At Adventist HealthCare we often refer to our colleagues and fellow workers as a family. In part, that is because of our efforts to create a warm and collegial environment in which to work. Demonstrating God’s love is at the heart of our mission—which also brings those familial emotions to the surface.
When I heard about the challenges facing Dr. Jon Rhee and his wife Lori, I was moved by the circumstances they are facing in much the same way that I would be touched if something similar was happening within my own family.
Lori was just 30 when she received her diagnosis, and the cancer has been very aggressive. Dr. Rhee explains that it is unusual for this type of cancer to appear in such a young person, and when it does, it is generally a very slow growing type; however, in his wife’s case, it is growing quickly. A bone marrow transplant is really the most effective treatment, but Lori’s HLA (tissue type) is quite rare, and matches can be very difficult. To date, there have been no matches made with the national registry.
The Rhees are Korean, and Dr. Rhee feels that it is likely that a perfect match will only come from another person who is Korean—dramatically narrowing the potential donors in the national registry. Dr. Rhee, family, friends, and colleagues have been holding bone marrow donor events in the hopes of finding a match, but this has not resulted in the match that Lori needs. They have reached a critical point in Lori’s journey, and it may be that they will soon need to move forward in treatment without a 100% match.
For those who know and work with Jon, his positive attitude and compassionate spirit make Washington Adventist Hospital a better place to work and a better place for our patients. He was recognized with our Physician RISES award in the first half of 2014, and he is a valued member of our team. It is our privilege to support someone who gives so much to WAH and AHC, who so effectively shares in our mission.
More than that, Jon and Lori are part of our family. While we may not be able to share their burden, we can certainly share their journey, and we hold them up in our hearts and our prayers.