Meet Claudia

“I believe we are stronger together”

Loved beyond measure

In memory of my youngest son, Will, who is forever my inspiration to take on challenges and make a difference in this world.

Will endured all the horrors of treatment for his diagnosis of high-risk acute myeloid leukemia including clinical trials, bone marrow transplant and salvage treatment for relapse in hopes of bridging the gap until a better option was available. Will did everything asked of him and more, he was loved beyond measure, inspired countless people with his strength, maturity, grace and humanity during treatment and yet he ran out of options. Will died at home, in the place he loved best, at the tender age of 15, an age when one’s life is at the threshold of all that is possible. Instead he is gone from us and we are forever gutted by his absence.

Will was so much more than a cancer patient. He was intelligent, self-aware and intuitive. He was stubborn as a mule and could debate you until you had little choice but to surrender but also possessed a highly-sensitive and thoughtful nature. Will was an athlete and a creative soul, he loved music and making people laugh. He could recite every sports statistic and political fact you could ever want to know and then some. He was a loving son, adoring little brother to his two big brothers and a loyal friend too many and we ALL miss him dearly.

Walking alongside Will throughout his treatment for AML I became acutely aware of the need for more awareness and funding to advance treatments for our younger population diagnosed with aggressive blood cancer. During his last months on earth Will became an advocate for more research so that kids like him would have more options. Sadly my son wasn’t able to continue his fight but it is my honor to step in and continue to work in Will’s memory. Our family has created The WillStrong Cancer Foundation, dedicated to supporting research to bring more effective treatments to kids, teens and young adults with high-risk leukemia.

We are stronger together and I’m so grateful you’ve taken the time to learn more about our mission. Please consider making a donation to support our effort to make a real difference for our younger generation who need us to step up for them. We at WillStrong are aligned with a top-notch research team and are positioned to make direct donations to support specific initiatives which means you know where your donation will land.

Without research to bring more effective treatments to the table we have reached the maximum effect of current therapies. Until there is a cure, that is just not acceptable. And so I will keep on this path, Will with me each step of the way. With each donation you fan the flames of what we can do to change the landscape of these daunting diagnoses for our younger cancer patients.

In honor of my youngest boy, Will, and for all those currently fighting and all those to come….we will NEVER give up!

– Claudia Maniatis 

 

NEVER GIVE UP!