Sponsored by Rep. Rosenthal

Today we spread Awareness for Osteosarcoma Disease and celebrate the life of Caleb Martin, who passed away in 2019. I was honored to file HR0261 oh behalf of Caleb’s wife, Bethany to help spread awareness to others about this terrible disease and the pain individuals endure during treatment. Caleb is one of many every year who are diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.

Bethany wanted to share her story with others to let them know the impact it has on families. Thank you Bethany, for taking the time to share your story with me.

“Dear Rep. Wayne Rosenthal,

I am writing to you on behalf of my late husband, Caleb Martin, who sadly passed away of Osteosarcoma on Oct. 15th, 2019, at the young age of 27, as well as many other children and young adults in Illinois who have fearlessly battled this terrible disease.

Many are unaware of what Osteosarcoma is unless they-or a loved one- are unfortunately faced with the diagnosis. Osteosarcoma is one of many sub-types of Sarcoma, which are rare cancers that develop in the bones and soft tissues. Osteosarcoma typically occurs in teenagers and young adults; however, it also affects young children and older adults as well.

In 2012, my late husband was diagnosed at the age of 19, shortly after finishing his high school career, when his right femur snapped in half as he was simply walking through his home. As he stated, his life, “was forever changed.” Following his stage 4 diagnoses, when they found tumors in his legs and lungs, he endured many rounds of harsh chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and long hospital stays over a year-and-a-half. His perseverance and love for life, allowed him to overcome the disease and continue on in remission.

We met the summer of 2013 as he was finishing his last round of chemotherapy. Fast forward a few years later, we were married Aug. 27, 2016, and that year, Caleb hit his 5-year mark of being cancer-free. When a patient reaches that milestone, the chances of recurrence are significantly lower. Sadly, a little over a year later our lives took a drastic turn. His cancer came back in September 2017. We enjoyed our hobbies together and spent every moment making the most of our time, and even began our journey of starting our family until his cancer became aggressive in 2018.

I can’t begin to tell you how many rounds (and kinds) of chemotherapy he braved, how many emergency chest tubes that were placed as tumors spread throughout his lungs nor the number of scans, surgeries or days he stayed at the hospital fighting for his life- much like other Osteosarcoma patients. Osteosarcoma is truly devastating, and most patients have to endure years-long treatment, side effects from archaic treatments, and the mental anguish that accompany such an experience. However, these patients are the most valiant souls, committed to saving their lives while touching the lives of those around them along the way.

It is far more common than the public is aware. There have been many young children and young adults and their families in our area who have been affected. Far too many to mention, but their stories of resilience are both incredible and nauseating.

I’m writing to you today, hopefully that we may continue spreading awareness of the disease in a way that would also honor my late husband, Caleb, September serves as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Illinois. Since Osteosarcoma is primarily a childhood cancer and Caleb’s birthday is September 15th, I am hoping-with your help- that the state could designate Sep. 15 as Osteosarcoma Day each year. He really was an incredible person and truly touched everyone around him. He would be the most deserving.”

My apologies for such a long letter, but I wanted to share a little about my late husband and our story. I’m so appreciative of your time and consideration regarding my request. I would be happy to provide you with any other information you may need.

Thank you so much,