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Family and friends fundraise to defer costs of cancer treatment for Makayla Wilson

COURTESY PHOTO - Makayla Wilson was disgnosed with high-grade primary B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma on Feb. 9, 2017. Nearly three years ago to the day, Sandy mother Makayla Wilson's life was changed when she was diagnosed with cancer.

More specifically, she found out she had high-grade primary B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of quickly developing blood cancer, which affects the white blood cells called lymphocytes.

"Months prior I was feeling really tired," Wilson said. "I had pain in my chest and I kept getting sick. At first we thought it could just be respiratory, but then they found a mass in my chest. Cancer doesn't run in my family so I wasn't familiar with it. I felt like I was in a daze and wondered if I was going to die."

Since 2017, Wilson achieved remission once, only to be rediagnosed almost exactly a year later, and undergone six rounds of chemotherapy. She is exploring different treatment and self-care options to combat the cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy.

Fortunately, throughout her battle with lymphoma, Wilson has had a lot of support from her husband and two sons, along with a growing amount of support from the Sandy community.

Recently, Wilson's cousin-in-law Michaela Paluck took on fundraising to help the family. To date, Paluck's and the community's efforts have raised more than $40,000 to defer costs of Wilson's treatment.

Paluck had an uncle treated for the same type of cancer, so she knew how expensive and taxing it could be.

"Cancer is expensive enough for anybody," Paluck said. "They've got enough stress without the financial stress on top of it."

Because of a decrease in effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation on Wilson's cancer, she's resorted to more naturalistic methods and is currently undergoing treatments in Mexico every four months. These treatments cost $5,000 or more every time she visits, and that's not including the additional costs of food, transportation, lab work and other miscellaneous expenses from traveling out of the country.

"I try to do anything natural to try to detox," she explained. "I've done a lot of chemo and radiation and at some point it just stopped working. My energy is already so low, so I just want to avoid chemo. Right now I'm trying to do as many actual therapies as possible to feel better. It's been hard not having energy."

Wilson's doctors in Mexico have claimed to have been able, so far, to give one patient with the same form of cancer another 28 years with their treatments.

"I told them 'I'll take what I can get,'" Wilson explained.

Though the raffle previously hosted to raise funds for the Support Makayla campaign is over, people are welcome to contribute money via Venmo by sending it to @supportmakayla.

Those who can't give financially, Wilson encourages to give blood. During treatment, cancer patients like Makayla often need blood transfusions.

"I wouldn't be here without blood donations," Wilson said. "It makes me speechless how the community has responded. I can't say 'thank you' enough."

"I don't want this to end with Makayla," Paluck added. "I kind of hope what we've done for her has a ripple effect. Sometimes it's hard for people to ask for help and I think it's our job as a community to reach out and offer it."

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