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Supporting the Eckard Family

Phoenix, AZ

Story

As some of you may know G and his family have been going through one of the hardest times ever and have been doing so with faith and grace. During this trying time G and his family have stayed strong through their faith in God and with the support of their community, both personally and at work. This page is being created in an effort to help ease some of the day to day needs with a family of five. Time should be spent healing and enjoying each other, not worrying about what to make for dinner and to give a little something extra for the kiddos to enjoy. So many of us live far and can't drop off a meal, this page gives us the ability help. I am including a note from G about his journey and his positive outlook on life. We could all take a lesson from him. Keep on fighting G! In March 2020 I thought I tore my meniscus in my right knee due to sudden onset, sharp pain. This was right at the time where Covid-19 really hit the USA and shut everything down. Because of this, it took a few weeks to get a doctor appointment. This appointment progressed to x-rays and an MRI. The MRI led to a referral to an orthopedic oncologist, and cancer was mentioned for the first time. Following a biopsy in early May 2020, I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma by the middle of the month. Osteosarcoma is a cancer that begins in the bones. It is extremely rare in general, and even rarer in adults as it is classified as a childhood cancer. My family jokes I am “One in a Minion” because of the rare circumstances. Through the months of June and August, I completed 3 rounds of chemo prior to surgery. These were probably my darkest days. It is difficult to explain how gravely ill these drugs can make you feel. I was given Doxorubicin and Cisplatin, which are the most toxic chemotherapy drugs that currently exist. Every round was difficult. And every round was different, so it was never clear what we could expect. The prayer support from our church family, compassion and understanding from my work colleagues and practical support from our church family and neighborhood are what sustained me during this time. In August my leg was upgraded to “Ironman status.” I had what is referred to as a limb salvage surgery. The main cancerous tumor was removed along with a large portion of my femur, my knee and a portion of my shin. In return, I received an impressive amount of hardware in my leg as a replacement. This surgery was followed by 3 more rounds of chemo as well as 37 sessions of radiation. Recovery was slow. I had to relearn how to walk, and develop strength and stability after 6 months of being unable to walk before finally walking unassisted around Jan 2021. My final round of chemotherapy was in January 2021. This led to one final hospital stay for chemotherapy related complications, but we thought this would be the end of our journey with cancer. Unfortunately, this was not the case. A routine CT scan in Feb, which was a follow up from chemotherapy induced pneumonia revealed calcifications in my lungs. Following a number of tests and a lung biopsy it was confirmed as metastatic osteosarcoma in April 2021. The oncologist delivered the news as best he could and outlined a new chemotherapy plan, which we pray will work to control, halt, then reverse the growth of the cancer. I completed my first week of high dose chemotherapy with two new types of chemotherapy drugs the first week in May. My body’s response to this chemo has been a world apart from my response to the previous medicines that I thought were going to kill me, at times. I am delighted that I am not experiencing those same dark days this round. I give the credit for this to God and His mercy and grace! Despite the trials and tribulations we face we remain thankful for all the time, memories and experiences we had. We are unsure of what the future holds for us. The chemotherapy may cure me, or the Lord may intervene and heal my body, but we don’t know if that is going to happen. Our lives are filled with so many blessings. Our goal as a family is not to live in fear of the unknown, but to make as many great memories as possible and continue to put Jesus first for the sake of others as we remain steadfast in our faith in a Sovereign God through whom all things are possible. G


Special Notes

I am going to list some dining places in the wishlist section. Also including some places the kids might be able to get a new toy or game. Three kids will have birthdays in July: Gerhard (Boy 12), Malaina (Girl 10) Lariana (girl 8) I will update the wishlist as I get more information from G about their food likes and kids shopping preferences. Thank you all!!

Wishlist

KIND WORDS & COMMENTS