Meet it and Beat it!
Rachael has a challenge in front of her and she will meet it and beat it!

Update 08/01/06 No Radiation Needed!

Update 06/22/06 Remission!

Update 06/10/06 Recovering fast!

Update 06/02/06 Post Transplant

Update 05/30/06 Transplant

Update 05/11/06  Bone Marrow Transplant Approaching

Update 03/09/06  Knee Replacement Surgery

Update 02/28/06  Rescheduled Surgery

Update 01/20/06  Surgery

Update 01/06/06  AMAZING!

Update 12/23/05  Holiday note from Rachael

Update 12/14/05  Holiday update

Update 11/17/05  Great News!!!!!

Update 11/14/05  Rachael's 4th Chemo treatment and update

Update 10/29/05  Fresno Walk-a-thon summary

Update 10/15/05  Note from Rachael

Walk-a-Thon Update 

Update: 9/23/05

Update: 9/19/05

Update: 09/16/05 


Fresno State Player Diagnosed with Cancer. We need your help!

Rachael Donaldson, a junior at Fresno State has been diagnosed with Stage 4 soft tissue sarcoma. Rachael plays left field for the Bulldogs. She is from the Temecula, CA area and played for Tyrone, Pam and others. She is in the hospital right now in San Francisco doing her first week of chemo. She will have a very hard long road ahead of her to beat this cancer. She is going to need lots of love and support from everyone.

Her Fresno State family is amazing. They are helping Rachael and her family like no other. She will have the best care from the doctors at UCSF and she will have all the help and love from the bulldog family. Rachaels mom is a single parent of 5. She is also involved in the softball world. She has been a high school coach, a Junior college coach and a travel coach. She also gives lessons in the Temecula area. Well all that had to stop when Rachael got sick. She is having to commute from Temecula to Fresno and San Francisco to be with Rachael.

Rachael is a strong girl. Sandy is a strong mom. No matter how strong someone is, it helps when you know you have support. Can we let Rachael and Sandy know how much we all care? Send an e-mail a note, anything. Rachael has been in the hospital since Tuesday with surgery and now chemo. The battle is going to be long and difficult. The Cancer is acting aggressively on her body so the doctors are acting aggressively to fight it. She is going to be very sick over the next year. The sarcoma that she has is a rare one. One of the treatments that the doctor is suggesting is not covered by the insurance. The Doctor is going to plead with the insurance company to cover it, but there is no guarantees.

Fresno State is in the process of putting together some fund raisers to help the family. We are putting together a Walk-a-thon. We need to raise some money to help the family with the expenses. We have a bank account in Fresno set up already called Rachaels Fund. Anyone interested in helping us with this effort, please contact me at the number and e-mail below. You can walk, raise money or just support us.

Press Release from Fresno State Athletics

Walk-a-thons: (please note time change for Murrieta location)
Date: Oct 1st
Esperanza High school track  9am to noon and
Vista Murrieta High School track
2pm to 5pm

Print a Flyer here!

Print a Pledge form here!

Anyone can help!  If you want to be a walker, please print a form and start getting pledges.  Collect your pledges and make a donation.  You can do a per lap around track donation or a flat donation.  Anything will help.  Thank you!

Bring your loose change to help change a life!  We will have a bucket where you can dump your loose change you have lying around the house.  When you dump your change, we will give you a reminder band!

Fight, Rachael, Fight!

Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it!

Fresno Walk-a-thon

Date:  Oct 29th
Location:  Bulldog Stadium
Time: 9am to Noon

Print a FLYER Here!

Print a Pledge form Here!

Anyone can help!  If you want to be a walker, please print a form and start getting pledges.  Collect your pledges and make a donation.  You can do a per lap around track donation or a flat donation.  Anything will help.  Thank you!

Blood Drive
We will be doing a Blood drive in Fresno in the near future.
Rachael will need blood donated in her name very soon. - Details coming!

Reminder Bands
We have ordered red and blue reminder bands for Rachael.  They will be sold for a donation.  The say: RD22 Meet it & Beat it!
If you would like one, send a donation for the fund to Deb Hartwig 925 Eucalyptus Dr. El Segundo, CA 90245.  Please specify youth or adult size and include your return address.

