Crusaders Fighting Cancer
Pat and Jack Geoghegan got involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society close to 30 years ago and have been committed to raising awareness and support ever since.
By Robin Jovanovich
Pat and Jack Geoghegan got involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society close to 30 years ago and have been committed to raising awareness and support ever since. Jack served on the national board. Pat was asked to participate in the 2012 Man & Woman of the Year campaign, in which candidates compete for the title and are judged solely on their success in raising money.
“Last year’s winners raised $104,000,” said Pat. “My goal is $110,000. I’m doing this for Meg.” In last year’s national campaign, $14,500,000 was raised.
Meg and Ken Mackay have been good friends of the Geoghegans for over 20 years. In 2000, Meg, who was then teaching at the Ursuline School, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2007, she was diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome). After numerous blood transfusions and chemotherapy, Meg underwent a stem cell transplant in 2008.
“I’m one of 12 children and three of my siblings were perfect matches,” she noted. “But the markers are better with a male, so my brother came from Australia to donate his cells. The transplant was nothing compared to the chemotherapy you have leading it up to the surgery. It almost kills you.”
While Meg has been MDS-free since the transplant, she has a new battle to fight — GVHD, graft-versus-host disease, which develops when the patient’s normal cells are attacked by the donor’s immune cells.
The disease has affected her skin, mouth, and gastrointestinal tract and has brought her to the ICU many times these past few years.
The nurses at Weill Cornell Medical Center call her “Rasputin”.
Ken Mackay spends as much time as he can generating funds for a cure for Meg, and countless others. In the last three years he has raised close to $60,000 through participating in endurance events with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT).
“The organization offers every kind of support. Our mission is clear and working. The survival rates for leukemia have tripled in the last 40 years,” he says hopefully.
The Mackay family has discovered — the hard way — how supportive the Rye community can be when a family is in need.
More is needed. Contact Pat Geoghegan at 914-329-0901 or visit pages.teamintraining.org/wch/ambbr12/musden. Ken is taking part in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride this summer in Lake Tahoe.