Six months after their second chance fairytale began, Tracy almost lost his life to a rare form of leukemia, commonly treated with a 90 percent success rate in children but only contracted by a tiny fraction of adults who have only a 30 percent survival rate.
The diagnosis was a shock as the newlyweds went from a trip to the emergency room in Cedar City to full-scale cancer treatments at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, in less than 24 hours.
Tracy had not been feeling well, but had no idea he was dying. Had he not reached LDS hospital in such short order, he would not be alive for Ana to take care of now. What began as an emergency room visit transformed immediately into a 90-day hospital stay at LDS Hospital that ended both Tracy’s and Ana’s employment, and changed their lives forever.
Tracy was accepted into a study experimenting on how to treat adults with this type of leukemia, and after massive amounts of concentrated chemo therapy including spinal injections and brain specific treatments of chemo, and in spite of losing a kidney just two weeks ago, his last three bone marrow biopsies stated the cancer was finally in remission.
Now he continues radiation treatments to keep the cancer at bay and looks forward to a bone marrow transplant next week from his little brother, with the hope his body will not reject the transplant.
A friend of the family, Michelle Harris, who recently started an event planning business, Your Events, which helps individuals plan every type of event from weddings to birthday parties to fundraisers, donated her time and expertise to create the Mistletoe Mall fundraiser for Tracy and Ana at Gateway Preparatory Academy last Friday and Saturday.
Many vendors sold original items for unique Christmas gifts, and Brian Head Resort was present offering huge sales on last season’s ski clothing and equipment.
Neither Tracy nor Ana knew of the fundraiser, and came to see Tracy’s daughter play the role of the matchmaker in Canyon View’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and the benefit on Tracy’s behalf was a surprise.
Ana said in spite of the horrible chemo therapy and the endless health problems facing him, Tracy is always smiling and positive.
“The nurses at the hospital loved to come into Tracy’s room just to see his smile,” she said.
“The nurses ask me how I’m doing, and I always say ‘fantastic!’” Tracy said. “Attitude makes a big difference. I think it has kept me alive.”
Tracy’s sister, Nina Hansen, who is also a cancer survivor, introduced the newlyweds and said Ana never leaves Tracy’s side.
“She takes care of him 24/7,” she said. “She makes sure he eats right, gives him his meds, communicates with the nurses and the doctors, does research on his illness, and is always there for him.”
Michelle Harris said if anyone would like to donate to help Tracy and Ana as they struggle under the weight of illness, endless medical bills and the medication costs alone that exceed $10,000 a month, they can contact her at Your Events at 691-1299.