Adam and Ryan Rossmeisl have recently successfully mastered the art of riding bikes without using their training wheels. A feat that may seem small, but for them it serves an important purpose. This year will be the first time that Adam, 7 years old and Ryan, 5 years old will be riding 10 miles to raise awareness for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. At 7 years old, Adam today is happy, healthy and has been cancer free for five years. Five years ago, Adam’s parents Deb and Jason Rossmeisl were about five months away from the arrival of their youngest son Ryan, when Adam started to show symptoms of an unexplainable illness. Many trips were made to the doctor and still there were no answers as to what was wrong with Adam. It was when Adam was just sixteen months old that he was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Common effects of AML are bruising, recurrent infections, bone and joint pain, anemia and abdominal distress. The severity of AML is that it develops rapidly and the cancerous cells multiply quickly and replace healthy cells. At the time of Adam’s diagnosis, he already had leukemic cells in his central nervous system and had 1q23t (9;11) translocation. One of the first steps taken by his family was to give Adam induction chemotherapy. The goal of the induction is to reach complete remission which signifies that no disease can be detected with available diagnostic methods. After his induction, Adam was in recovery for a month at Baystate Medical Hospital for Children in Springfield MA.
Having spent two weeks in the intensive care unit, Adam had fought the pain of stomach ulcers due to his chemotherapy. With his translocation of 11q23, it was important for Deb and Jason to advance Adam’s treatment. It was around Christmas of 2004 when Adam’s parents explored the different options. With younger brother Ryan’s due date in the near future, he was not considered as an option for Adam because they did not know how long Adam could remain in remission. Even if they were to wait, there was only a 25% chance that Ryan’s cord blood could be a match. Deb and Jason needed to find another option. After talking with doctors, Deb and Jason decided to press forward with a blood cord transplant while Adam was still in remission. Upon many of his visits to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Adam managed to set the record for the youngest person to undergo total body radiation without sedation. With his spirits high, Adam is one of the best patients that the institute has seen, and by far one of the cutest. On January 18, 2005 Adam received his new stem cells with the help of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and did extremely well through his transplant. Having minimal side effects, Adam was released from the Children’s Hospital Boston twenty one days after his procedure. He continues to receive outpatient care at the Jimmy Fund Clinic, and is happy and healthy thanks to the gracious donations received from friends and family of the Rossmeisl’s.
The story of Adam is of great meaning to us here at Ross, as Adam’s father Jason is not just our computer technician, but a dear friend to our agency. Adam is a strong willed and determined young boy who fought through circumstances that most children do not have to deal with. We acknowledge his braveness and could not express how extremely happy we are that he has been cancer free for five years. All those close to the Rossmeisl’s are so thankful that Adam is now healthy and they continue to raise awareness about AML. Adam’s family has raised nearly $20,000 to date through their involvement with Katelynn’s Ride, a bike riding benefit. In honor of Katelynn Batista who lost her fight to AML at eleven years old, Katelynn’s Ride celebrates its 10th annual ride this year. For the past ten years, bikers and volunteers have raised over 1.2 million dollars to help fund research treatment protocols at Dana Farber. The bike course ranges from distances of 10 miles to 100 miles depending on the bikers choice. The event will be held this year on Sunday June 6, 2010 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. The event will run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Registration for riders has ended, but donations for Katelynn’s Ride can still be made. Refreshments, music and raffles will be offered as well as a finale check presentation. Come join Team Adam as they participate in Katelynn’s Ride and show your support for a good cause as Katelynn’s Ride takes on their 10th anniversary.