International MPN News, Science & Opinion

Bonnie Evans and Charlie Nielsen remember Kathy…

Bonnie Evans…

When I got the invitation for Kathy Dubin Flynn’s 50th birthday party on October 24 in New Braunfels, Texas, I was doubtful that I would be attending since my husband, Joe, has passed away on 8/31 so I replied as a “maybe.” When I saw that Ann Haehn and her daughter, Genny Stepaniak who is a SCT survivor. I remembered that Kathy, Ann, Genny, Marina Sampanes Peed and Cyndy Morreale had a dream that we would all meet together someday. We all supported each other through the various on line support sites. We cheered each other when we got good news and counseled each other with bad news. We laughed and we cried. Marina is a 2 year stem cell transplant survivor. Cyndy’s husband, Sam, passed away several years ago from MF/MDS.

KDF birthday bonnie

I said to myself, ” Well, Bonnie, there is only a short window to make our dream of being together so you better get your act together and make the dream come true.” I contacted Marina and Cyndy and BINGO, we are on. Ann Haehn made the reservations at Gruene Mansion Inn where we would have cabin on the river for six. The MPN Gal Pals were going to be together to celebrate Kathy’s 50th birthday with 100 family and friends.

The afternoon of Friday, October 23 we all checked into Gruene  Mansion Inn along the Guadalupe River. We all brought the essential supplies of wine and snacks. It would have taken us a month to drink all the wine we had. It was cold, rainy and windy weekend but the weather conditions would not hamper our spirits. We were able to meet Kathy at  her home for some private time and meet her entire loving talented family. Kathy was so touched that the Gal Pals came from across the country to celebrate her birthday. It was a happy and sad moment at the same time since we knew Kathy’s time on earth was limited since the glioblastoma had grown quite large and was affecting her balance and speech.

The big birthday party was held on Saturday, October 24th in the cul de sac where she lived. There were tents set up to protect the parties from the rain and there was a bonfire to warm the guests up. Music blared out of one of the neighbor’s garage and BBQ served in their garage. KDF- Kathy and Bonnie at 50th birthdayThere was plenty of Shiner Bock beer and wine. There was a non stop line of people coming into Kathy’s home. We were concerned that all of the excitement would wear Kathy out and we asked Kathy and she said, “I do not want to miss a moment.” What a blessing that she felt the tremendous amount of love from everyone.”  The Mighty Warrior Princess enjoyed herself to the fullest.

Kathy Dubin Flynn passed away on Friday, November 13,  2015 at 2:13 pm at home surrounded by her beloved family.

Charlie Nielsen…

KDF charlie and ruben

 Five years ago my wife and I were scouring the internet and facebook groups for information about myelofibrosis and stem cell transplants.

One of the first people to offer words of meaningful support and encouragement during that scary time, was Kathy Dubin Flynn.  This photo is from the MD Anderson MPN Event in 2013.  Kathy and I were ‘on assignment’ for the MPN Forum and managed to wrestle aside Dr. Mesa for this picture.  It was the one and only time I would meet Kathy.

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