…although John is slowly but surely turning into a Texan as he eats his way through breakfast tacos and BBQ)!  My family is all around and many friends too.  We are so grateful for the love and support that has manifested in many different forms. 

Accepting the concept of chemo as the “new normal” was not easy for me, but now that we have, life is happier again.  I have my dream job at the University of Texas at Austin, where I train future art educators for K-12 schools.  John is starting to get back into the healthcare consulting.  I have two grown steps sons and two dogs.  I see my niece, Kelley, as much as I can and love that Lea, my sister, and I are living in Austin together again.  Life is good. 

For now, I am traveling back and forth to Houston every other week for treatment.  I have been keeping a blog this time around, which is really new for me.  It has created an unexpected supportive community of people in cyber space that was a bonus to the experience of sharing my journey online.

This journey has brought gifts.  I look at my moments differently…as if they all count. I have spent many years putting work above family, now I am learning to balance both and my life is richer for it. 

My spirit is tall and strong even when my body is not.  To fear death is to fear nature and that which will be a part of all of our lives.  I am working to focus on life and that which is before me.  Thank you for reading my story, for your energy, prayer, meditation, and love. 

We know Kara loves her friends and family immensely and would love to hear from you.  Please send any cards, well wishes or if you would prefer to mail a check, you may do so in Kara's name and send to: Kara Kelley Hallmark, 16401 Jadestone, Leander, TX 78641.  

Please make sure you keep up with her progress on her blog site, www.karasroadtorecovery.blogspot.com.

Thanks for your continued love and support, The Kelley's and extended family.

 

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