Lindsay MacIver “Lindsay’s Legacy”

My beautiful daughter, Lindsay Rochelle MacIver, was born on February 20, 1983.  From the moment she was born, there was something special about her.  Growing up, our house was always busy.  Spending time with her sisters, her friends, reading, going to Brownies, dance class, baseball, soccer, and basketball.  She loved being active.  When it came time for high school, different things occupied her mind … but one thing she knew, she wanted to help people.  So the plan was after graduation, she would go to college to become a nurse practitioner.

Life had different plans.

It was five days after her 19th birthday when she discovered a lump in her upper chest area.  Probably a cyst, we thought, but to be sure, we made an appointment with her doctor for the very next morning.  He did an aspiration biopsy immediately, the results of which showed atypical cells, so, the next step was a surgical biopsy.

Driving to the hospital that day, I remember her being relaxed and confident with what the day would bring.  Even as she was rolled into surgery, she smiled like it was no big deal.  Not one of us thought, for even a minute, that in a short time life as we knew it would be changed forever.

“You have cancer”.

The doctor is actually saying these words to my beautiful, healthy, energetic, daughter.  How could this be?

Well, it was … and it turned out to be an extremely rare pediatric cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.  Statistics were not in her favor, but that didn’t matter to Lindsay; all that mattered was effort, and she was going to put 110% of everything she had in her to beat it.

Giving voice to our belief that she could beat this was a team of incredibly dedicated doctors, nurses, and a nurse practitioner at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.  During the next 2 ½ years, Lindsay was poked, prodded, and pinched more times than I can count.  With each MRI, CT, XRay, or blood work that she had, our hopes were either lifted up, or shot down in a matter of minutes.  She endured 7 different chemotherapies, surgery that removed six ribs, part of her lung, part of her sternum, and side effects ranging from a slight rash to peripheral neuropathy which affected her ability to walk.  All the while keeping her head high and smile bright.  She never gave up.  She believed, as we all did, that she would beat it ….

During her battle, Lindsay and I were pretty much together 24/7.  I consider myself very blessed to have had that time with my daughter, and ultimately to be alone with her as she took her last breath on July 21, 2004.

But her story continues … in my heart, in my memories, and with the Lindsay’s Legacy 5K Run that I hold every November, which raises money towards researching a cure for pediatric cancer.

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