July 2000 Updates on

Mary Beth


The following page contains updates regarding Mary Beth's progress for July of 2000.

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Mary Beth returned on Friday from her week of "camp" in San Diego.  We knew before she landed that she had a great time because we only spoke to her once all week.  And that conversation lasted about 33 seconds because she was on the beach and said, "Dad, I am having fun, your cell phone is cutting out, gotta go, love you, bye."   She went with 10 other teens with cancer from the St. Louis area, and several volunteers and health care professionals.  They visited the beach, the ocean, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, took a boat tour of the coast, ate authentic Mexican food, and shopped among other things.  The week was a success thanks to all the volunteers and Operation Liftoff, a non-profit organization sponsored primarily by TWA.  

Before she left, she attended Pillarfest and spent time with our Milwaukee friends, Dave, Jean, Emily, Sara & Abby Lauer.  When Mary Beth was diagnosed, the Lauer girls, at the time ages 5,7, & 9, heard that she would lose her hair.  They read about Locks of Love, the organization that makes wigs for cancer kids, and proceeded to cut the hair off their Barbie dolls so they could get a wig made for Mary Beth.  Before she left for San Diego, MB made sure that they went home with new Barbies with hair.  

She also got to see some Wichita relatives, Aunt Donna, Uncle John and Erin Fagan, who spent the 4th extended weekend at Innsbrook with us and friends.  She also attended parties at the Tychsen's and Kohn's on Monday and Tuesday.  Tomorrow, she enters the hospital for a 4 day stay and an intense round of chemotherapy treatments.  Please say a special prayer that these treatments will rid her body of all the cancer cells still resident on her spine.  Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers.  We take a great deal of comfort knowing that you are with us.

Thank you and God bless you,


It has been a relatively low key week for Mary Beth since she was released from the hospital. She went into the hospital for her latest round on Thursday, July 6th, stayed for four days, and came home on Sunday morning. Although these treatments are intense doses, she has handled them very well. According to Mary Beth, she expected to handle it even better than she has. Her determination and spirit remains high and she plans to continue enjoying her summer. On Monday night, she attended the beginning of the swim meet (enough to see Heidi and Barbie swim the individual medley), then watched the All Star Home Run Derby. Tuesday night she enjoyed the All Star Game with the whole family and Wednesday night we all went out for dinner. She also saw "Rocky & Bullwinkle" with Will, Heidi & Mom. Other than that, she has been inside where it is cool. The 110o+ heat index is miserable for all of us, but it is, after all, summer in St Louis, the city that sits at the delta of the two largest rivers in America!  If MB continues to improve, we all plan to travel to Sonoma, CA next week with my parents to attend my cousin Tim Nett's wedding. When we return, all three girls will be attending a camp in rural Missouri designed for kids with cancer and their siblings. We hope that your summer is as enjoyable as ours. We thank you for your continued prayers for Mary Beth and would like to ask for a favor. 

Please add Sheila's sister Joan Teckman to your prayer list. Joan is Mary Beth's godmother and role model, has had a lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis and has recovered from two double lung transplants and a kidney transplant. She is hospitalized with viral meningitis and was released from intensive care two days ago. Joan and Jeff recently adopted their first child, Nate, from the Ukraine and arrived in St Louis with him on June 8th. Please join us in praying for Joan's full recovery so she can continue her role model status for Nate and all of us.

Thank you and God bless you,


I was just referring to our household as "Six Flags over Ricken" to one of our dear friends this week because of the roller coaster ride we are on. We continue to strive not to allow the valleys to take us too low nor the peaks too high. Some of you may not know that Mary Beth is an avid baseball fan. She has been to 10 different ball parks and attended the Hall of Fame induction of George Brett last year in Cooperstown. When she was hospitalized for her last chemotherapy treatment, it was a real treat for her to be visited by Craig Paquette and Matt Morris of the St Louis Cardinals and her picture may appear in the August issue of the Cardinals Gameday Magazine. 

Being a huge baseball fan, she asked if we could attend a San Francisco Giants game in new Pacific Bell Park last week while on our Sonoma wedding trip. After help from our friend Mark Gorris, we obtained tickets and were all set to leave on Wednesday morning. On Tuesday night, we collectively decided that Mary Beth was too weak to make the trip and would stay home with Sheila while the rest of the family traveled to California. We attended the game on Wednesday night and between the 4th and 5th innings, the following message appeared on the scoreboard: "The San Francisco Giants welcome MARY BETH RICKEN and family."  It was a special moment and we only wish Mary Beth could have been there to experience it. We thank our friend Mark and the Giants organization for doing this. 

On Thursday of last week, she entered the hospital and received a blood transfusion and on Friday went to Eckert's to pick peaches with Sheila and Grandma Kriegshauser. After shopping and dining their way through the weekend MB and Sheila picked us up at the airport on Sunday. We had a brief stay at home before we all left for H.I.S. K.I.D.S. Camp in Imperial, MO where MB, Barbie & Heidi have been all week. The camp is designed for kids with cancer and their siblings. We pick them up today, so stay tuned for their stories. Despite the roller coaster, we are all enjoying the ride with smiles on our faces because of the love, prayers and support you all continue to show.

Thank you and God bless you,


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