When I partnered with the organization, I found an overwhelming support network of people who are working together to raise awareness and funds to cure blood cancers. As the training has progressed, I have been working with TnT and receiving more information about families that have benefited from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's efforts. However, it is at this time that I wanted to share a story of a family who fought so incredibly hard to win the battle over Lymphoma, yet lost the fight in the end.
This is the story of Geoffrey Armlin.
I became aware of Geoffrey and his struggle upon attending my sister's high school graduation in June of 2010. She shared with me that one of Geoff's goals throughout his battle, was to simply be able to graduate. When he walked across the stage in order to receive his diploma, he was met with a standing ovation and hundreds of tears and applause.
Geoffrey relapsed in October of 2010, yet because of his unfailing ability to connect to other people, paired with his humble personality, the community quickly came to his side. Local television stations and radio stations within the Albany area began to take on Geoff's cause and promote awareness of his diagnosis. Below is a summary of Geoff's struggle, from the Fly 92 radio station webpage. A similar story can also be viewed through the Your News Now (YNN) website seen here.
"Geoffrey Armlin is 18 years old from Middleburgh, NY and is a talented musician. He plays guitar, piano, drums and is learning to play violin. He loves the outdoors, camping, rock climbing and paintball. Geoff was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Burkitts Lymphoma in March of 2010 and on October 31st he relapsed. Geoff was accepted into Utica IT as a math and linguistics major, but because of his treatments, he's unable to attend.
The Armlins are a very tight knit family and Geoff is the oldest along with 4 brothers (Geoff's twin, Jarod-18, Jon-15, Jacob-17, Floydie-9) and sister, (Jaylynn-7). Tammy (mom) and Floyd Jr. (dad) along with the rest of the Armlin family are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany while Geoffrey is being treated at Albany Medical Center.
Tammy reached out to FLY 92.3 to see if we could play Geoff's favorite band, Second Hand Serenade, because he is such a big fan of their music. We made arrangements for the lead singer, John, to give Geoff a call. They spoke for a while about music and it was a thrill for Geoff.
Upon hearing the story of the Armlin Family, three local businessmen and very close friends of FLY 92.3, realizing that time was of the essence, decided to pool their resources together to grant this family an Insta-Christmas. Al Hannoush, (Hannoush Jewelers), Bobby Mallozzi (Mallozzi Family of Restaurants and Banquet Halls), and James Goyette (Mohawk Honda), as we affectionately dubbed "Armlin's Army", have received the family's "gift list" and are in the process of helping them celebrate an Insta-Christmas."
Despite his efforts and unparalleled optimism, Geoffrey died on December 9, 2010, at the young age of 18. His family has set up an organization in memory of his life called Armlin's Army, which is a nonprofit organization that raises money for families of seriously ill children and lessens the financial burden of dealing with these diagnoses. I encourage you to check it out, or pass on the information to others who are in need of support. You can also became of fan of Geoff's community page on facebook.
In the meantime, I have asked the family's permission to dedicate the last 10k (6.2 miles) of my marathon to Geoff. (And don't be surprised when you see me slip into a shirt with his face on it at mile 20!) His story is exactly why I am running my marathon with Team in Training; so that families like the Armlins do not have to suffer the loss of a child due to a blood cancer diagnosis. The money you donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is used to support families throughout the diagnosis of a blood cancer. It also raises the money to be able to find a cure. If you could please visit my donation page and make even a $5 contribution, you have no idea whose life you could potentially be saving or the cures that could become available.