Declan Hobbs. 6 years old and dealing with something no child should have to.

Allow me to take a few minutes discussing someone’s cancer, other than mine.

Declan Hobbs is the nephew of my cousin Tammy Baio.  Tammy was married to my cousin until he died way before his time.  So, she is my family, and by extension, so is Declan.

They have started a Go Fund Me page for Declan, which, if you are so moved, you can make a donation to.  If you are not moved to make a financial donation, please keep this young boy in your prayers.

Here is his story, as told by Tammy on Go Fund Me:


“On Tuesday August 16th my brother and his wife, Doug and Joanne, got the call that no parent should ever have to get. They were told that their son has Leukemia, and to rush him to the hospital immediately. They weren’t sure if he was going to make it through the night.
They had taken him to the Doctor that day because he had bruises on his body that just wouldn’t go away, as well as little red spots under his arms. At that second, their world was completely shattered.
He has been diagnosed with a rare aggressive sub type AML leukemia. He is fighting for his life and is having very intense CHEMO treatments.
Declan is 5 years old and will turn 6 this week in the hospital.
He is so weak already, and we’re told he will get even more sick from the intense chemo treatments he was started in.  He will lose his hair this week, and will be going through pure hell.
The family is doing everything they possibly can to hold it all together. They have been by his side and are also trying to care for Declan’s older sister Alexa who is 7. She is taking this very hard as you can imagine, and may be facing a terrifying ordeal of donating bone marrow to her brother.
This beautiful little family is absolutely devastated. Their world has been thrown upside down and they are doing everything they can to get through this.
As you can imagine, Doug and Joanne have missed and will miss a lot more work in order to be by their little boys side while he fights this painful and scary battle with cancer.
We’re just asking for a little help for them, so they can continue to be with him until he heals. This will be a tough journey, but we have faith that he will be well, and we will not stop believing this!!
This is a very aggressive cancer, and they need all the prayers and support they can get.
Anything you can do is so greatly appreciated.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

All I can add is, please ask God what he wants you to do for this young boy.  Give, pray or help in his honor.  Let God guide you through this.

If you are interested in donating, you can go to his fundraising page at:

Thank you

The First Day. My life with leukemia part 2

Ok, so where do we stand now?

Ahh, I remember, my Mom (Marci) and Dad (Russ) coming over to watch Brady and take me to the clinic.  I called them at 9:41 and asked if my Dad could drive me over to a clinic.  While we were trying to figure out where the nearest clinic was, I remember saying, just take me to the hospital.

At 9:43 I text Valerie and told her I was going to the hospital.  I remember her telling me to “suck it up, that I was just constipated”.  I laughed a bit, but it hurt.

Hands down, the most amazing woman in the world!

From here, it gets very crazy.  I left the house at about 10:45 the morning of February 17, very sad but I knew I couldn’t stay home.  My thought while leaving for the hospital was how much I was disappointing Brady on our “guy’s weekend”.  Anyway, I make the ride over to Crittenton with my Dad.  Always an adventure riding with my Dad (the stories I can, and probably will, tell), but when I was in as much pain as I was, it was like being on a roller coaster!  An extremely bumpy roller coaster and as Valerie would tell you, I am a total wuss about roller coasters.

Anyway, he dropped me off at the Emergency Room and went to find a parking spot.  When I got myself into the lobby, the guard just told me to go down the hall and talk to the nurse, it was now 10:55.  So, in my complete crouch, I walked down the long hall into the area with the beds and went to the counter.  When the nurse asked if she could help me, my response was simply, “my stomach hurts a lot.”

They got me into a bed and gave me a remote control to watch a horrible television mounted way up on the ceiling.  I ended up staring at that TV a lot of the day.  I really couldn’t hear it and I realized just how freakin’ many lawyer commercials there are on basic television.  My constant companions during my many hospital stays were the Mike Morris Law Firm and 1 800 Call Sam.  I think I can still tell you what every commercial said.

Then something I had never seen happen happened.  A tech came into the room and took a chest x-ray of me, while I was sitting in the bed!  It was really weird.

The day began ticking away, as only a time in a hospital can..amazingly slow.

I was sent for an ultrasound first.  It was inconclusive.  Inconclusive, but at least I got to drink that stuff that tastes like 7Up and turns you off of 7Up forever.  I sent Valerie a text with a picture of the bottle.  She laughed, because she had had to do that at the hospital about a month before.  Hers was for a bowel obstruction.  We were sure that was what I had too.  Cause we play doctors on TV!  Sorry, old joke.


Then I was send for a CT scan.  They thought my spleen looked a bit enlarged.  At this point, I was just praying it was a problem where they had to remove the spleen and I could skip home.  Nope.

At 2:52 pm on the 16th, I just remember beating myself up for letting Brady down.  I told my Dad that he needed to go take Brady out for dinner.  I said Dave and Busters, but I believe they went to a Coney Island.  My Dad was very reluctant to leave.  I love my Dad.  Though my Dad was never an emotional guy, we weren’t a huggy “love you” family, but seeing my Dad sitting by my bedside that day, I knew how much he loved me.

At 4:54, a doctor came over to tell me my white blood cell count was low and they were thinking I probably had a viral infection.  I can tell you, I felt so much better.  Little did I know.

I talked to Valerie sometime during this and told her it was just a viral infection but they wanted me to stay the night.  We both spoke bravely, on the edge of tears.  I know Valerie mentioned in her blog post that we had been having a very hard time in our marriage prior to that.  I can say we did compatibility testing with our Kensington Church Marriage Mentors and they said we were probably the most compatible couple they had seen.  The

Texting Pics to Valerie to show how great I was doing.

two of us having very few differing points.  I loved her to death, but couldn’t make her believe it.  I was a garbage husband at that time, and I had been preparing myself for her giving up on me.  The thing is God works miracles.  God also knows how much love Valerie and I have for each other.  We are honest when we tell people that we are soul mates.  She still is and always will be.  Every day, it is His hand that makes sure we love each other and pour out to others.

OK, now that I have wiped up a few tears, let’s continue. 

It was 6:12 and they started prepping me for my stay.  I love when a 2-star hotel/4-star hospital gets you your room without a view!  I can tell you, the people at Crittenton were amazing, kind, and so very supportive, though.  So I couldn’t complain too much.

Oh yeah, I couldn’t complain too much.  That wasn’t exactly true.  You will find out through this entire process I became a very needy prick.  Especially to Valerie.  I complained like I was doing it for money.  However, I always tried to be nice to the hospital staff.  Valerie took most of the brunt.  It was so unfair and I am truly sorry.  Valerie was and is my rock in storms, holding God’s hand while grabbing mine and pulling me up.  Without her, I would have died.  Not because of the doctors or treatments, but because I would have given up.  She never let me give up.

While I was being prepped, I just remember thinking this was not a scary thing.  Just get that viral infection fixed and I would be good to go.

I was taken to 6 South (Just before I left for Karmanos, I found out that 6 South is the oncology floor).  There I met Rachel, my lead nurse.  She was funny and nice and she seemed truly worried about my health.

That was the end of the first day.

It was also 36 hours since my last bowel movement.  Sleep came because of drugs, but I was in so much pain, I could never get comfortable.

I thought February 16, 2014 was tough.  It was just the tip of the iceberg.

Stay tuned…..