My mother, Frankie Reinhardt, was diagnosed with osteoporosis in August of 2004. She was 55 years old. Mom had always taken good care of her health, lifting weights at the gym three days a week and playing tennis. As her back pain progressed over the next two months, the doctor ran more tests and the diagnosis was changed from osteoporosis to multiple myeloma.
I did my best trying to explain the diagnosis to my children. At 11, 4, 3, and 2 years old, all four were extremely close to their grandmother, enjoying regular playtimes and overnight visits with their "Nana." I told them that Nana had a disease in her body, and that the doctor advised that she would no longer be able to lift them up.
My eldest daughter, Katie, had a particularly close relationship with Nana. For six years, she had been my mom's only grandchild and the two of them were the best of friends. As Katie's birthday approached, she came to me with an idea of how she wanted to celebrate. In lieu of birthday gifts, Katie asked her friends to honor her grandmother by donating money to help cancer patients. Katie's birthday was turned into a surprise party for Nana, as well as a fundraiser for the IMF's myeloma research program. At "Katie's Birthday Charity Bash," Katie and her friends were able to raise $1,400—a big feat in a small town!
I am very proud of my daughter and her friends, and grateful that Nana lived long enough to participate in this joyful celebration."