Community rallies for couple diagnosed with rare cancer
Updated: Monday, February 10 2014, 06:06 AM EST
Geneseo, N.Y. – The community has been banding around a young couple who were both diagnosed with rare types of cancer.
It also was not too long ago Carrie and Branden Geneseo welcomed a baby girl into their lives. Baby Hadley was born on June 20th.
Friends of the Merrick’s told 13WHAM the couple met while working at the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office in 2009.
“They met here and ended up getting married,” said Corporal Jeremey Slocum. “They’re very outgoing, caring, love their community, and love their families.”
Sheriff Thomas Dougherty of Livingston County said, “It’s just a young couple just starting out, and then to be dealt this hand? It’s unheard of.”
Just a few months before baby Hadley was born, Branden was diagnosed with cancer. It’s a rare sarcoma called Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma that develops in childhood and presents later in life. Only about 50 cases are reported each year in the United States.
“It was devastating for everybody here,” said Corporal Slocum. “It was bad when Branden found out his news, but when Carrie came down with the illness also, it just rocked the whole department and community as a whole.”
Something the family never imagined happening also happened to Carrie. Carrie was diagnosed with stage four Neuroendocrine Carcinoma. This is also rare with only about 2000 cases reported each year in the U.S.
“It tears up my heart,” said Sheriff Dougherty. “I’ve told them we’ll do whatever we can, and I think that’s how every employee here feels. We’ll do whatever we can for them and I think that’s how the community feels in general. Whatever we can do to help them on this path is what we’ll do.”
In fact, fellow deputies at the sheriff’s office have donated their sick time to the Merrick’s for health insurance and pay roll.
Several fundraisers have also been organized including an Applebees Pancake Breakfast in Geneseo on Sunday February 16th starting at 8 a.m. Tickets are $10.
A Reception and Silent Auction has been organized at the Valley Oak Reception Center in Geneseo on Wednesday February 26th starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50.
Sheriff Dougherty said, “They’ll beat it, and I believe they will, and we’ll support them all the way through beating it.”