For Linda Santisteban, the battle against cancer started with a simple backache that surfaced in 2004. Linda was 46. The backache and subsequent abdominal pain was eventually diagnosed as Negative Large B-cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at stage 3. It was a frightening diagnosis that threatened her life and the emotional stability of all her very young children. It was a fight that Linda took head on. She was determined to win the battle for the sake of her children. Teamed together with her husband Joel, Linda both resided, and worked with the doctors, at Hackensack University Medical Center. Combining chemo with the drug Rituxin, transplanting stem cells from her own bone marrow, tolerating very painful mouth sores and blood counts so low she nearly lost her life twice, Linda not only survived, but she won.
Grateful for the second chance, Linda’s focus was to guide all three of her children through high school and college. She proudly attended all three of their college graduations. The difficult battle against Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma opened the door to Linda developing Leukemia, and after 10 years of remission, this is what she was diagnosed with. Unlike her previous cancer, Linda needed outside help to overcome this deadly blood cancer. She needed a full-match bone marrow blood donor. Unfortunately, no one in the worldwide registry matched. Thanks to the research team at Johns Hopkins University, she got help from her oldest son Michael, who was a half match. That transplant provided Linda an entire summer and fall season filled with happiness and the hope of a remission.
Sadly, in the end…it wasn’t meant to be. Linda passed away on 3/14/15. She was 56 years old. She will be remembered as a loving, caring and dedicated mother to all those who knew her.