My Cousin Emily


It’s been a good day. No fever. Blood count rising. And Chad Pennington’s arm looked good in today’s NY Jets’ season opening victory. J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS! Still, I am more likely to wake up lymphoma-free tomorrow morning than the Jets are to win the Superbowl this year. Oh, well. More important things to focus on at the moment.

With me in the above photo is my cousin Emily. She, her siblings Steve, Greg, and Meaghan, and their parents Rob and Margot, are my home away from home in Los Angeles and I miss them always. Since college I’ve tried to visit them as often as I can, and with six months of treatment ahead, I probably won’t get to see them all until later on next year.

Emily, who started the seventh-grade this past week, is so special to me. Whether it’s been our trips to Zuma beach in LA, talking on the phone, or flying her to Florida to spend a week with my family, Emily and I are always laughing and joking. I know that its been hard for her to learn of my lymphoma diagnosis, and I wish I could just fly to Los Angeles to give her a big, reassuring hug.

Emily has not run away from my diagnosis, or seemed paralyzed with fear of my treatment. Instead, last week, Emily and her friend Charlotte started a fundraiser in her neighborhood for lymphoma research. First, she called me and asked where to donate the money raised (I told her the Lymphoma Research Foundation, which has a fund dedicated specifically to support research on my subtype of lymphoma: http://www.lymphoma.org/). She and her friend designed a flyer that they put in mailboxes, on stop signs, bulletin boards, etc. around her neighborhood. In just one week Emily and Charlotte have raised almost $300 for lymphoma research.

Emily’s initiative, and her dedication to doing what she can to make me better has touched me at such a fundamental level that I almost do not know what to say to her other than thank you and I love you. Emily, you are wise and caring beyond your years, and I am lucky to have you in my life.

1 thought on “My Cousin Emily”

  1. Hey Mike,How are you feeling? I hope well. I thought I would drop you a line and say hello to you and Jacqui. If you guys need anything, please let me know. I know I am up here in Mass., but maybe I can help out some how. Anyways, I thought I would send you something really funny, enjoy!I sent it to Jacqui’s email ( jacqui@paradox.psych.columbia.edu ) because it is the only one I have. If you get a chance please read it . It is hilarious.

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