Archive for Saturday, December 22, 2012

Carolers brighten family’s spirits

Lawrence woman battling leukemia

December 22, 2012


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The holiday season is filled with children telling Santa Claus what presents they want for Christmas. But two Lawrence children just want to spend Christmas with their mom at home.

Today a doctor will tell their mom, Candice Drake-Shepard, who earlier this year was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, if that will be possible.

“Fingers crossed,” she said.

Drake-Shepard has gone from being a nurse at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates to being a patient at hospitals or the Hope Center, a health care facility in Kansas City, Mo.

“It’s definitely been a life-changing experience,” she said.

On Saturday night, her hemoglobin and white blood cell counts were good, and she was spending a few days at home with her husband, Travis, and two children, Damien, 6, and Natalee, 9.

“The kids are really excited,” she said.

And today, Candice’s doctor will tell her if her blood counts will require her to go in for treatment on Christmas.

Needless to say, the holiday season hasn’t been easy for Candice and her family.

Candice’s cancer is advanced, and she no longer works as a nurse. Complications prevent her from undergoing a possibly lifesaving bone-marrow transplant. Travis left his job to be with Candice during her chemotherapy treatments and to stay with her at the Hope Center.

“He’s had to do a complete life change,” she said, Travis nodding his head.

With all they’re going through, the Shepard family is getting some help this season.

“The community has come together in so many ways,” Candice said. “It’s great to see how much they take away from themselves to give to us.”

The Shepards’ Christmas tree is overflowing with donated presents. And Saturday evening, the family received a knock on their door from Brandy Hurrelbrink and the Christmas Caroling Angels. This is the second year the group has sung for those with illnesses.

“We are doing Christmas caroling for hope,” Hurrelbrink said. “You couldn’t take a gift to them and have them have as much joy as you can going to sing to them.”

The group sang “Happy Birthday” — Candice has a birthday coming up — followed by some scattered verses of “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Hurrelbrink confessed they are far from professionals but said it is the thought that counts.

The Shepards filed out of the house and into the snow and slush to sing along.

After the group finished, Hurrelbrink and Candice hugged.

“That she is here is a Christmas miracle,” Hurrelbrink said.

Candice said the help from people like the Christmas Caroling Angels has made living easier.

“I’m very thankful and appreciative of everyone who has called or sent food. It has been one blessing after another.”


bearded_gnome 5 years, 4 months ago

Sometimes nurses have a hard time accepting the help as a patient. I hope that Candice can relax, and accept the care and tender love she needs in order to heal.

Thanks LJW for printing this story, but most of all thanks to the Caroling Angels. music is a healing balm and you brought it.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 4 months ago

Travis left his job to be with Candice during her chemotherapy treatments and to stay with her at the Hope Center.

“He’s had to do a complete life change,” she said, Travis nodding his head.

---Good man! rRight on.

There are most particular stresses for husband caregivers; I know them firsthand. Hang in there, Travis you've made the right choice, you will be so glad you did!

Angie Dick 5 years, 4 months ago

I so LOVE Trav, and Candice. They have been my life long friends (for too many yrs to count) Trav is gonna take THE best care of her an them babies, they are his LIFE! I so love you all!

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