Remembering our fellow survivors...
Long-term survivors of Hodgkin Lymphoma have learned the hard way- through years of living with pain, uncertainty, and bottomless fear that life is precious. We don't take things for granted. We've been fighting for most of our lives, trying to be strong, willing ourselves to make it through another procedure, another diagnosis, another day.
We are lucky in that we have found one another to lean on. Our "tribe", our fellow survivors, understand without explanation. While many of us have never even met each other, we know each other all too well. When we lose someone, it hurts to the core. And it's terrifying.
The Hodgkin's community has had to say good-bye to far too many of our friends in the past couple of years. Every one of these survivors were cherished for who they were and how much they meant to all of us. We remember them here, but we keep their smiles and their spirit in our hearts. Always.
Owen Clyde Martin
Owen Clyde Martin passed away on July 30th 2018. He was 60 years old. Owen was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma when he was 19. He faced many difficult repercussions from his radiation treatment, including a third cancer diagnosis in 2014. Owen was known to many in the Hodgkin's community, and was always quick to offer a comforting word, a bit of advise, and a humorous "quip." Owen was a smart, funny, generous man, who loved his family dearly and was never shy about singing their praises. He loved his God. He loved his country, Owen was a man who "stood tall," earning the respect of all who were lucky enough to know him. He was a founding member of Hodgkin's International and our first Treasurer of the Board of Directors.
Dolly Griffin was one of the co-founders of "Hodgkin's International." (See "About Us") Her steadfast determination to reach out to each and every survivor was awe inspiring, She traveled the country with her husband, Dave, seeking out as many survivors as she could. Dolly never failed to offer support, a shoulder to cry on, and a few wonderful pearls of wisdom. Dolly formed the Facebook group, "Living Life After Hodgkin's Lymphoma" as a means for survivors to talk about anything and everything, whether it be related to health issues or just "thinking out loud." Dolly passed away in September, 2016, of complications from breast cancer.
ANITA ABRANCHES PINTO ISAACSON
Anita founded the Facebook group for Hodgkin's survivors, "Hodgkin's Disease Survival Repercussions from 1960-1990's Only." It was the first of its kind to offer a place for long term survivors to turn to. Many of us in the Hodgkin's community met each other on this site. Thanks to Anita, we finally had a place to share information, ideas, worries, and most of all, loving support. It is not a stretch to say that many of us would not be alive today without the advice we got from this Facebook group. Anita's efforts on behalf of ALL of us gave birth to what "Hodgkin's International" is today. We lost Anita in July, 2015, of cardiac complications due to her treatment for Hodgkin's.
Davina was in college when she found out that she had Hodgkin's. She had been dealing with severe strabismus (eye misalignment) since birth, and the combination of her cancer and her strabismus left her feeling stigmatized and alone. Davina became a prolific writer and blogger, often addressing issues of diversity and acceptance. She spent the last several years of her life suffering with debilitating lung disease, a result of earlier treatment for her Hodgkin's. In a story she wrote in 2015, Davina said, "...I finally found strength from other long term cancer survivors through online groups...I was no longer the lone, odd man out; Hodgkin's Lymphoma now gave me an identity in this world of survivorship...," Davina died in November, 2016, of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
MARGARET "KAYO" NASH
Margaret Nash was, to many of us, a true "spiritual leader" in the Hodgkin's community. Her unwavering faith in God and in the essential goodness of mankind was profound as well as contagious. Margaret brought light to everyone who was lucky enough to know her- even a little. She was a devoted family member, dear friend, and "over the top" Green Bay Packers fan. Margaret endured many of the long term complications of Hodgkin's treatment, but always with grace and dignity. She died in July of 2017 from a massive stroke. In one of her last posts on Facebook she wrote, "I don't regret the things I've done, I regret the things I didn't do when I had the chance."
LISA NOLTER ELLIOTT
Lisa was diagnosed with Hodgkin's in 1984 and was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. She had several long term effects of the treatment, including a secondary cancer. While she never failed to reach out to another survivor, Lisa was battling her own health issues, most notably congestive heart failure. Lisa had been denied twice for a heart transplant due to her previous history. She passed away in April of 2017, waiting for her "miracle" heart. In her last post to her fellow survivors, Lisa wrote, "...I'm so grateful to everyone for all the kind thoughts and prayers. My words are limited right now...I really felt it was meant to be for me to have a new heart. Most of all I wanted this for myself, but in the meantime I thought how encouraging it would be for other survivors that may face this challenge someday and how I could help them. Praying daily for a renewed strength emotionally and physically. Love, Lisa"
DONNA JO HODAPP
Donna Jo Hodapp, nee Donna Mullins, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's in 1978. She had endured many of the complications due to the treatment she received over 39 years ago. Donna passed away in October, 2017. Donna's husbandLeo summed up Donna's feelings about her Hodgkin's peers by saying, "Donna drew strength and comfort by connecting with and developing friends of others suffering from late effects of radiation treatment. I think it would be her hope to continue supporting this group and sharing their experiences with one another."