A local 35-year-old assistant professor of English, wife, mother and aspiring writer has just undergone a lifesaving bone marrow transplant at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute in Denver.
Zandree (Zee) Stidham was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia or ET (a disease in the same family as Leukemia and Lymphoma) in January 2010. After battling with ET for almost six years, she was told in December 2015 that it had progressed into grade 3 reticulin myelofibrosis, a type of bone marrow cancer.
Despite the physical setbacks, Zee has remained steadfast in her dedication to her family, friends, job and most importantly, her faith.
In a blog written just days before her transplant, she wrote, “He [God] is good, that I know for sure. I love him; I’m in love with him, and I’m willing to walk through any fire in front of me if it means I’m one step closer to him. I don’t know where this will all end, but I am so thankful for the struggle. It is because of the questioning of all I have ever known that I feel that I am closer to knowing God, the real, living God, than I have ever been.”
Zee and her husband Tony have always been ones to walk their talk – they emanate selfless love. In the summer of 2015, they went with their three children to one of the poorest regions of Mozambique and spent the summer serving, teaching and loving on the locals there. Tony has dedicated his profession to the young people of Los Alamos, working at both the Los Alamos Teen Center and as youth pastor at the Church of Christ. They regularly give away whatever they have just to bless people, asking for nothing in return. They have been known to anonymously leave money in people’s mailboxes, buy the person behind them in line coffee at Starbucks, tip excessively and give away their vehicles all in the name of Love.
Having witnessed such incredible hearts for the community, a close friend wanted to find a way for the community to give back as they go through the toughest part of Zee’s battle – her bone marrow transplant.
The transplant took place Oct. 28 and it is expected that Zee will spend four months in Denver recovering before she is able to come home. The transplant, hospital fees, pre and post op drugs, chemotherapy and travel costs for the family back and forth to Denver have (and will continue) to incur costs for the family.
Their friend explained, “We’ve set up this fundraising campaign to help alleviate any worries about the cost of this procedure. We want the Stidham’s to be able to focus on being a family and Zee’s recovery without worrying about how it’s going to be paid for. We’ve set the goal at $200,000 and are currently at just over 1 percent of that goal, so we need all the help we can get!”
For more information about the fundraiser, call 505.709.8483.