Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006

Folks: About a year ago or so I sent Jonathan Leach (James River RFC) a note from the Lions expressing our concern for his wife Mary as she ventured down an uncertain road. Jonathan and Mary wrote back with their thanks to our Club. I didn't hear much after that and basically assumed that things were under control. Evidently, this is not the case at all. Chris Bowman spotted this recent article in the Mechanicsville paper and passed it along. Please read his note along with the article re-printed below. Have a few rounds for Mary and Jon by taking the money you'd normally spend on those $5.00 pints and sending a check instead to this address.

HEFC c/o Mary Wrenn Leach
6420 Mechanicsville Turnpike
Mechanicsville, Va. 23111

From Chris Bowman:

If the club is not aware of this…they should be. Jon was a founding member of our club; who went to River after a tiff with coaches and players a few years ago on United. He is a great guy, Mary is a great girl. There is a fund raiser for them this weekend. I encourage our players to dig deep and set what would be beer money aside for a good cause. She is one of our own; as is Jon. We want to be a part of the community outside of rugby here is our chance.

Regards,

Chris Bowman, CAMS
Vice President

Senior Investigator Special Investigations Group Global Anti-Money Laundering Operations and Compliance 804-553-6081 (office) 404-532-3156 (fax)

Amputee faces more struggles


Photo by Kiersten Brown

Mary and Jonathan Leach hold her $14,000 prosthetic leg at the home of Kristy Cosley.

Fundraiser will help with cost of prosthesis

By Kiersten Brown

She was a busy bride-to-be, making decisions from the perfect dress to the prettiest flowers.

But, when doctors discovered a tumor in 28-year-old Mary Wrenn Leach’s knee (then 26), she had to make a tougher decision-keep the knee or risk dying.

Leach’s pain began when she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) playing rugby. In December 2004 she went for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) where doctors detected the mass in her leg.

By January, a biopsy was sent off to the National Institute of Health in New York where doctors diagnosed Leach with osteosarcoma (bone cancer). She underwent three rounds of chemotherapy and in April she had a full knee replacement.

“They removed 14 centimeters of my femur and put in a titanium rod,” said Leach.

A 1996 Lee-Davis High School graduate, she was always heavily involved in sports, so when doctors told her she’d never be able to run or play rugby again, she didn’t know what she would do.

“Playing sports was a huge part of my life,” said Leach.

In May 2005, she married her fiancé of seven years, Jonathan Leach. Unfortunately, their Alaskan honeymoon was put on hold because she was too sick to travel.

“I kept getting infections throughout the chemo and was in and out of MCV at least 105 times last year,” Leach said.

She also suffered serious side effects from the medication such as sight and hearing loss and seizures.

“She had no energy. She couldn’t lift her head off the pillow. She had no drive to do anything,” said her husband, Jonathan.

In September 2005 Leach received more bad news. An infection was located in the knee and she had to have surgery. The infection was cleaned and five plastic parts were removed from the titanium knee.

In November, severe pain returned to her leg and another tumor was found. This time, it was wrapped around Leach’s ciatic nerve and femur, which made sitting in any position uncomfortable.

In December doctors amputated her entire leg above the knee.

About three weeks after the amputation, she was up and learning to walk with her prosthetic knee, which costs about $14,000 with insurance only covering about $1,000.

On Friday, March 17, Leach had yet another biopsy which resulted in another tumor. The next day, she had a hip disarticulation where doctors removed the entire femur completely. As of press time, she made it through surgery successfully, but doctors detected a possible tumor in her lymphnodes.

“I have good days and bad ones. Some days I yell at God and ask ‘Why me?’” said Leach. But throughout her ordeal, she and her husband have tried to see the silver lining.

The experience has put Leach and her husband to the test and they have come through together stronger.

“We’ve been trying to focus on the positive and ignore the unimportant things. If we can’t laugh about it, there’s no point in going on,” said Jonathan. “We’ve found we’ve taken life for granted a bit and you can’t do that. Now we’ve taken pleasure in simple things and we know what’s truly important in life,”

According to long-time friend, Kristy Cosley, Leach is an inspiration.

“She wanted her independence back and to do all the things she loved. She was so determined to keep going no matter what. She got married, even though she lost her hair. She looked into the face of adversity and stuck her tongue out at it and smiled,” Cosley said. When Cosley learned how much the prosthetic leg cost, she took action.

“We (the church) do so many fundraisers for so many people, so we wanted to help one of our own,” said Cosley who put together a fundraiser committee to to help pay for Leach’s prosthetic leg.

Cosley’s husband is the lead singer of their church’s worship band and he volunteered to be the entertainment during the benefit concert scheduled for April 1 at 7 p.m. at the Hanover Evangelical Friends Church in Mechanicsville. Funds will also be raised through an open dessert bar. All are invited to attend the fundraiser.

For those interested in donating to the fund who cannot attend the concert, make checks payable to:

HEFC c/o Mary Wrenn Leach

6420 Mechanicsville Turnpike

Mechanicsville, Va. 23111


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