We will have them available at the Walk-a-Thons and the other events.

Opportunity Drawing
We are in the process of putting together an Opportunity Drawing.  If you have donations items, please contact Claudia Contreras at 1-213-703-0900.
The items will be displayed at the walk-a-thons where you can also buy tickets.

The Drawing will end on Nov 4th at the Chaperral vs Vista Murrieta Football game at Chaperral.  All items will be displayed at the game.

Winners will be notified by phone.

We are getting some GREAT items donated!  Don't miss out!

Print flyer here!

Where to send a donation:

A trust has been set up in Donaldson's name. Checks should be made payable to CSU Fresno Athletic Corporation. With "Rachael's Fund" written on the memo line, donations should be mailed to the address below:

ATTN: Fresno State Softball c/o Rachael's Fund
Fresno State Athletics Department
5305 N. Campus Drive, NG 27
Fresno, CA 93740

Pizza Stores to donate profits.
2 companies will be set up for Oct 1st to donate profits to Rachael's Fund.

Ultimate Sports Pizza and Stadium Pizza

Print the flyers and take with you to the resurantes.  At the end of the day, a donation will be made to Rachael's Fund from the day of sales.  Both places are near the Murrieta Walk-a-thon site.  Stop by on your way there or afterwards.  Ya gotta eat!

Ultimate Sports Pizza Flyer

Stadium Pizza Flyer - (3 locations to choose from)

Credit Card Donations
Donate to the Rachael Fund by credit card.  Download a form and send it in.  No donation is too small.
Send a note to Rachael and her mom:
Rachael Donaldson
Sandy Baker

Want to help out in any of the events contact Deb Hartwig -  or 310-466-0324

Update 9/16/05 Rachael is home in Fresno. She is doing well, spending some time with her teammates and friends. Coach Wright is working tirelessly to get everything in line to help Rachael and her family. Rachael has been getting comfortable with all her new routines, her medicines, shots, guidelines. She is very positive and strong. The doctor who gave her shot yesterday said she looks great!  That she is going to beat this thing!  Rachael cut her hair last night.  She wants to have a wig made with her own hair.  Her sister Dana also will cut some of her hair to help with the wig. Sandy has returned to Temecula for a few days, to get a few days of work in and spend time with the kids at home. She will be returning to Fresno to meet Rachael for her next treatment that starts on Sept 27th. The outpouring of support is amazing. We thank everyone who has donated money, time, ideas and support! This wouldn't be possible if you all weren't here for the family. Thank you! Please keep helping, as we all get back to our lives, Racheal will be fighting for at least a year. Please keep coming back to check on her and help where you can.

Update 9/19/05 Rachael is doing outstanding right now. She had her white blood cells checked on Friday. The nurse was hoping for a reading over 500 and it read 4000! This is great! She will have them tested every Tuesday and Friday.  When they are low, that is when she needs to stay away from people.  Rachael is feeling wonderful. She even went out to lunch with Summer T on Saturday. She has great energy and outlook. She says she feels "totally fine". She has moved into her new house. The North Park Community Church made the move for her on Saturday. They did the whole move in about an hour. It was amazing to see! Rach is enjoying visits from her friends.  A friend on the baseball team wanted her to feel comfortable with the hair loss so he let Rachael shave his head.  She had a blast doing it!  Rachael wanted to let all that have sent her e-mails of encouragement, that she is reading every one of them.  She wants to reply and will when she can.

