Tag Archive | "leukemia"

11903695_10201098138492533_3492387666033616902_n

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A year after major changes at WNST, I’m very happy and here’s why…

Posted on 24 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

 

“The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.”

– O.A. “Bum” Phillips.

 

A year ago this week, I famously made some massive changes in my life and here at WNST.net & AM 1570. At the time, as you might remember, my wife Jennifer was bald, frail and fighting for her life after battling a rare form of leukemia, the effects of chemotherapy and radiation and in the early recovery phase in the aftermath of a June 26, 2014 bone marrow transplant.

At the time, the moves to reduce my staff and increase my radio responsibilities were considered by many to be “controversial” or “desperate” or somehow inexplicable even though I wrote ­– from my heart – more than 8,000 words in two blogs about the changes. I wrote a lot about happiness and my journey in life and a unique calling to do sports media in Baltimore as my life’s work from the time I was 15 years old.

With the aid of my former employees ­– who fanned a social media assault on me and WNST and my sponsors even as my wife quietly spent the following six days in the hospital in a dark room fighting for her life after the firings – my reputation was being smeared and relationships were being poisoned by the very people I spent years of my life trying to nurture and feed. A year later – and after unearthing many truths that weren’t as clear last August, as well as seeing the world with far more clarity and unfiltered information – I can assure you that I made the right decision.

As a matter of fact, I would say it was the best decision I’ve ever made – downsizing, rightsizing, reorganizing and getting back to doing what I do best and what makes me happy and why I berthed WNST to begin with in August 1998: opining, reporting and talking about Baltimore sports.

I abandoned doing something that wasn’t profitable, didn’t make me happy and didn’t appear to hold out any hope of growing.

I did something that I’ve been doing since January 1984 when I got my first sports newspaper internship: I adjusted and changed and learned and grew.

It’s been 12 months since I’ve blogged about my business, my station or my work/life situation because I’ve been too focused on re-building a fantastic company and my personal brand via a daily regiment and lifestyle that works for me and my family. I also did a little 30-city MLB tour and swabbed thousands of people for the bone marrow registry along the way this summer and threw a May 14th gala with Chuck Pagano for There Goes My Hero that many are still talking about around Baltimore. We’re also working with the premier golf tournament in town with Ruth’s Chris at their Sizzling Classic on Sept. 21st to benefit a charity that was personally involved in helping my wife survive leukemia in 2014.

I’m also doing the finest and most comprehensive radio interviews and conversations of my career with distribution greater than my mind could’ve imagined when I started in the newspaper and radio world. It’s by far my best work and I hope you’re enjoying it at WNST.

Inspiration, passion, energy, commitment and a sincere follow through have never been an issue for me. This is the sole reason WNST came into existence in 1998. This is how I birthed a sports radio station from a small AM brokered radio show on a big band radio station in afternoon drive time in the early 1990s. There’s always been a

Comments (20)

What's the worst MLB stadium? Nestor says No. 30 was easy: just go to Orange County and see what the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have under a broken halo...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 30 Anaheim

Posted on 10 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, someone has to be “last.” Simply put: this place is a dump. I visited “The Big A” in 1991 when it was still a two-sport relic and they’ve had me believing from afar for nearly two decades that they actually fixed the place up. I dunno. Maybe I just harbored higher expectations. I watched it again last weekend when the Orioles visited on television and nothing cosmetically on the broadcast prepares you for how ordinary the whole experience is once you arrive in Orange County. The concessions are so far inferior to every other ballpark as to be laughable. The alcoves in the stadium are dark, dreary and awful. It’s not really structurally much different than I remember it from 24 years ago – and even then it was an awkwardly shaped, multi-use facility at a freeway exit near what used to be orange groves that are now strip malls or outposts of Disneyland. Now, to point out some positives: even the worst place (and last place) in MLB to see a baseball game had some bright spots. I did see a visor for $6.88 and I have great remorse that I didn’t purchase it to match my Dodgers “LA” visors. I also bought a draft beer in the 3rd inning at a discount stand for $4.50. And it was a real beer ­– like 16 ounces and tasty! But, overall, the place is an eyesore, really, if you judge it against the other 29 parks. I’ve been to many minor league parks with more to recommend them, including Aberdeen. The Angels should be embarrassed, especially considering how great the fanbase has been and how cute those monkeys are all over the place. I walked around all 30 MLB ballparks in 30 days. This place is the worst. And, for me, it’s not really close. Well, except for perhaps No. 29…

