Thanks to the Support from The Bone Marrow Foundation, FEI Dressage Trainer H. Rick Albertson has A Fighting Chance Against Cancer


H. Rick Albertson photo by Carien Schippers
H. Rick Albertson photo by Carien Schippers

One of my very first friends and clients as I began my life as a dressage photographer and insurance agent was H. Rick Albertson and his then fiancé, Joanne Bonano. We used to tease them about their world record engagment which never resulted in marriage, as well as always sharing a laugh or joke when we would see each other at shows. It was in fact Joanne, who has always remained a close friend with Rick who contacted us about his continued battle with cancer. A special thank you to Ashley Holzer and Barbara Messina of Today's Equestrian for sharing this article. Mary Phelps-Hathaway

H.Rick Albertson, a well-regarded FEI level trainer, instructor and clinician from Saratoga Springs, NY, is fighting the battle of his life. He needs a bone marrow transplant and the financial support of his friends and fellow horsemen to win his battle. A One-to-One Fund may prove to be a lifesaving measure for H. Rick Albertson.

H. Rick Albertson fought his first, and what he, of course, hoped would be his only battle with stage four testicular cancer in 1997. A typical tough horse person, Rick did not realize how sick he was until it was almost too late. Miraculously, Rick fought against great odds and suffering to make a complete recovery but unfortunately, cancer would come back to haunt him a little over ten years later. On May 29, 2007, Rick received the devastating news that he had CLL-SLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small cell lymphoma). Rick immediately began chemotherapy and by January 2008, he had no discernible trace of cancer. Weakened but optimistic, Rick plunged back into running his show barn, teaching lessons, riding and showing his client’s horses.

 

It was only two years ago when Rick Albertson was a top competitor at dressage shows. Today he relies on hospital staff and The Bone Marrow Foundation for his fighting chance. Here he is with his favorite nurse, Natalie.
It was only two years ago when Rick Albertson was a top competitor at dressage shows. Today he relies on hospital staff and The Bone Marrow Foundation for his fighting chance. Here he is with his favorite nurse, Natalie.

In March 2009, Rick was feeling better than he had in years. When a small sore appeared on his tonsil, no one thought anything of it. But heartbreakingly, the cancer had returned and had mutated into a more virulent form. After surgery, a cycle of chemotherapy and radiation, Rick once again got an “all clear” from his oncologist. However,within six weeks it was obvious that something was terribly wrong. For someone who had already endured such terrible suffering, the news was grim: He would have to immediately undergo yet more chemotherapy just to stay alive while doctors searched for a bone marrow donor.

Still, Rick would not give up. Many who know Rick have heard him say about himself, “I may be small, but I’m wiry.” It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Rick has been very sick since then,but his human spirit is stronger than his disease. Rick entered Dana Farber Cancer Institute on June 2nd to receive a cord blood transplant. The doctors were unable to identify a perfect donor match so they decided to perform a transplant using stem cells from a baby's umbilical cord. This type of transplant is used quite frequently in Rick's circumstance.

Rick’s family now waits, hopes and prays for the stem cells to engraft and become Rick’s new immune system. In the meantime, Rick could use everyone’s support, well-wishes and prayers. In addition, Rick has been unable to work consistently for quite some time and will be unable to work again for a very long time. He cannot be near his beloved horses or visit the barn. Rick will not be able to go into public places for up to a year until his immune system rebuilds
itself. Even a simple cold could prove fatal during this time.

Rick is now applying for NY State Medicaid and SSD. To help Rick with his current financial hardship and the many expenses he will incur during this difficult time, his family and friends have teamed with The Bone Marrow Foundation to create a special One-to-One Fund to collect donations on his behalf. Even a small donation would be gratefully appreciated as Rick endures this tremendous struggle.

What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?
A bone marrow, stem cell or cord blood transplant is an overwhelming experience—physically, emotionally, logistically and financially—both for patients and for their families. The Bone Marrow Foundation was founded in 1992 with a single vital goal to improve the quality of life for children and adults who are undergoing transplantation as a life saving treatment for many types of cancers and genetic disorders. All of the foundation’s services are offered free to patients and their families. The Bone Marrow Foundation offers a financial assistance program called the One-to-One Funds Program. This program allows family and friends to raise money specifically for the patient. By donating to a patient's Fund, community, family and friends can raise money for the patient’s transplant expenses and all donations will directly benefit the patient.

A One-to-One Fund may prove to be a lifesaving measure for H. Rick Albertson.To make a donation to Rick’s One-to-One Fund,
please go to:
http://www.bonemarrow.org/onetoone/121-albertson.html
Thanks to the support from The Bone Marrow Foundation, FEI dressage trainer H. Rick Albertson has A Fighting Chance Against Cancer It was only two years ago when Rick Albertson was a top competitor at dressage shows. Today he relies on hospital staff and The Bone Marrow Foundation for his fighting chance. Here he is with his favorite nurse, Natalie.




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