15 Sep 2014
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Warminster Family Heads West for Cancer Cure

Raechel Ruch's cancer went in remission after a bone marrow transplant from her sister. The leukemia returned, however, and forced her family to find hope on the West Coast.

Warminster Family Heads West for Cancer Cure
Things were looking good for Raechel Ruch at the end of 2012. She had returned to class at William Tennent and feeling healthier after a bone marrow transplant from her sister, Stephanie, gave her a substantial weapon in her fight against the AML Leukemia that was ravaging her body.

It was a short-lived victory, however, after doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia told Raechel and her parents in January that the cancer had relapsed and she only had three to six months to live. It was gut-wrenching blow, but she and her parents were not about to sit at home and wait until Raechel's time ran out.

"We called every hospital we could find, until someone from the Mayo Clinic told us about a treatment performed in Seattle," said Raechel's mother, Minde Ruch.

Unwilling to let a small thing like geography stand in their way, the Ruches packed up and headed to the University of Washington's Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to undergo tests for a trial treatment program. Fortunately, the procedure is covered by the family's insurance company, but there are still living and travel expenses that need to be paid.

"It's going to cost about $3,000 a month to stay here," said Minde. "We have been here for one month, and the doctors say it's going to take at least six months to a year for the treatment. We are going to be here for a long time."

Additionally, Minde's husband, Ron, still has to work in the Warminster area to maintain the health care coverage. He travels back and forth between Pennsylvania and Washington to provide emotional support for Minde and Raechel, an important but expensive relief valve.

"I'm out here as Raechel's primary caretaker," said Minde. "It's a 24 hour a day job, and I don't have any friends here with me. It gets really difficult watching Raechel go through the painful chemo treatments."

The Ruch family and their friends have reached out to the community for help dealing with the mounting bills from plane tickets, co-pays and living in Seattle. Donation jars soon will be hitting the countertops at Pizza Plaza and Little Leo's, Minde said.

There will also be a raffle drawing on December 1. Tickets are $10 apiece, with first prize getting $500, second prize of $300 and third prize of $200. The tickets for the drawing can be purchased by contacting Stephanie Ruch at szruch@comacast.net.

The family is also accepting donation checks made out to the Ruch Fund. The checks can be mailed to Pete Gross House C/O Raechel Ruch, Apt.  313525 Minor Ave. North, Seattle, WA, 98109.

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