***

On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

 

IMG_20150701_163725784

Comments (0)

Nestor traveled to 30 MLB ballparks in 30 days this summer and is putting them in order. We'll be counting them down from worst to first through Sept. 8 when he'll release a three-part essay on his MLB #GiveASpit leukemia and bone marrow awareness journey.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ranking 30 MLB stadiums from worst to first isn’t easy

Posted on 10 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Today, with my 30th ranked stadium in Major League Baseball, I’ll be unveiling – and highlighting – a different ballpark and experience from my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit tour. We’ll be ranking them from worst to first every day over the month.

Much like criteria for various sports Halls of Fame, postseason awards and/or any other smarmy institutional rankings or polls or opinions, this one rests solely on me. I figured if I could rank my Top 50 Bruce Springsteen songs, or U2 numbers or Rush classics, then I could work out the most requested piece of advice or expertise from spending a month of my life on the road chasing baseball.

Along my journey this summer, everyone seemed to ask the same question:

“Which stadium did you like the best?”

And, honestly, when you’re in a different ballpark every night for 30 days, it’s pretty natural to start comparing and contrasting every facet of every place you visit.

My ranking are based on an all-encompassing vibe and mojo. These are my personal rankings. They’re not “traditional” in any way. I put a lot of thought into them and invested the time and money to visit them all and experience baseball in totality in 2015.

I didn’t take as gospel what some broadcaster or “journalist,” who enters through the press gate and rolls up to the feeding room, said about these venues. Instead, I walked through every park – some of them twice – just to see every nook and cranny.

It’s also obvious that every stadium is better with more people in it and fans filling it. Some parks are struggling to get folks to come to the games and many with good reasons across MLB.

Baseball ain’t really so cheap and “family friendly” anymore. Sure, you can score a $5 get-in these days in Denver or Phoenix but there’s a reason these owners are making hundreds of millions of dollars while putting a sometimes “cheap as possible” brand of baseball on the field.

Your TV money (and every neighbor you have) is what’s driving the business of baseball. The stadiums are simply a stage that allows the money to flow.

Some teams – like the Yankees, Tigers and Orioles – have built stadia over the past two decades that are chic, sexy and printing money but they haven’t really captured the spirit and charm of their previous homes. It’s almost been a backward ride for the mojo of the franchise in some ways. For other dumps and cookie cutters like The Vet and Busch Stadium and Three Rivers (which was one of the worst places to watch a game from any sight line), well it was hard to not improve with a new facility.

And the venerable places – and the top two on my list – are old-school stadiums that have renovations that have made them shine even more.

Look, many of these ballparks are lovely. Every community – save for Oakland, Tampa and maybe Toronto, can look their fans in the eyes and say “we have a world class facility that warrants you dropping a bunch of money to see a game in our stadium.”

One criteria I’d use is this: if I were a fan of this team, how compelled would I be to buy a 13-game plan, venture to the stadium and want to spend money at baseball games. I’ve been going to baseball games since 1972. Before Peter Angelos took my press pass in 2006, I did 40 to 60 games a year. Now, it’s more of a “special occasion” for me to go to a baseball game. Especially given the amount of money it costs to spend a summer night at a game if you pay retail and eat inside the park.

The bottom line is this: where is my money good?

In the end, which of these places would make me want to fly back – right now – and do it all over again and watch a ballgame.

There’s a lot of ethereal, intangible qualities in a stadium experience.

In some places – like Seattle, San Francisco, Minnesota – I was held at the top of sections and could only take my seat at the of an at bat. It was forced courtesy. I thought it was superbadass and long overdue at baseball games. I like the hockey rules. You are allowed to move around when the ball isn’t in play. Seems so sensible as to be standard operating procedure. But we’ve all had some idiot walk in front of us just as a 3-1 pitch is being delivered with two on in the mid innings.

