For many, the difference between life and death can be found in one’s ability to cover the enormous costs of treatment. There are stories, too many to count, of countless patients battling rare disease that have had this cross to bear. Quite frankly, one story is one story too many. We’ve touched on it here numerous times in the many stories we have shared of courageous people who remind us daily what sheer strength, courage, faith, and bravery looks like.

Uncle Bill is no exception.

“4 years ago, my Uncle Bill was diagnosed with CML, a form of Leukemia and given a life expectancy of 5 years. His treatment, thankfully, is a pill he takes daily. It affords him to live a normal life. It makes it possible for him to travel to watch my children graduate from high school. This life-saving drug does come with a cost, $12,000 per month!” writes Bill’s niece on a recent Facebook post.

She continued, “Even with Medicare, this life-saving drug is too expensive. This is where PSI came in to save Uncle Bill’s life and is giving him the time to beat CML. PSI pays for this medication. My one wish is that PSI can continue saving Uncle Bill’s life so, in a few years, he can still be here to watch my son graduate from college!”

At Patient Services Inc., we are extremely thankful that we can play a part in Uncle Bill’s life and help in any way we can. But, our work is not done yet. Far from it.

Every 3 Minutes

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, approximately every 3 minutes one person in the United States (US) is diagnosed with a blood cancer. An estimated combined total of 174,250 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2018.

What Is CML?

The American Cancer Society defines Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML),which is also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia, as a type of cancer that starts in certain blood-forming cells of the bone marrow.

The continue, “In CML, a genetic change takes place in an early (immature) version of myeloid cells — the cells that make red blood cells, platelets, and most types of white blood cells (except lymphocytes). This change forms an abnormal gene called BCR-ABL, which turns the cell into a CML cell. The leukemia cells grow and divide, building up in the bone marrow and spilling over into the blood. In time, the cells can also settle in other parts of the body, including the spleen. CML is a fairly slow growing leukemia, but it can change into a fast-growing acute leukemia that’s hard to treat.”

What Are The Symptoms Of CML?

For many of the symptoms of CML, they can be caused due to the leukemia cells replacing the bone marrow’s normal blood-making cells. This results with people who have CML not producing enough red blood cells, normal operating white blood cells, and platelets.

Although these same symptoms can be tied to other cancers as well as other conditions not related to cancer, it is important to consult your physician if in question symptoms you might be experiencing.

Some of the symptoms can include:

Weakness

Fatigue

Night sweats

Weight loss

Fever

Bone pain (caused by leukemia cells spreading from the marrow cavity to the surface of the bone or into the joint)

An enlarged spleen (felt as a mass under the left side of the ribcage)

Pain or a sense of “fullness” in the belly

Feeling full after eating even a small amount of food

-American Cancer Society

Are PSI And Other Health Care Charities In Danger?

Patient assistance charities don’t just save lives – they save limited government funds.

Charities like PSI have become an essential cornerstone of America’s health care system, providing an estimated $1 billion in financial assistance to Americans in-need. Absent these charitable donations, hundreds of thousands of Americans would be forced to turn to resource-strapped government programs – if they even qualify – for the care they need.

Yet, health care charities are under threat. Find out why, here.

For Uncle Bill And Countless Others

At PSI, our work is far from being done. We want to see to it that Uncle Bill makes it to that graduation. We want to see to it that everyone we can help can have the chance to wake up every day with hope. Hope to make it through another day. Hope for a bright future. And a hope that someday, all rare diseases can find a cure.