Update 9/23/05  Rachael is doing GREAT! She has been to practice every day. She is feeling great. Her white blood cell count on Tuesday was at 5200. The Doctor told her she can start physical therapy on strengthening her leg. Her strength is pretty equal on both legs with the exception of her ankle area. It "appears" that the tumor is shrinking and relieving the pressure on her nerve. This is allowing the mobility to return. She is allowed to do the active warm ups with her team and any sit ups and such that she thinks she can do. The Doctor told her she can eat sushi. So her and teammate Nicole did that immediately on Tuesday. She was very happy!
She returns to the hospital next week. They will perform the "experimental" stem cell procedure and then start her second round of Chemo. She will be there about 6 days and return home for another 14 days, then repeat. She is scheduled to have all the re-tests again after the 3rd round of treatment. We will know then how the cancer is responding to the treatment.
The walk-a-thon's are coming along. We have t-shirts donated. Everyone who walks will get one. We are hoping for a great turnout. If you plan on coming, could you let me know with an e-mail so I have an idea of how many to plan on. If you would like to come and just help, please do so. I am also going to do a video message for Rachael with everyone who comes to the walk. If anyone has a good still camera and would like to take pictures, we need that still.
We have added a new thing for the walk-a-thon day. "Bring your loose change to help change a life" We will have a big change bucket at the tables. Dump your spare change and we will give you a Rachael reminder band.
Coach Wright at Fresno is an amazing women and is working on taking care of Rach and her family. I don't believe she ever sleeps. She has gotten so many things into action.

Update Walk-a-Thons  The walks were a HUGE success!  Thank you to all that helped out!  We had over 75 walkers at the Esperanza site and over 30 at the Vista Murrieta site.  In all, over 150 people showed up to show their love and support for Rachael and her family.  
We raised just over $7,000 for the Rachael fund!  Thank you to everyone!  No donation was too small!

Update 10/15/05Hi everyone, its Rachael. I'm doing great. These last two weeks went by so fast and I already am going back on Wednesday. I'm ready for the third round of treatment. After this one, I get re-evaluated and they will see how the treatment is progressing. I'm able to do a light jog now with no pain. So I make it a point to jog to everything I can when Im shagging balls at practice out there on our field. I've been able to go out to practice for the last week so Im enjoying every minute of it. If anyone knows me they know I can't just sit there and watch the one sport I love the most, so I try to help out as much as Ican. Thank you everyone for all your help and support. It is greatly appreciated and it helps so much.
Thanks, Rachael

Update 10/29/05 10/29-05--It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day for a walk-a-thon in Fresno. There was over 300 people that came out and showed Rachael and her family alot of love and support. Coach Margie Wright had two TV crews , a DJ playing motivating music to help make the laps around the track enjoyable! Coach Wright THANK YOU !! The support from Rachael's fellow teammates- (GO DOGS!) whom also had special t-shirts made with Rachael's number 22 on them and her logo "Meet it and BEAT it". We also want to thank the sororities and fraternities that helped with the selling of the walk-a-thon t-shirts and wrist bands. Rachael was there to personally thank everyone for their prayers and support and we also had the privilege of meeting some of the past Bulldogs softball players as there was the First Alumni Softball game right after the walk. Rachael was honored to pitch out the first game ball to start the game and we enjoyed watching the past All-American, Olympicans and legions of the Fresno Bulldogs women's softball program!! Rachael and her family would like to thank everyone that came out to the walk a thon and to all of those that gave support into the Rachael fund .

Update 11/14/05 Just a little update on how Rachael is doing. Rachael and I got back to Fresno today after the fourth Chemo Therapy and she is feeling a little warn out as they did turn up the Chemo a little, also it was her fourth round and your body is bound to get tired from this. Doctors will be calling on Tuesday 11/15/05 to give us the results of her 3-tests (Pet Scan, CT scan and MRI) from last Wednesday. Rachael will be getting her Neulasta shot today which helps builds up her WBCs so she will be able to come home for Thanksgiving. Please keep her in your prayers and she loves to hear from you all. Hoping everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and really give thanks for your family and loved ones. Sandy

Update 11/17/05 11/17/05-Doctors called Rachael today with the results of her re-testing last Wednesday. the Pet Scan show Rachael's lungs and lymphoids are CLEAR of cancer and her tumor (Sarcoma) has shrunk over 60%!!! She will finish her next two Chemo treatments, Nov 30th and Dec 27th, and they will re-evaluate if surgery is necessary or if we are doing the radiation treatment or both! But things are looking GREAT and Rachael is doing it "Meeting it and Beating IT" She gets to come home for THANKSGIVING and will be here on Monday afternoon after her lab work is done in Fresno!! See how the power of PRAYER has worked so far, please keep up the Faith!!! This Thanksgiving OUR family really has alot to be thankful for!!!