In others, you could just feel the charm of the staff. Seattle, Minnesota and Philadelphia most notably – every vendor, ticket taker, staffer – was completely helpful and cool.

“They’re all meant to be different” as stadium architect and expect Janet Marie Smith said to me. “It’s why we love pilgrimages. Every one of the Major League Baseball ballparks is unique.”

In many cases, when I wasn’t swabbing or hanging with a celebrity pal or tweeting up pictures from the ballparks, I was interacting with folks on the concourse. Some nights I was treated like a media member. Some nights the team gave us nice tickets. Some nights we arrived super early to swab people. Some nights – like Washington, Miami, The Bronx in New York, Colorado and both sides of Chicago, which, clearly is not my kinda town – I scalped tickets on the street or Stubhub because the team treated me like a disease or a nuisance. The Cubs-White Sox game at Wrigley was a really pricey ticket and I bought standing room seats for $51 each and we squatted for five innings behind a pole at first base and had a fine time because we weren’t getting pelted by rain like everyone who paid $200 did all afternoon.

This isn’t about taking categories and ranking these 30 nights of my life. I didn’t consider the weird rules for each park or even a ton of the history or periphery outside of the main thesis: “If I were sending you someplace to watch a baseball game next summer, where would I send you first…then second…then third.”

So, here’s my list, starting with No. 30 and counting backward. We’ll release one stadium a day for the next month and there’ll be some notes I’ve assembled about why they’re ranked thusly.

I will be writing at length about all aspects of my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit tour the week of Sept. 8 when we release our No. 1 stadium in Major League Baseball.

My Kerouac tour is complete. I have plenty of stories to tell.

I hope you enjoy the journey…

 

Cheers,

Nestor

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Can I see 30 MLB stadiums in 30 days next summer? Only if you #GiveASpit…

Posted on 19 December 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Many have said it can’t be done but my plan is to do it.

In the spirit of the holidays – when dreams are made and shared – I’m announcing my intentions to spend next summer spreading the word about saving lives via the international bone marrow registry. Our WNST.net 30-30 Baseball #GiveASpit National Awareness Campaign in conjunction with the local charity There Goes My Hero, will attempt to travel to 30 Major League Baseball stadiums and see 30 games in 30 days in the hopes of swabbing as many people as divinely possible during the tour, which will conclude at the MLB All Star Game festivities in Cincinnati on July 13-14, 2015.

As you know, earlier this year on March 20, my wife Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at Johns Hopkins. After a gruesome chemo battle including 56 nights in the hospital and a miraculous remission status in May, she received the greatest gift a human being can receive – a new life with a bone marrow transplant on June 26th from an anonymous 21-year old donor from Germany, who saved her life and then wrote her a three-page letter telling her why he did it. “I did this for you because I believe it is our assignment to help people when they need help the most,” he wrote in a letter Jenn received in early August.

You should stop reading this blog now and click here to read his letter.

Now that you’ve read his letter, you can better appreciate our “calling” to do this summer tour and pay his kindness forward to others.

Because I’ve lived my life in the public world of the sports media and have promoted countless charitable efforts and great causes on my local and national radio shows over the years, I want to get on the road and spread the word about the miracle of life my wife received because she had a “perfect match.” When Jenn was extremely ill in the spring, we put together our personal bucket lists of things we wanted to do when she got healthy – reasons for her to live when her diagnosis and her cancer felt the most frightening.

Jenn is now a survivor and we want to pay it forward by bringing national awareness to the power of saliva on a swab by using sports, athletes, celebrities and an old-fashioned barnstorming tour of the first love of my life – baseball and stadiums and ballgames. Seeing all 30 stadiums in 30 days is on my personal bucket list and I want to do it with a cause and put a real face on the miraculous work being done with medicine in beating cancer, leukemia and utilizing the generosity of people on the bone marrow transplant registry.

Simply put, this is what saved Jenn’s life and it’s my mission to save more lives in the coming years.

