On February 17th, 2012 the Schlachter family's life was turned upside down; Rachel's husband, Vaughn was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). She was sure she would go into labor with the shock of the news... Rachel was currently 37 weeks pregnant. She would have liked to have been focusing on having their second daughter in just a few short weeks – but now Rachel found herself in a fight against a fast-spreading cancer that was threatening the life of her 32 year old husband. Vaughn was admitted to The Hershey Medical Center that night.
Over the next few days all of their time and energy went into starting chemo for Vaughn, and changing Rachel's doctors and hospital to plan for the birth of their daughter. Her obstetrician only delivered at Harrisburg Hospital – and Rachel was determined to have Vaughn be a part of the birth. They also made the necessary investments to retrieve and store the new baby’s cord blood – in the event that a bone marrow transplant would ever be needed, there was a possibility it could be used to save Vaughn's life.
Vaughn started his chemotherapy on February 23rd and by the next day, he had already developed complications due to the onset of pneumonia. Rachel's water broke at 10:30 that evening, and the nurses in the Labor & Delivery and Cancer units did everything in their power to make Vaughn a part of the birth. When the time came, however, Rachel was told Vaughn was too ill to be there with her. Rachel was having their second daughter without the presence of her husband, and on a different floor of the hospital Vaughn was being intubated to assist with his breathing, and his health was rapidly declining. As you can imagine, it was a very emotional time for everyone who knew them – this family had lived through a 7 day period like most people have never experienced. The nurses were able to rush Rachel and their new daughter Zavella (whom they soon called their 'rainbow in the storm') to Vaughn's room to see him for a few minutes before he was moved promptly into the ICU. He was intibated there for a week, and remained in the hospital until March 17th, 2012. He only saw Zavella once more during the first month of her life.
Vaughn's cancer did go into remission. However, he was off work for 6 months during his treatment and recovery - and their family and friends played a huge role in providing numerous types of physical and emotional support. As draining as it was - it was all worth it. Family and friends celebrated one year in remission in March 2013. He was feeling all but back to normal, but on October 22nd, 2013 Vaughn received a phone call he was not expecting. After having routine bloodwork drawn the day before, the doctor called to tell him things did not appear normal. Further testing immediately confirmed - Vaughn's cancer was back. He was readmitted to the hospital the next day, and the family once again started preparation for an even more intense process of chemotherapy. This time, Vaughn will be receiving treatment inside his spine. In addition, he is currently waiting for an imminent bone marrow transplant. The doctors estimate that Vaughn will be off work for a year, maybe longer. The Schlachter family will be without income - and without health insurance - from the spring of 2014 until Vaughn's return to work.
And now, this is where You come in.