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Cancer: A family diagnosis

Alderette - 6.jpg

By Kortney Scroger

Wake up. Kick cancer. Repeat. I’ve got this. 

That's the mantra printed on a T-shirt Daniel Alderette, 36, wears as he receives chemotherapy treatment at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. For the next six months, this will be his daily routine: 28 days of chemotherapy, 28 days off. 

On January 5, 2018, Daniel and his wife Jessica drove to the Tacoma General Hospital Emergency Department because he had been experiencing flu-like symptoms. Instead of the flu diagnosis they were expecting, Daniel was diagnosed with a rare sub-type of blood cancer — acute promyelocytic leukemia. 

A cancer diagnosis, especially one as aggressive as Daniel’s, puts mental, emotional and financial stress on patients and their families. With two young children and a reduced income because of Daniel’s rigorous treatment schedule, the Alderettes were relieved when they met oncology social worker, Betsy Allen. 

“Betsy took a lot of stress off us. The first day we met her, she offered us so many resources. We’ve received a lot of assistance that we would not have known about without her help,” Jessica says. 

Social workers like Betsy help remove barriers to care. They work with families to connect them with resources that can relieve stress associated with treatment. Many of these resources are available because of donor contributions. 

Betsy connected the family with financial assistance to help with their rent. She also asked the Mary Bridge Child Life Services team to check in on the Alderette children, Danica, 10, and Carter, 7. Children are especially sensitive to major life changes. Mary Bridge Child Life Services is a donor-supported program that works to minimize stress and anxiety on children and families. Child Life Specialist, Kristen Bishop, filled backpacks for Danica and Carter with crayons and books with age-appropriate information about their dad’s diagnosis. 

“The services that they’ve given to support us both financially and for our kids allow us to focus solely on his treatment, on Daniel getting btter,” Jessica explains. “We’ve got this!”


Support families like the Alderettes 

A family’s world stops when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. But with your help, we can all play a part in giving the gift of time back to patients and their families. Join us Saturday, September 15, at Rock the Foundation benefiting MultiCare Regional Cancer Center. Registration is opens at July 10 at rockthefoundation.org

You can also contribute to providing comfort and resources to cancer patients in your community by making a donation to Where The Need Is Greatest.  

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