Essential Thrombocythemia (ET)

    Age: 40

    Elizabeth Gross and her daughter Page are getting crafty to raise funds for MPN research and awareness.

    For some people walking, biking or running marathons to raise funds to help find better treatments and a cure for MPNs is easy. But for others, another way might be better. This is an example of what one family is doing.

    In June of 2012, a quick thinking doctor averted a stroke for Elizabeth Gross, and diagnosed her with Essential Thrombocythemia. Even though only in her 40s, Elizabeth is considered high-risk and highly symptomatic, and her illness has affected all aspects of the Gross’ lives. It’s been especially hard on their (then) 8 year old daughter, Page. Elizabeth realized Taylor Swift’s music was helping her daughter cope, and to thank Taylor, Elizabeth and Page put together a care kit of 13 items they thought would help Taylor, in case she, too, was having a bad day. With the care kit, Elizabeth also included a letter and a message from her doctor, explaining her condition and thanking Taylor for the support Page was receiving from her, both through her music and by the connection Page felt towards her.

    Months later, and even though Elizabeth is plagued with fatigue, she and her husband Marc decided to surprise Page with a cross country trip to see Taylor’s opening RED show in Omaha. Minutes before the concert, the Gross family received a call from Taylor’s team letting them know that they were being moved to the front row! The Gross’ good fortune continued, when returning home they were greeted with a big box of autographed memorabilia from Swift, and then received a private meet & greet with Taylor herself before their hometown ClevelandRED show. Taylor even sang an additional song at the concert called ‘Best Day’ about Taylor and her mom, and dedicated it to the mother and daughter she’d just met! It was truly a dream come true from Page’s hero, and something the Gross’ will never forget.

    The difference Taylor made in their lives, in response to Elizabeth’s cancer letter to her, has reset the ‘oomph’ in their spirits and reaffirmed in them the goodness of others. Because of this, the Gross Family is on a mission to pay forward Taylor’s kindness by making a difference in as many lives of others as they can. To do so, the family is handcrafting TaylorBracelets. Each bracelet is in tribute to Taylor for all the good that she does for so many, and they’re donating the profits from each sale to fund Blood Cancer research through the MPN Research Foundation.

    As you can see there are many ways each of us can help, and we appreciate everyone’s effort. Together we’re making a difference for so many! You may not be able to run 26 miles, but the good news is, you don’t have to.

    Contributed by Jennifer Acker

    These represent first person accounts of real people living with Essential Thrombocythemia, Polycythemia Vera and Myelofibrosis. It does not represent the views or opinions of anyone associated with the MPN Research Foundation. Please consult your doctor before taking any action to manage your health.

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