At this critical planning point of putting together the tour (which begins on June 13 in Baltimore and is highlighted below), we need all of our relationships to come together to make each city tour stop a success and the ability to swab 18-to-55 year-old, healthy folks is critical to saving lives in the future. We will work with local swabbing organizations in each city to “swab” folks for the bone marrow registry and use the hashtag and catch phrase #GiveASpit or #IGaveASpit to create conversation.

Our current plan is to get as much pre-publicity for the tour as possible and build the registry one day and one event at a time. I hope to sit with a local celebrity or athlete and “watch the game” with them in each town while we talk about sports, life, baseball and whatever folks talk about when they go to games.

I already have a few cool commitments from some old friends around the country and I’ll be announcing them as they come in for each town and game. You might want to circle Thursday, June 18 as a special date on the tour. My Philadelphia stop will include the Baltimore Orioles and WNST.net will be doing a bus trip for that game in Philly.

We’re also planning an event in the spring with Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano here in Baltimore to honor Jenn’s donor and folks everywhere who save lives for There Goes My Hero via our many business partnerships and local cancer survivors.

We expect this 30-30 #GiveASpit to be an around the clock, live-streamed, evolving conversation to be shared in social media via our growing Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and website at WNST.net.

It will be a nonstop, moving, baseball marathon and road trip across the United States in 30 days.

We will also be creating traditional radio and video content along the way. It will be a moving travelogue with some good food, cold beer, lots of highways and people and interviews with folks and fans we meet on the road along with a litany of celebrities who’ve joined my radio show at some point over the past 23 years since I started my radio career in 1991.

I’m guessing I’ll be doing some of the best radio of my life and having the time of my life. Seeing old friends along the way is going to be the best part.

I love baseball. I love traveling around America. I love the friends I’ve made along the way. In 2006, I wrote a 19-chapter book about my love of baseball. You can find the links here.

So, this is definitely a “bucket list” trip for me.

I’ll have more details as our sponsors, angels and partners evolve. But I’ll be working on this every day for the next six months to ensure that we can swab as many people at divinely possible along the way and make the tour as effective as it can be.

Thanks for all of the support and #JennStrong love we’ve felt on our journey. It hasn’t been easy. But it’s been rewarding, redemptive and inspiring for me.

I’m doing the best radio of my career. I’m having fun. We’re having a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.

And I’m planning to do this 30-30 #GiveASpit tour this summer to honor my Pop, my wife and people everywhere who save lives and inspire me.

I’m also going to have fun doing it. And we’ll save lives. And that’ll be cool.

***

There are significant links below with videos and more information about Jenn’s battle and our mission. The 30-day MLB stadium tour is also listed.

Thanks for your friendship over the years and for your generosity and time in making this tour even better and more significant.

Here are some key links to see Jenn’s story and learn about her battle:

To see a video from beginning of her diagnosis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9osOYm7TxU

To see a video of Jenn’s first 100 days of battling leukemia, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p0W6Je0L2Y

To see the incredible letter from her German donor, click here: http://wnst.net/wnst/jennstrong-receives-the-greatest-life-and-love-letter-ever-written-from-germany/

To see her recent speech for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qa97BBgkTc

You can also google #JennStrong and read all about her illness and miraculous recovery: http://wnst.net/wnst/so-my-beautiful-wife-jenn-was-diagnosed-with-leukemia-last-week/

