“He is the strongest, toughest and most positive person I know, and none of that has changed through his treatment,” Alexis said of her husband. “I am so incredibly grateful to be able to be here for him by his side, as his wife and his friend, through this battle.” – Alexis Purdon

Brandon & Alexis Purdon of Sudbury, Ontario, were married in early September 2019. Their first year of marriage was nothing they would’ve ever expected.

The Diagnosis

In Summer 2018, a little over a year before Brandon & Alexis tied the knot, Brandon, 25, noticed a lump on his arm. Being young and healthy, he thought nothing of it at first. It wasn’t until his ear began to swell that he knew something wasn’t right. Initially the doctors told him it was probably nothing to worry about, but his biopsy revealed the unimaginable. Brandon was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a rare type of fast-growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

First Choice Treatment

Brandon’s initial treatment in Sudbury consisted of four months of chemotherapy. Following this treatment, Brandon and Alexis traveled to Ottawa for four months of radiation and a stem cell transplant. Brandon was in remission, but only for two short months. Over Labor Day weekend he was hospitalized after experiencing a high fever and flu-like symptoms.

Treatment in Buffalo

Having exhausted all of the first choice options, Brandon’s best chance was  Car T cell therapy. This therapy was not available in Canada, bringing Brandon and Alexis here to Buffalo, NY for treatment at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. This treatment would require a long recovery stay. Upon learning they had to be here for four months or longer, they had no idea where to stay.

Brandon & Alexis were referred to Kevin Guest House by the social work department at Roswell. The only other option was a hotel that had no kitchen facilities. Brandon had a number of dietary restrictions during his treatment.  The couple is also vegan so getting takeout was not an option. Alexis prepared 2 meals a day in the KGH kitchen and brought them to Brandon while he was in the hospital. Then they stayed in one of the KGH transplant recovery apartments where they had their own kitchen to prepare meals.

Follow Up

Brandon and Alexis will be back in Buffalo twice a year for the next 15 years for follow-up testing at Roswell Park. While the first few years of marriage were not a typical fairytale for this couple, they have found a way to share laughter, love, and enjoy the little moments along the way.

Brandon & Alexis will always have their “home away from home” here in at Kevin Guest House.

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