Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

June 30, 2014

Looking for blessings

Life for Eddie Siemer after his diagnosis happened in intervals of fast-paced changes and compromise for the recent high school graduate and his family.

Even the day his doctor confirmed what the Seimers already suspected, but never wanted to hear, had started out as usual.

It had been a week since the first time Eddie nearly passed out at church, and judging by his athleticism at the time, the family shrugged the incident off as dehydration.

However, when a similar episode tackled the then-high school freshman, a series of doctor visits and blood tests led him to a hospital bed in St. Louis, where he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

From then on, the family learned to rely on one another in ways that have made Eddie’s journey to recovery an optimistic one, his mother Lisa Siemer said.

“I think it brought us closer,” she said. “I think it had to.”

Aside from transporting Eddie between hospital visits in St. Louis and middle-of-night health scares, parents Marty and Lisa divided their time equally between their three younger children, Lauren, Joey and Gus.

At the time of his diagnosis, Eddie’s younger siblings stayed with their aunt and waited for news.

“I think the worst part was that it was the day before Easter when we all found out,” Lauren said.

Although they wanted more than anything to be with one another that day, the announcement set the tone for how the Seimers would handle the remainder of Eddie’s illness.

Miles away from Eddie and their parents, the siblings gathered around their aunt Vickie’s phone, and took turns looking at pictures of their older brother, lying in a hospital bed, holding a sign that read, “I’m OK!”

Even from the moment of diagnosis, Eddie and his family were prepared to confront the situation with optimism and positivity.

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