2015 WNST.net Baseball #GiveASpit Tour Itinerary:
Sat. June 13 – Baltimore (vs. Yankees) TBA 248 miles
Sun. June 14 – Pittsburgh (vs. Phillies) 1:35 371 miles
Mon. June 15 – N.Y. Mets (vs. Blue Jays) 7:10 214 miles
Tue. June 16 – Boston (vs. Braves) 4:05 214 miles
Wed. June 17 – N.Y. Yankees (vs. Marlins) 7:05 94 miles
Thu. June 18 – Philadelphia (vs. Orioles) 1:05 139 miles
Fri. June 19 – Washington (vs. Pirates) TBA 501 miles
Sat. June 20 – Cincinnati (vs. Marlins) TBA 461 miles
Sun. June 21 – Atlanta (vs. Mets) 5:10 456 miles
Mon. June 22 – Tampa Bay (vs. Blue Jays) 7:10 277 miles
Tue. June 23 – Miami (vs. Cardinals) 7:10 1103 miles
Wed. June 24 – Texas (vs. Athletics) TBA 239 miles
Thu. June 25 – Houston (vs. Yankees) TBA 779 miles
Fri. June 26 – St. Louis (vs. Cubs) 8:15 373 miles
Sat. June 27 – Milwaukee (vs. Twins) TBA 375 miles
Sun. June 28 – Detroit (vs. White Sox) 1:05 231 miles
Mon. June 29 – Toronto (vs. Red Sox) 7:05 2,580 miles
Tue. June 30 – San Diego (vs. Mariners) TBA 96 miles
Wed. July 1 – Anaheim (vs. Yankees) TBA 355 miles
Thu. July 2 – Arizona (vs. Rockies) 7:40 1,063 miles
Fri. July 3 – Kansas City (vs. Twins) TBA 1,625 miles
Sat. July 4 – L.A. Dodgers (vs. Mets) TBA 371 miles
Sun. July 5 – Oakland (vs. Mariners) TBA 802 miles
Mon. July 6 – Seattle (vs. Tigers) 7:10 802 miles
Tue. July 7 – San Francisco (vs. Mets), TBA 1,264 miles
Wed. July 8 – Colorado (vs. Angels), TBA 1,008 miles
Thu. July 9 – Chicago White Sox (vs. Blue Jays) TBA 414 miles
Fri. July 10 – Minnesota (vs. Tigers) 7:10 414 miles
Sat. July 11 – Chicago Cubs (vs. White Sox) TBA 345 miles
Sun. July 12 – Cleveland (Athletics) TBA 249 miles
Mon. July 13 – CINCINNATI ALL-STAR HR DERBY & GAME FESTIVITIES
Tue. July 14 – CINCINNATI MLB ALL-STAR GAME

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

”How’s our girl doing?” – A #JennStrong update for August

Posted on 03 August 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

We’re coming up on Day 150 for Jennifer Aparicio and her #JennStrong leukemia journey and every day I get more questions about her prognosis, future and general health. We’re blessed to have so many folks who care so much about my wife.

On June 26th, she underwent a bone marrow transplant from an anonymous donor. We believe the donor is from Europe.

The last six weeks have been exceedingly difficult for Jenn as she completely restores her immune system, strength, DNA and overall health. It has been an honor to be her caregiver and constant companion through this gruesome yet inspiring adventure to save her life.

The side effects are literally too numerous to recount. Pain, aching, fatigue, bones growing, blood flowing, infections and more than 30 pills per day for all sorts of complications and issues related to her safety. We have spent 134 of the last 143 days in or at the hospital. So far, she’s spent 51 nights as an in-patient.

Everywhere I’ve gone the past few weeks, people ask the same question: “How is our girl doing?”

The answer: better than we could have possibly expected but still far from our eventual destination.

Her weight dipped from 118 pounds to less than 100 at several points but over the past five days she has regained her appetite as she’s been weaned off several of the drugs after Day 30 post-transplant.

The next major event will come the week of Aug. 25th when she undergoes a bone marrow biopsy that will determine whether her body has the new cells or her old, cancerous pathology.

We were told, overall, that there’s a 70% chance that she’ll have the new, safe blood. Her odds are even greater because her match was a  “perfect match” – a 10-out-10 with the same B-Positive blood type in her donor’s genetic markers.

With the Baltimore Ravens season coming, we expect that she’ll be able to attend some of the games pending her condition and the weather. Because of her skin, blood and the various antibiotics she needs for her safety, she will not be able to be in direct sunlight for the next 12 months. (So, no Ocean City or beach for us until late 2015. We’re discussing places with cloudy awful weather for vacation destinations but we already go to Cleveland once a year.) That said, there’s a dome in New Orleans and we’re hoping she can make that trip in November with so many WNST fans already signed up on our roadtrip.

