Have you ever had a seemingly innocuous event change your life forever? Sean Martyn had been tackled on a football field before. And after each tackle, he didn't wait expectantly for far-reaching and life-defining repercussions. But they came anyway, and they may have saved his life.
It's the shocking diagnosis nobody expects; one that forces a family to become instant experts on an illness the majority of the world doesn't know exists. A rare form of pediatric soft tissue cancer, Sean lucked into (inasmuch as one can "luck into" a cancer diagnosis) discovering he was sick. After being tackled in a Brick High School varsity football game, he started experiencing persistent headaches. Two days later, instead of the fractured orbital bone doctors had expected to find, they found a tumor. Sean had Orbital Rhabdomyosarcoma.
Following aggressive, successful chemotherapy and radiation in 2010, Sean turned 18 with no sign of cancer, only to have the tumor return months later, this time having progressed into his bones.
As a first-time parent to a 7-month-old son, I get it now — a parent's sense of love and responsibility, of unconditional and unwavering support. And the idea that a parent should have to grapple with finances in the face of a life and death battle for their child's life is one of the cruelest truths; regardless of the circumstances, advanced medical treatment costs a lot of money, and no amount of love and support will pay a hospital bill.
A second round of radical chemotherapy is underway. Sean's family (mom Joyce, dad Jim, brother Jimbo and sister Kelly) make the trip to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital to support him. The financial burden, for two aggressive rounds of treatment of a rare malignant cancer, is as daunting as you might imagine.
The Sean Martyn Fund is already more than halfway to its goal of $4,000 raised. Donations of any size are appreciated and will help Sean and his family fight the best fight they can during their time of singular vulnerability and resolve.