Images found here are not to be reproduced without my express written permission.

The walls of San Juan

One of the fascinating features of the old city of San Juan is the wall which once completely surrounded it. Spanish troops built forts in San Juan beginning in 1539 with a tower at El Morro and La Fortaleza. The majority of construction took place from the 1760's-1780's. Today it is still possible to walk between the two forts on a beautiful pathway overlooking the sea.

Every 10 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies of a blood cancer... and you can help change that.

This is me... asking your help.

Dear Friends,

Many of you know that I have been a nurse in the Adult Bone Marrow Transplant (ABMT) Program for the past 16 years. I am extremely proud of the work we do. I have seen lives saved; indeed, I have seen patients return to our annual reunion more than 20 years after transplant sharing how blessed they feel to be able to celebrate another year of living.

A technician from our program prepares stem cells.
But today I want to share another sort of story: that of a woman in her mid-20's who discovered that she had cancer shortly after she and her husband had their first child. This woman went through repeated rounds of extremely tough chemotherapy, but her disease proved tougher than anything we could offer. I listened to her physician offer her three options. First, another round of very rigorous chemotherapy followed by 4-6 weeks in the hospital recovering; the doctor told her that she might have a 1-2% chance of attaining a remission and being able to proceed to transplant and, hopefully, a cure. Second, to go home and receive “gentler chemotherapy” in an attempt to suppress the growth of her cancer and to enable her to have some time with her family. Third, to receive home hospice services which would help her manage her symptoms in the home for the weeks or months she might have left.

This young woman may be able to beat the odds, but the odds are great indeed. So in her honor, I would like to ask you to help join with our team as we raise funds to support the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) by making a donation to our fundraising campaign for the LLS Woman of the Year. I am part of a team working to raise as much as possible in a 10-week period. Every dollar we raise counts as one vote and the candidate who gets the most votes/raises the most money is named the Man or Woman of the Year.

Stefanie Stephanopoulos, MD PhD
Dr. Stefanie Sarantopoulos is a valuable member of our ABMT team. She primarily focuses on the treatment of patients with leukemia and lymphoma. She also researches ways to improve outcomes following bone marrow and stem cell transplantation. She is energetic and energized… committed to helping us progress toward finding a cure for blood cancers. I would really like to see her win and be named LLS Woman of the Year. But more than that, I would like to see us gain victory over cancer.

Over the years, support from people like you has been responsible for the advancements that have doubled, tripled, and in some cases quadrupled the survival rate for some blood cancers. And many LLS supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients, but are also now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers. They are being studied in clinical trials for patients with lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. In addition, LLS-funded drugs like targeted therapies and immunotherapies are now saving thousands of lives… lives like those of the young woman I mentioned earlier.

All donations are greatly appreciated and tax deductible. They will support LLS research as well as patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services. I hope you will join me in making a secure donation by clicking the "donate" button found at this link or by sending a check made payable to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at 401 Harrison Oaks Blvd, Suite 200, Cary NC 27513 by April 28, 2016. Please include Sue Roth - Team Life Sabers in the memo line of your check. Each donation made in this way will help our team progress toward our fundraising goal of $88,000. And please tell friends who would also like to donate – just send them to this link.

On behalf of myself and especially on behalf of blood cancer patients everywhere, thank you for your support!



OH - P.S. - Donate to the campaign through this link to be eligible to win one of the following prizes:

First prize - a $20 gift certificate to
Second prize - two 5x7" prints of any photographs which have been posted on my site... your choice!
Third prize - two 4x6" prints of any photographs which have been posted on my site... your choice!
I support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

Old San Juan: Pigeon Park

I must admit I'd want to wrap these kids up in bubble wrap smeared with a thick coating of disinfectant before allowing them such close personal contact with the pigeons, but perhaps I'm just letting my inner squeamishness out to play! At any rate, they had lots of fun!