By: Kayley French Ward
It was Sean’s 11th birthday and his entire family was spending it in the hospital, somewhere they had become very familiar with in the last five years. There was a mixture of excitement and nervousness, as unlike before his sister Marijane was now the one being submitted to the hospital. She had been preparing for several months by taking medicine that would increase her bodies production of bone marrow. The last step was for her to undergo anesthesia and then the procedure to retrieve the bone marrow from her hips would begin. Marijane was going to be the one to save her brother’s life.
Patrick Cadden ’92 is an alumnus from Rho Chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma at Buffalo State. He and his wife met through a fellow Sig Tau brother and his wife, “and you could say the rest was history” said Cadden ’92. He and his wife live in Stormville, New York and he is a police officer and volunteer fireman in Newburgh, New York, they have two children a son named Sean and a daughter named Marijane.
In November of 2010, it was a normal afternoon at the park for the family when 7-year-old Sean fell and knocked loose a tooth. There wasn’t any more panic than what would be expected as it seemed like something that could be fixed with a trip to the oral surgeon. However, the oral surgeon was alarmed with the amount of bleeding and out of fear that something wasn’t right he requested they take Sean to the hospital for testing. It was then that the next five years of their lives took an unexpected turn as Sean was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Sean endured 43 months of chemotherapy, at least 15 spinal taps, and numerous bone marrow biopsies and several surgeries. In May of 2014 doctors had declared that he was in full remission and could continue on to live a normal healthy life.
– Patrick Cadden, Buffalo State ‘92
A few months later in August of 2014, the family received the devastating news that Sean who was now 11 had suffered a complete relapse. The leukemia had not only returned but it had come back stronger than before and required more aggressive treatment, a Bone Marrow Transplant. The transplant required large doses of chemotherapy, full body radiation, and the challenge of finding a bone marrow donor that was a match. The family was immediately tested but with low hopes and the pressure of urgency they submitted Sean’s needs to the National Bone Marrow Registry. However, they were lucky to receive news that their 12-year-old daughter was a match. The surgery for her to make the donation was scheduled to take place on Sean’s 12th birthday.
Marijane’s recovery was a few days but Sean’s consisted of 12 weeks in seclusion at the hospital because his immune system was nonexistent. Cadden and his wife were prepared for another 12-18 months of home IV’s, but at 7 months post transplant, Sean’s speedy recovery had shocked the doctors. He was able to stop taking the medication and return to school. At his one-year checkup they received the good news, there was no evidence of the disease to be found!
In this new era of Sig Tau, it has been our endeavor to be courageous and noble men. This inspired Cadden to be courageous and share his families story.
I would ask all Brothers, Active, Alumni and Honorary to be as courageous as these two kids. Please join the National Bone Marrow Registry. Sean was lucky to find a match. We have seen his friends suffer while waiting for a match to join the registry. If each chapter held a Bone Marrow drive there is no telling how many lives can be saved.
– Patrick Cadden, Buffalo State ’92
Interested in reaching out to Patrick or learning more about how to help, feel free to contact us or learn more about the registry below.