This is Stevie (Casey's sister)! We have picked up a lot of followers on our journey. Some are familiar and some aren't with Casey's story. I wanted to talk about his story so everyone can have a little more of an understanding about my brother.
Casey was born on May 3, 1982 (don't worry, I'm not starting that long ago!). His fighter and perseverance attitude was shown as he grew up to become an Olympic Trial qualifier in the summer after his graduation from Ephrata High School, in the year 2000. He then pursued his swimming career at the University of North Carolina. After 5 years in the wonderful town of Chapel Hill, he graduated with a Geography degree. Casey then started as an assistant coach at the Lancaster Aquatic Club, where he swam growing up.
Almost a year after graduation from college, he had mono-like symptoms. Since Casey was such a great athlete, he learned how to read his body. He knew something just was not right. They continued to take several blood tests and were sure he had a severe case of mono, but wanted to do Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkins Disease, etc tests. The tests showed Casey had Acute Lymphoblastic Leuekemia and was diagnosed on April 21, 2006. He began chemotherapy immediately. They had found the cancer early and didn't need a bone marrow transplant because they were sure chemotherapy would be the solution. It looked this way. After the first phase, his body was cancer free. He then needed to continue chemo in the maintenance and preventative phases until April 15, 2008.
Casey continued coaching at LAC and I began to work right beside him. He then was offered the head coaching position in July of 2008 and was now my boss! He continued to mentor me and teach me as we worked side by side. In August, 2009, he was at Junior Nationals in Seattle, and he knew something was going on. By the end of August his symptoms have not subsided and still felt anemic and that his spleen was enlarged. He then got ahold of his doctor and made an appointment. That Monday of the week, we lost our wonderful dog, Sage to a battle with cancer. We knew the week held something. On Thursday, September 3, 2009, Casey and I went to Hershey to meet with Dr. Ehmann. My mom sent me because she thought she was bad luck since she was with him the first time. Casey was once again very in-tune to his body. They found the cancer VERY early and it was once again, ALL. They had swept me right up to the blood lab to take some blood to see if I was a match for a bone marrow transplant. The doctors explained even though it is very early, like last time, it is standard to do a transplant when it relapses. We had a weekend at the cabin planned with our close friends. The doctors agreed to starting the chemo that next Monday so we could have that weekend together. We made the best of it!! That Monday he began Chemo. That is when my mom began this blog!
While we were growing up, I was the annoying little sister. I admired Casey for what he accomplished and was so proud of him. I was always the loudest cheering for Casey in the stands and never wanted to miss a meet. I wanted everyone to know that the fast guy was my brother! When he went off to college, I became a HUGE Tar Heel fan as well. We then became friends instead of just brother and sister. There were times I would get calls in college to make sure I was making the right decisions. He often would be with his best friend, Kyle who had the same advice.
When he got sick, the first time, I was only a sophomore in college so I was not at home for the most of the time. This time around, I am right here the whole way. Casey is truly and inspiration to all of us. His spirits are extremely high and he makes it easier on everyone around him. He never complains about what he has to do, he just does it. If you read this because you have had a loved one go through a similar process or a friend is a friend of family member of Casey, I truly hope you get to meet him one day because he is a very special person. Once again, I will be loud cheering him on and am so extremely proud to be his sister.
God Bless all of you! The support from our family, friends, and swimmers have been overwhelming. Our family is so fortunate to have you all and words cannot express our appreciation of each and everyone of you.
Love you and Thank you!