“We put jars up here (at Max Fuel Express where Shameka worked) and at other strategic locations around Cadiz and Trigg County,” said her coworker and manager Sheena Bakeley. “We also set up a bank account for her at Integra Bank.”
In addition to the jars requesting solicitations, a community fund raising event was held at the Trigg County Complex that helped add to the bank account.
“It was just tremendous,” Blakley said of the response.
“I can’t tell you how blessed we are,” said Virginia Harris, mother of Shameka. “People have been so wonderful, I don’t know how we can thank them all.”
But she’s not letting the efforts go unnoticed. As she makes time after her work at Trigg County Hospital, she makes every effort that known benefactors are thanked. “I’m trying to send everyone a thank you note that I have the names for,” Harris said.
Among those cards are some going to Long Beach, California. Shortly after reading of Shameka’s diagnosis in The Cadiz Record, the following was received:
“My students and I learned of an effort in process to raise funds to help defray the high cost of medical bills associated with the diagnosis and treatment of leukemia for Shameka Green.
“I do not know the address of the Integra Bank in Cadiz, but I know The Cadiz Record’s address and am therefore sending the letter and donation through your business and requesting that you forward it to the proper channel that is receiving the funds.”
The letter was sent by a group of teachers who have never met Shameka nor been in Cadiz. They had collected $300 among several teachers and students. “We, along with some of my classroom students are sending you $300 and our sincere prayers and thoughts,” said the letter signed by Mrs. Anderson.
At the time it was hoped that Shameka’s brother, Marcus Green, would be able to qualify as a bone marrow donor in the event one was needed. Unfortunately, he was not a match, but Shameka’s recovery has been so good in recent months that she may not need a transplant.
“We won’t know until this fall whether a transplant will be necessary,” said her mother, “right now she’s doing well with her medicine.” The medicine she is taking Gleevec and she needs one pill a day.
Currently a 120-day supply of the medicine cost between $2,500 and $3,000. The pill is the first of a new class of antiproliferative agents called signal transuction inhibitors with interfere with the pathways that signal the growth of tumor sells. Gleevec is used to specifically target the abnormal cells associated with leukemia called chronic myeloid leukemia.
Ironically, Gleevec is one of the many cancer-fighting drugs that were brought about thru research funded by the American Cancer Society. Cadiz and Trigg County have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past four years in its annual Relay for Life that goes directly to such research.
The Gleevec being taken by Shameka has little effect on normal cell growth and her doctors think the medicine may eventually keep her from having to undergo any bone marrow transplant.
Unlike some chemo cancer drugs, Shameka says she doesn’t suffer a lot of illness or after effects from the pill. “I feel really tired all the time,” she said. “I can’t work any because I am tired, but I don’t really feel bad.”
The illness has also prevented her from completing her schooling. “She is a hard worker and the only time she has been off is when she has been attending college,” Bakeley said of Shameka.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the love and support that I have received during my illness,” Shameka said. “Many thanks to all the churches and stores that have donated to help my medical expenses. Also, a thank you to those who have showed your concern by calling and sending cards.
“Thank you to the entire staff and doctors at Trigg County Hospital for their support and kindness and a special thank you to Sheena Blakley and others that contributed to the fund raiser that was held in my honor.
“From the bottom of my heart I thank all my family friends and everyone for their prayers. May God bless you all.”
Contributions may be sent to the Shameka Green Fund, in care of Integra Bank, Cadiz, KY 42211.