Wednesday, June 29, 2011

USA Volleyball Article

Check out this great article from USA about Rachel and her team at Nationals!

Proving to be as Strong as Steele at Girls Junior National Championships

Candice Kasischke June 29, 2011

ATLANTA (June 29, 2011) – Rachel Steele (Orem, Utah) has spent her past 12 months doing two challenging things: beating cancer and working toward the goal of attending the 2011 USA

Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships being held June 25 to July 4 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

After five rounds of chemotherapy and spending six months in the hospital, Steele has overcome leukemia and is back playing on the court with Club Utah 17 Black, which is competing in the 17 National Division.......

To read the rest of the article click HERE or go to:

Good Luck at Nationals Rachel!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Star Raising Party Pics


My hair was getting out of control... major afro status. So I went and got it trimmed, but the real difference was straightening it. Here are the results of my little experiment.

I went to clinic last week and everything looks really good. My counts are all doing well and my ANC is coming up. I have been playing volleyball a lot and have been practicing with my team for nationals. I am definitely not as good as I used to be, but I am coming along. I leave for Atlanta with my team on tuesday, I am really excited! I also went swimming for the first time in a year the other day. I am really enjoying the little things I haven't been able to do for so long. Until next time...


Monday, June 20, 2011

CureSearch Walk SLC

This is a video of the brave kids diagnosed with cancer in Utah this past year. Many of them have beaten cancer, some are still fighting, and a few have gone on to a better place.
Support CureSearch and help find a cure for Childhood Cancer.

p.s. If you look closely, you will see Rachel about midway through the video :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today I went into the ER with a terrible headache and neck pain. We suspected it would be meningitis. I remember being really scared to get a spinal tap. They drugged me up to help with my headache, and to make it so I wouldn't feel the spinal tap. They sent us up to a room where we worried over what type of meningitis I had. I was quietly praying that I would be able to get better in two weeks for nationals. Around 9 pm the infectious disease doctor came in and kept saying that he was really hoping this would turn out to be meningitis. We were all a little bit confused. Then he mentioned that there were small signs of leukemic blasts in my blood, and that they were calling in an expert to come take a closer look. Before leaving the room he assured us that the "odds were in my favor", and that he really felt strongly that this would be meningitis. After an hour went by they called my parents out of the room, and I began to panic. My fears were confirmed as I saw the doctors and my parents walk back towards the room, with tears streaming down their face. I had leukemia. They told us that they were going to transport me up to primary children's immediately. My mom was not allowed to ride in the back of the ambulance with me, so I rode alone with an ambulance attendant, while my mom rode up front and my dad followed behind in a car. It was the longest ride of my life. I quietly sat and cried, wondering what would happen to me. Hoping that they were wrong. I called and texted a few friends and told them what was going on. It was now about 1:30 in the morning. The next morning they did a number of tests to confirm what type of Leukemia I had. It turned out that I was diagnosed with what was considered to be the "worse" of the two most common types. I tearfully called the college coaches that I had been in contact with, and informed them that I would not be at nationals in a couple of weeks. That day I had a large number of visitors, friends and family rushed up to come see me. It was a very sad day but I tried my best to stay positive. I don't think it had really sunk in yet. This was the start of the longest year of my life.

It is funny how the longest year of my life seemed to go by pretty fast. Maybe it was because of all the medication I was on that much of it seemed like a blur. I was forced to grow up faster than I would have liked. Forced to worry about whether I would live or die, rather than what I was going to wear to school the next morning.

I went through over 130 days in the hospital, over 3 weeks at a time without being able to eat, countless medicines and chemotherapies, the scare of not being able to get into remission, full body irradiation, one bone marrow transplant, and I now sit here today cancer free. I have learned that life is so very fragile, and should be treasured. I have learned the importance of the support that friends and family can offer. I have learned that cancer is almost a bigger emotional battle than it is physical. I will admit, sometimes I forget the lessons I have learned. Cancer hasn't made me perfect by any means, it has just taught me a lot. And even though I am still struggling to get back to my normal self.... I believe that when I do I will be a better person because of all I have learned.

We are not on this earth to struggle alone. The whole point is that we help one another out. To quote high school musical, "WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER". I am so grateful that I have had a wonderful support system. Now I am sort of beginning to ramble. So I will conclude this post by saying thank you so much for all that each and every one of you has done. Your prayers have made all the difference! Here is to a healthy year to come!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Join the Steele Strong Team!

On June 12th, it will be one year since Rachel was diagnosed with AML! That is a day we will never forget. It has been an interesting year, one filled with many ups and downs, more tears than laughter, fears offset by hope, faith amidst the affliction, prayers and more prayers, and an overwhelming sense of humility as so many of you performed tender acts of service for our family. Instead of dreading this upcoming anniversary, we've decided to "give back" to one of our favorite cancer organizations--CureSearch.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer funds supports the lifesaving research of the Children's Oncology Group. During the last 40 years, research has taken children's cancer from a virtually incurable disease 40 years ago to one with an overall cure rate of 78% today. Their goal is a 100% cure rate for children's cancer. Only research cures children's cancer.

Come walk with us on July 9th at 9 a.m. for the CureSearch walk! It will be at Liberty Park in in Salt Lake. It's only $10 to walk and show your support, remember all of your donation will go towards finding a CURE for childhood cancer!

If you can't walk with us, you can sign up to be a virtual walker and still be a part of our team.
You can donate any amount--it all goes towards finding a cure for kids like Rachel. Help us spread the word! You can link this blog post to your facebook and twitter. So join our Steele Strong Team today!

*A quick update on Rachel's clinic visit yesterday. Her ANC went up from 600 to 2200! That is good news! She's been attending her high school volleyball camp this week too. Between that and her club practices the last couple of week's, she's been pretty busy!