Your thoughts, spirit, prayers and kind wishes have been received and are all appreciated. We intend to continue to pay it forward as we swab more donors for the bone marrow registry and spread the word and assist victims of this insidious disease that has caused our lives to come to a complete halt while we battle this cancer along with an amazing team of doctors, nurses and a supportive staff of experts at Johns Hopkins.

Please stay #JennStrong with us as we feel we’re about to enter the red zone and go for the end zone of safety for her in the coming weeks and months. She’s getting better and inches closer to a full recovery every day.

We’ll keep you posted and hope that we get a chance to personally say hello sometime in the fall, perhaps at one of our live radio shows with new wide receiver Steve Smith. We’re be swabbing for There Goes My Hero at every event.

Keep the faith and stay #BmorePositive that she’ll be cured.

Much love…from Nes and #JennStrong

P.S. Her journey is in the video below…

 

Comments (3)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An update on #JennStrong as she undergoes bone marrow transplant this week

Posted on 11 June 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Today, my beautiful wife and best friend enters Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center to receive the greatest gift that any leukemia patient can be given: a bone marrow transplant and a second chance at life with a new DNA from a very generous (and anonymous) donor from somewhere out there in this wonderful world.

We’ve received so many cards, letters, emails, Facebook and Twitter mentions via #JennStrong – the sheer volume of love that has flowed in the direction of Jennifer Ford Aparicio over the past 90 days has been staggering and eye-opening – and we want to first just express our gratitude for all of the concern and offers of kindness and sweet gestures. As awful as some our experiences have been with people over the years, this time in our lives will always be remembered for the good (if not the BEST) in people, especially when some days the burden felt very heavy for us.

The love has truly been medicinal on some days when she struggled physically and emotionally. Make no mistake about it, this has been heavy lifting in so many ways.

We’ve been peppered with so many questions and concerns regarding her health and honestly don’t know where to begin with dispensing some of the more amazing – and at times “gruesome” for the queasy amongst us – information regarding blood cancer, leukemia and bone marrow transplants. I’m probably the biggest wuss on the planet when it comes to the mention or sight of blood (and Jenn is diabetic to begin with) so this whole thing has been like seeing snakes for me from the beginning.

But here’s what you really need to know and hopefully this blog answers some of the FAQs of the #JennStrong bone marrow transplant:

Jenn enters the hospital today and will undergo a week of chemotherapy in preparation for her bone marrow transplant next Tuesday, June 17. (This will be her new “birthday.”) There is no “surgery” – just a bag of stem cells and blood that gets attached to her via her port, a pair of tubes that were inserted into her back on March 21st.

Our understanding is that there are many less than desirable outcomes that could result from this procedure – there are whole handbooks on Graft vs. Host Disease and other scary complications. Our doctors have been steadfast in their belief that she’s a great candidate for this procedure and that a perfect match and new DNA and bone marrow could give her a whole new lease on life over the next six months. They were also very sobering in their discussions of all of the percentages of living vs. dying, cure vs. recurrence of cancer and various ailments that could exist or take place during the next few weeks.

But it’s also very clear that this is Jenn’s only chance to survive because even though she’s in remission and cancer free right now, her pathology indicated that her specific leukemia would certainly come roaring back before the end of football season.

Last week a dear friend and client went to breakfast with us and began the conversation by saying, “Wow, you guys have been through a lot of bad stuff!” And we said, “Sure, but let’s examine where we were three months ago and the amazing place where we are now.”

On March 20th at 8 a.m. after months of planning with Jenn and my family, I announced the release of my book on the Orioles and Peter Angelos called “The Peter Principles” and my radio comeback after nine years off the air. Nine hours later, Jenn was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She began chemotherapy the next day.

On March 27th the doctors somberly entered her hospital room and told us that in terms of treatments there are three types of leukemia: good, intermediate and bad. We were told hers was

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

#JennStrong UPDATE: My wife needs a bone marrow transplant

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been 36 days since my wife, Jennifer Aparicio, was diagnosed with leukemia and as we go deeper into solving the mystery of this blood cancer and navigating how she will survive this diagnosis, we’d like to update the thousands of people who have reached our way regarding her condition and our situation. We sincerely appreciate the #JennStrong love.

