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Welcome Home Michael

March 19, 2012

Welcome Home MichaelDear Friends,

UPDATE: Michael had chemo from last Thursday through today. He has had a very difficult time and has been nauseated and throwing up since Thursday night. His doctor said he should be feeling better by Wednesday. However, this morning he woke up at 6am and was thrilled to be able to go back to school for a couple of hours before chemo. He still felt pretty sick, but was so excited that he pushed through the discomfort for a bit and was able to enjoy his morning.

Michael had about five days at home before chemo began, and it was filled with wonderful friends, play dates and some much needed family time. The Malones wanted me to give special thanks to Greg Nieberding for Michael’s welcome home sign, and for getting up early in the cold weather and putting it up! As you can see, they used it again for his welcome back to school!

The MIBG initial consult in Michigan is March 26th-27th, and the treatment will be April 15th-24th, including travel. Alison is taking both children, and Mike will join them towards the end of the trip.

The family meal calendar has been extended until May 25th. The Malones thank you for all of the wonderful meals. Since leaving the hospital, they have been traveling back and forth between Dallas and Ft. Worth and Grapevine for chemo, doctor appointments, and labs, which has been taxing on their schedules. The meals have been an enormous help – many thanks. To access the Malones’ personal CareCalendar site, please visit and enter the following information in the appropriate spaces:

If you have questions about the meal calendar, please email Kelley Schadt at

The Malones asked me to thank you for continuing to eat at Jersey Mikes during the month of March in support of Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer in DFW ($0.25 of every regular sub and $0.50 of every large goes to fight pediatric cancer). Wednesday, March 28th is the final day of giving and everyone who makes a minimum $2 donation to Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer receives a free sub sandwich. Thank you for supporting this fundraiser.

Also, many, many thanks to all of the generous donations to the Neuroblastoma 5K Run on March 31st. As of today, Team Michael is in a strong third place position, but did actually hold first place for almost a week – thanks to all of you! Michael is thrilled. Special thanks to Jones Day for holding a “Wear Jeans to Work” fundraiser in Michael’s honor and donating over $1,500 to the 5K!

For those of you who want to meet up with the Malones on the day of the 5K before the run/walk, please feel free to either email Alison or show up at their house the morning of the 31st at 6:30am to carpool and caravan to Ft. Worth. Again, thank you for supporting this event.

And finally, Alison asked me to thank all of their friends from all over Dallas – from school, from church, from the neighborhood, some from as far back as college, for helping the Malones during their month long stay in the hospital. As most of you know, their families do not live in Dallas. So they have relied heavily on their friends and neighbors to carpool, pick up mail, drop off laundry, run errands, bring food, watch Emory, and sometimes help with Michael at the hospital. The Malones are incredibly grateful to all of you for becoming their Dallas family. They could not have done it without every one of you. And many thanks to their out of town friends and family who flew in from all over the country to spend time with Alison, Mike, Michael and Emory during Michael’s surgeries and his recovery.

PRAYERS: Please be in steadfast prayer over MIBG treatment. We need strong results, clearing Michael’s cancer and healing him. Please pray for the doctors and staff who will administer the treatment, for the family as they travel, for Alison and Mike as they watch Michael go through the treatment and experience some initial physical separation, and most of all for Michael – strength, courage, peace, and healing. This is a very important step in his treatment and his body needs to respond well.

In Hope,
Evelyn Costolo

Soccer Team Michael

March 8, 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

After 29 days in the hospital, it looks like Michael is finally going home tomorrow. His blood counts were slow to rise, but jumped up on Wednesday morning. So we were able to retrieve stem cells Wednesday and today. This is in preparation for MIBG therapy, which we will probably start in early to mid April in Michigan (earliest date is probably April 9th).

Michael’s surgeries were successful. His doctors are estimating that we got about 95% of the spinal tumor and about 90% of the left eye orbit tumor. If they had removed 100% of both, he would have almost certainly come out of this with some amount of paralysis and vision loss. So they saved the spinal cord and optic nerve, knowing that Michael is about to undergo aggressive non-surgical treatment.

While we wait to begin MIBG, Michael is scheduled for chemotherapy March 15-19.

Michael is recovering well, and is in good spirits now that he is going home. He has truly enjoyed every note, email, video and gift he has received over the past month. And Mike and I thank you for all of the meals. Our family has not been under the same roof for four weeks, and we have been trading places every few days at the hospital. There has been little time for grocery shopping or cooking, so the meals have been an enormous help.

We are very excited to let you know that Team Michael is in third place in the Neuroblastoma 5K Run on March 31st. There is not a lot to do at the hospital, so every morning Michael checks the website to see where we are. We started in 11th place, then slowly climbed to the number 3 spot – thanks to you! So thank you!! I will attach a paper form to fill out and mail if you would like to donate or participate in the run. Or you can go to the website, which is

Another exciting opportunity that helps a lot of children fight neuroblastoma is an event that Wipe Out Kids Cancer is doing with Jersey Mike’s during the entire month of March. Some of you may remember this from last year. Anyone who eats at Jersey Mike’s this month is donating to pediatric cancer. They are giving a portion of all sales in Dallas to Wipe Out Kids Cancer. So if you live in Dallas, please try to eat there this month! Whenever you can! 🙂

So many of you have asked how Michael has been getting through these surgeries, the chemotherapy, and the multiple procedures he has had this month. There are many answers to that question, all of them centered around family, friends, faith, and a powerful determination to live. But here are a couple of examples.

I would like to tell you a wonderful story about Michael’s soccer team from last year. They are the Tiger Sharks from the Park Cities YMCA, led by Steven and Katrina Bradford. Michael was devastated that he missed his opening soccer game last week, and the Bradfords have bent over backwards to make him feel part of the team. They asked for some Team Michael t-shirts, wore them to the first game over their uniforms, made a video for Michael, and even wore them for their team photo that Michael had to miss this week (photo attached). It has given him an extraordinary amount of motivation.

The other thing that makes Michael want to get up every morning and continue this painful, cruel and daunting battle is his school community at Meadowbrook. They have been supporting Michael every moment that we have been in the hospital – staff and students driving almost an hour to visit numerous times, setting up a fairy calendar so he gets gifts and messages every day, and like his soccer team, making Michael feel that he has not lost his connection to his school and his friends. His teacher Lesley Armstrong has visited so often that she may have a reserved parking spot in her name by now; she was sent straight from God to our son.

So while Michael has been very lonely, he has also learned what it means to be part of a loyal and nurturing community of friends, a team that fights for you, and a family that loves you more than life itself.

With love and hope,
Alison, Mike, Michael and Emory

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