Update 12/14/05 Hello everyone! Rachael and I would like to wish all our friends and family a MERRY CHRISTMAS! Rachael gets to come home on the 19th of December and stay thru to Christmas day, then we leave back up to San Francisco for her 6th Chemo treatment. News on what is happening, is we will have a meeting with the Oncologist Surgeon during our next hospital visit and we will decide when and how surgery is going to go. Tentatively they have Rachael's surgery to remove the initial tumor from the back of her knee for Jan. 12th 2006. Then we have a tough decision to make if we are going to get insurance to approve the Bone Marrow Transfer back into Rachael which we harvested back in Oct. This will mean that Rachael will be in the hospital for 4 weeks straight in the BMT room. It is in the same area as we have been but very monitored for her safety. During that time she will be depleted of all healthy cells and hopefully of all and any cancer cells that are left in her system. One exciting note about our 6th trip is that Rachael's sisters Darla and Amanda will be going with us to check things out and see first hand what goes on while we are in the hospital and the San Francisco area. Please cont inuring your prayers and thoughts and I know that Rachael is going to "MEET IT AND BEAT IT"! We will keep everyone updated as things go along on our next trip. Merry Christmas and God Bless, Sandy and Rachael

Update 12/23/05 HI everyone i just wanted to write and give you all a personal update on how everything is going. I have my treatment number 6 coming up on the 27th of this month and then ill meet with my surgeon to discuss my surgery. Then after that i have treatment number 7 and 8 to follow. Treatment number 8 is planned to be a month long and at that time i will be starting my radiation. Things have been pretty good in between my treatments. Ive been staying healthy for the most part but cant escape the colds that are going around. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Again thank you to everyone for all your help and support.

Update 01/06/06Today i flew to San Francisco for a meeting with my surgeon Dr. Odonell. I wasnt looking forward to it considering the news he had for me back in August, wasnt too promising. Today he pulled up my scans that were taken after my third round of chemo and he was amazed. He couldnt believe what he was seeing, or i should say what he wasnt seeing. My tumor had shrunk so much that it did not appear on the pictures. All he could see was the activity that had taken place in the bone. He did find that the tumor had effected the Fibia and the Tibula. Through these pictures he decided that i am no longer a candidate for an amputation. He now has plans to "save my leg". This is the best news ive heard yet. The surgury will consist of removing the tumor along with the top part of my Fibia and then in another surgery later on we will bring in sports medicine surgeons to reconstruct my Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL). I just want to say thank you so much to everyone for helping me out through all of this. I couldnt have done without you:) Thanks so much, Rachael

Update 01/20/06Hey Everyone, Here is the update for Rachael's trip on Jan. 20th. Tests were retaken on the 19th (CT scan, PetScan and MRI). We had a meeting with Dr. O'Donnell (Oncologist Surgeon) on Friday and he reviewed the new scans and showed us that the cancer has gone into Rachael's Tibia and Fibula so much that he will have to preform a total knee replacement which means that he will be cutting off the top six inches of her Tibia and Fibula and replace it with a Titanium knee joint. They are specially making this for Rachael so surgery has been schedule for Feb 27th. This week she is undergoing Chemo treatment #7 and will return to Fresno to spend time with her teammates before her final surgery in Feb. Please keep Rachael in your prayers for the strength she will need to get through this time. After surgery she will be off her leg and using crutches for at least 3 months!! Thank you all very much, Rachael and Sandy

Update 02/28/06Hello everyone, I know you are all wondering how Rachael's surgery went----well---it was rescheduled for next Monday, March 6th!! Yes that's right--Rachael's -21st-birthday!!! We were up in San Francisco Monday ready for surgery, then the operating room got backed up due to emergency, and our surgeon only does his surgeries on Mondays, sooo he asked that we postpone till Monday. So we leave from Temecula on Sunday evening straight to San Francisco, and on Monday morning we try again for surgery (total knee replacement with Titanium. If all goes will I will send out another note after surgery and let everyone know how things went and what's up next on Rachael schedule. Thanks to everyone and God Bless. Sandy