On the night she was diagnosed – March 20 – we had to make a family decision regarding how public or private we were going to be with her cancer. Once we told our inner circle of friends and family, we realized that there was going to be no way to “hide” from this leukemia or my public status or her extended family, friends and loved ones. In the world of social media, we’re all very active and we think that’s healthy.

We quickly decided that we’d rather be transparent and go after this cancer the way we’ve done everything in our lives: “all in.” We couldn’t hide. We couldn’t stop rumors or misinformation if we decided to unplug or hide from the world – as many people did for many years before the explosion of the internet and social media. We didn’t want people worrying and wondering: “How’s Jenn?” So, we decided to simply be ourselves and share our information with the world.

Honestly, we were blown away by the rapid response, reach and love that so many people showered us with in the first few days after her diagnosis. Now, more than a month later, she hasn’t left her hospital room for more than a few minutes at a time to wander the halls of Johns Hopkins. She hasn’t seen a sunrise or sunset in 37 days. She hasn’t seen Kitty (except on Skype) for 38 days. She’s attached, via a tube in her chest, to a stand that she takes everywhere. She has no immune system and is susceptible to virus, illness and fever at any time so having lots of visitors isn’t smart, safe or feasible.

Cancer sucks. It really, really does.

We have posted a myriad of funny pictures, some tender moments, some Red Sox love from Boston, some gifts and upbeat videos, but please don’t let us fool you – this is the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed. It’s gruesome. Lots of blood, kidney issues, breathing difficulties, waiting, needles, procedures, tests, fevers, chills, rashes, itching, exhaustion, nausea, diarrhea, lesions and sores in her mouth and general aching all over – it’s the worst thing you can possibly imagine.

And, again, I’m not going through it. I’m just observing and agonizing almost helplessly while I do everything in my power to will my best friend to victory over this disease in the coming months.

She’s really tough. Just as I wrote last month, we believe in the cure. We believe in a happy ending. And we’ve befriended and met people who are survivors and they’re all coaching Jenn along in this journey. Over the next few weeks you’ll meet them on my radio show, “The Happy Hours” on WNST.net & AM 1570 and you’ll hear their stories of survival.

Erik Sauer, who is the founder of There Goes My Hero, beat this thing in 2008. Michele Bresnick Walsh, made famous by her incredible trip to Fenway Park where Big Papi and the Red Sox Nation gave her #JennStrong love and a #BostonStrong jersey before the Orioles game last Saturday on marathon weekend, is also a survivor (and major O’s fan) is helping coach Jenn through this fire.

They are living, breathing “heroes” in my heart and mind. They’re trying to help save my wife’s life. It doesn’t get any more powerful or profound than that. And only because someone else saved their life.

Jenn and I learned of her true diagnosis a few weeks ago and have come to grips with the fact that only a bone marrow transplant can save her life.

This is a rocky road, navigating a rare form of leukemia called

Comments (2)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WNST & Sport Clips team up for #JennStrong to beat leukemia

Posted on 04 April 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Thanks to the many folks who’ve reached to us to support my wife, Jennifer Aparicio, in her battle with leukemia. Over the past two weeks we’ve known her hair was going to fall out from the chemotherapy and I shaved most of my hair on the first morning after her diagnosis two weeks ago.

I’ve received many notes, texts and seen social media statuses regarding other folks wanting to join me in my solidarity with my wife, who had her hair shaved off last night at Johns Hopkins. She looks great and is battling the normal side effects of her cancer treatment but we remain #JennStrong & #BmorePositive for a cure and a happy ending.

In the meantime, we’re trying to raise money for a great group of folks at a local organization for leukemia victims, called www.theregoesmyhero.org. My new friend (and angel) Erik Sauer is a leukemia survivor from Bel Air who founded the group after receiving a life-saving bone marrow transplant from a 19-year old girl in Germany in 2008. It will become our mission over the next few months to help him fund his foundation but more importantly to get many folks to become bone marrow donors as we get some WNST events together later in April and into early May. We’ll have a lot more details coming over the next two weeks about ways you can help.

