By: The Grafton Family
There is no way to talk about Bill without a smile on one’s face. Bill was an original in everything he did. Family and friends knew him as a true wordsmith, making everyday conversation a treat and a journey into the imagination. Everything seemed special and nothing was run of the mill. He was born an optimist and his eyes were filled with hope, ideas, and possibilities. When adversity reared its head, Bill was not concerned. He knew that all things would work themselves out as God intended. He accepted adversity and he viewed it as an opportunity to learn, to discover and to make right any mishap.
Bill was a very active man and seemed at peace when he was busy. So when he first discovered a shortness of breath in 2002 he was curious about the circumstances. He had never felt this way before. Climbing stairs, getting out of a chair, or walking across a room would leave him gasping for air. This condition persisted, so Bill and his wife, Anne, visited doctors.
The conclusions were similar from all that met with Bill; he had myelodysplasia. Myelodysplasia is considered a rare blood disorder and is sometimes called a blood cancer. In consultative meetings with specialists Bill was told that his body was not producing red blood cells at an acceptable rate. The lack of red blood cells left Bill oxygen deprived. His heart and his lungs were working harder now due to this physical change. Blood transfusions would be needed to battle the conditions of myelodysplasia. Bill took the news and went on to live life to the fullest.
Sadly, Bill lost his fight on January 18th, 2007. His wife was by his side in the end. He battled bravely. Since his fight began and ended; we have learned a lot about this orphan disease. We have learned that there are only 200,000 reported cases of myeloproliferative disorders in the United States. We have found that research is being conducted to find a cure for myelofibrosis but, due to the fact that few seem afflicted with the sickness other illnesses will gain greater attention and funding. As mentioned earlier, finding a cure on this battlefield will save many on other fronts.
Go here to make a donation in memory of William D. Grafton, Jr.
For more information on the William D. Grafton Jr. Myelofibrosis Fund, please visit http://www.freewebs.com/jgrafton/index.htm