Update 03/09/06Hello Everyone, Rachael surgery went off on Monday, March 6th (her 21st BIRTHDAY!) finally!! The Surgeons part of the surgery took 3 hours and 40 minutes, then the plastic surgeons was 2 hrs and 20 minutes, then she was in recovery for about two hours and got back up to us in her room at 11:30pm. The resident doctors and nurses sang happy birthday to Rachael and they had made up a big poster birthday card and a bottle of champagne from the Napa area! The nurses in the pre-op area had sung her happy birthday and gave her a teddy bear dress in scrubs and a surgery cap like hers and her name tag on it!! She was surprised and happy!! It took a little longer during surgery as the Fibula had to be cut about 5 inches and the Tibia was cut about 4 inches. The placement of the Titanium Knee went right into place with no problems and the soft tissue in the area looked great and we will find out in about two weeks about the cancer tumor in the Tibia. The plastic surgeon used Rachael's calf muscle and her alkalies tendon to reconstruct her leg so it will look and function like NEW!! Her stay in the hops ital will be a little longer as the plastic surgeon would ike complete rest for the healing of HER work!! Female plastic surge ion Dr. Tang!! Very nice work!! I got to see it yesterday and according to all that looked at it--resident doctors, plastic and surgeons--all agreed it look GREAT!! Rachael is doing great except for a hoarse voice from the tube that was in her throat for so long!! But she loves to hear from everyone so get those little fingers going. She will be coming home to Temecula on Sunday for a week or so, then it's back up to San Francisco for post op. appointment and Chemo # 8. Last week once again I had to move into a larger home so we have room for Rachael and we still live in the Red Hawk area. After Chemo Rachael will be coming home to stay until the next treatment of Bone Marrow. Thank you all for your prayers and support and we love to hear from you. Take care and God Bless, Sandy and Rachael

Update 05/11/06It has been a long time since my last update. There has been so much that has changed. Originally the surgery for my knee replacement was scheduled for February 27th. I got to the hospital that morning for pre-op at 1 and waited for a while until my surgeon came in to see me. He came in at 530 to tell me that the surgery before mine had some difficulties, therefore my surgery was going to have to be pushed back to the following monday. That monday, March 6, happened to be my 21st birthday. So you can imagine how i was feeling. I made it back on that monday for my surgery and now 9 weeks later i am still wrapped up waiting for it to heal. It is getting better everyday, though we did have some complications with the healing process. I am now waiting to go into bone marrow transplant starting in May 22. I have a couple appointments leading up to it to get me ready. Its almost here though, that can be scary, but at the same time its almost over! Everyday is just a day closer to what i wanted in the beginning... that is to beat it. Just recently Nelly Jarrous and Erika Perko put on a Grden Party as a Fundraiser to help with the funds. It was amazing. The turnout was awesome and thanks to everyone that was there. Thanks for all the support from everyone.

Update 05/30/06Hello Family and Friends, Well Rachael has been in UCSF hospital since May 22. She is confined for this entire visit to a 15x15 foot room that is sterile. Anyone that enters the room must do a 2min scrub. You must have clean clothes on. You can't bring in any food. You can't touch her or her things. No flowers or gifts from the outside world. Anything in your possession must be wiped down with alcohol. No one with any kind of cold, sniffle, cough, fever is allowed in her room. Since the 22nd, she has had Chemo treatments of: 16bags of Busulfex for the first 4 days, every 6 hrs. Then the next two days she had 4-bags of Melphalan, then her last two days of chemo she had- 4 bags of Triotepa. For a grand total of 24 bags of very strong Chemo treatment. Today May 30th is her day of rest from any treatments. Tomorrow she will have her Bone Marrow and Stem Cells, which where harvested back in September and November, be replaced back into her system to start the healing process. For the next week or so her counts will drop, but they will also be giving her GPS shots (White blood count boosts) daily to help her body rebuild her immune system which right now is down to "0". Deb Hartwig is up her with us giving Rachael support and laughter. Yesterday she commented on how great Rachael looked and asked the nurses if they were giving her the correct Chemo or if there was anything really in those bags?!!. Rachael did very well the first week and her spirit and attitude was high and energetic. She hasn't had the typical symptoms that come with this type of treatment. She is extremely strong mentally. There is a lot to be said about a strong mind! She is very determined to not let any of this process break her will! We will keep praying and giving her supporting to help her recovery not be as long as the doctors anticipate. She wants of course to set a new hospital record of 21 days out after day "0". The "typical" stay is 4 to 6 weeks in recovery. I will keep you updated each week. Thank you all for your support and prayers. Take care and God Bless. Sandy