In the meantime, for those who want to shave their heads in support of #JennStrong, we’re offering you this great chance to stop by any of the 18 participating Sport Clips in the Baltimore  area and tell them you want your head shaved for leukemia. (They will either use a No. 1 or No. 2 cutter…they do NOT use razor because of safety issues!)

We’re requesting a $10 minimum donation to the organization and we’d love if you tagged your new “cue ball” hairstyle on Facebook, Twitter and beyond with #JennStrong and #BmorePositive. The money goes to There Goes My Hero for funding and bone marrow transplant love.

This offer begins on Saturday, April 5th and extends through next Friday, April 11th.

I’ll be having my head shaved on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Fullerton location (7964 Bel Air Road) just outside the beltway. You’re welcome to join me or go to any Sport Clips location near you at your convenience and simply share the picture on social media. We will retweet and share all photos in solidarity for #JennStrong and all leukemia patients and their families.

Thanks for all of the support and love for our mission to find a cure for Jenn.

The last 15 days have been a hard, humbling yet immensely rewarding period for us. Your love, words and offers keep our energy and spirits high.

And here’s more on There Goes My Hero:

 

Appreciate you…

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

So, my beautiful wife Jenn was diagnosed with leukemia last week…

Posted on 24 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Needless to say it’s been a whirlwind week in my life and if you’ve reached this blog you know that my wife Jennifer has been diagnosed with leukemia and is at Johns Hopkins Hospital giving cancer one helluva fight over the next month and beyond.

To say that we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and sheer humanity of all of the love bestowed upon us over the last three days would be a complete understatement. It was completely unexpected and we’ll never forget this crazy period in our lives.

You have inspired us and made us stronger and even more committed through your caring, thoughtful words and the offers we’ve received from every corner of our lives. The acts, words and gestures have left us feeling truly humbled.

A month ago we were in Brisbane, Australia seeing Bruce Springsteen and my wife woke up the next morning with an insect bite (we think it was a spider) on her right hand. Two days later it swelled and started to throb. By the time we got to Fiji for our final two days on the beach, she had her hand exclusively in a bucket of ice.

We flew for nearly 36 hours to get home and between the flight, jet lag and general fatigue, she began to feel bad a few days later. On March 12, she went to she her doctor with some deep pain under her right armpit. We were worried about breast cancer and all sorts of bad things.

The docs said it was a swollen lymph node and gave her an antibiotic to fight the infection. The next day she went through a battery of tests – mammogram, X rays and blood work to make sure it wasn’t more serious. On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 19 she reported back to the doctors who had long faces of concern when we arrived. They handed us a box of face masks and told us to go to the emergency room at Johns Hopkins right away because her white blood cell count was dangerously low. After five hours in the ER, she was admitted and spent the most of the overnight giving blood and getting tested.

At 8 a.m. the next morning, while filling in for Drew Forrester on fumes of sleep, I announced that was coming back onto the radio every day from 3 til 6 p.m. at WNST.net & AM 1570 with a new radio show called “The Happy Hours.” I also released Chapter 1 of The Peter Principles, a book I’ve been working on for almost five months.

The “comeback,” set for April 1st, was something we’ve been planning together for nearly six months.

Nine hours later, at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, a doctor entered her hospital room at Hopkins and dropped the biggest bombshell of our lives: “I’m really sorry to tell you that you’ve got leukemia and you’re not going to be leaving the hospital for a long time.”

Family, work, friends, goals and dreams – all of it would have to be addressed and put on hold or readjusted to a “new normal” for us. It broke her heart to know that she couldn’t be with our beloved cat, Kitty, for a month. (We’ve since begun Skyping her into chat with our furry companion every morning and night.)

The doctors have told us that if she didn’t get the spider bite, which was what sent her to the clinic to begin with, we might’ve been sitting on a time bomb with her deteriorated immune system. Had she contracted a common cold, it might’ve killed her because her body would’ve been weakened.

Instead, she checked into the hospital very vulnerable but also very healthy and strong, which they see as a great way for her to start her chemotherapy and aids her chances for recovery during this first

Comments (12)