Update 06/02/06Hey everyone! Just a quick note, Rachael got her Stem Cells back into her body at 1:00pm on 5/31/06, Wednesday. On June 1st, she was feeling good enough that she challenged Deb and myself to a game of Texas Hold'em Poker!! At one point she had all the chips then after about 2 hours of play, Deb won!! Rachael got tired and not feeling well. Up to that point Rachael was feeling great most of the day. The next two have been a little different as the Chemo is doing it work inside her body and she is experiencing the symptoms of strong stomach pain from the mucus's being effected by the Chemo. Doctors say that is what they have been expecting and this, with some other unpleasantness, should happen for about the next 5 to 7 days. She is now getting nutrients and vitamins through her IV lines and Morfin for the pain. Rachael still has an appetite for chicken noodle soup, Ravioli's and of course Clam Chowder after her naps, NO hospital food. Now she sleeps a lot more and she is visiting about 4 to 5 hrs in a day. Well I will keep you posted on her progress throughout this difficult time. Thank you for all your prayers and support!! God Bless, Sandy

Update 06/10/06Hey everyone!! LET THE COUNT DOWN BEGIN!! June 9Th was the beginning of a very good couple of days. Sheri Joyce (our wonderful friend) has been staying up in San Francisco with Rachael while I had to run home and take care of some family business. Well, in the morning of June 9Th when Sheri was having coffee outside a ladybug landed on her left leg!! Sheri called Rachael and told her the luck and that morning when she got her lab work results, Rachael's counts were up where the doctors like to see them. They told her that was a good sign and if they kept coming up she would be able to go home! soon! So that really made all of our day. Well Friday,,June 10Th, Amanda (her sister) and I decided we would fly up to San Francisco and surprise Rachael. We got in around 10:00pm and she was really surprised as she did not expect us until next Saturday the 17Th. Then this morning, Saturday the 10Th, is another GREAT day!! Rachael's white blood counts where at up even more then yesterday (3400) and if they stay above that for the next three days, she could be going home as soon as Thursday the 15Th!!! They have to make sure everything is normal--blood counts, eating and drinking, removal of all the pain medicine pumps and IV nutrients food. I will keep you posted on how the next few days go!! Thank you all family and friends for all the support and prayers!! God Bless, Sandy

Update 06/22/06Hey everyone, Well Rachael broke all the hospital records for the Bone Marrow Treatment. She was out on the 15Th of June and has been at home resting. Today was her original date to leave, but OH WELL!! So today she is going to get to start Physical Therapy and she is really looking forward to that. We leave again next Tues. for a follow up visit with BMT and then our next trip is not until July 12Th for re-testing of all the scans. Then the doctors will make a decision on radiation. Thank you all for your prayers and support, please keep it up, because as of June 15Th, Rachael is in remission!!! Sandy

Update 08/01/06Hello Everyone! I know that it has been awhile since we written an update, but we have great NEWS! Rachael went back up to UCSF after being out of bone marrow for retesting. We Dr. Goldsby has called and told her that it is looking great and there is no need for Radiation to her lungs or lymphnodes at this time!!! She will be going back up once a month for an IVIG (IV medication) for helping her body rebuild her immune system. Rachael is doing great and goes to Physical Therapy three times a week. Last week Rachael was honored at the ESPN 1430 Awards in Central Valley and she was presented with the Inspirational Award!! It was a GREAT honor! Thank you all again for your love, prayers and support through this last 11 months. Sandy and Rachael