When Scottsdale resident Kim Ariza was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on July 30, it came as a shock to her, her family and her friends.
Ariza was healthy, pursuing a career as a doctor and holding a residency position in family medicine; she had given birth to her now 19-month-old daughter, Sofia, two years ago.
Around the same time, she developed a lump in her neck. So, she consulted her doctors, and after two biopsies was told it was a harmless swollen lymph node.
As time went by, the swelling worsened and moved down into her chest and arm.
After another checkup, multiple MRIs, CT scans, three more biopsies and lab work, she received the news: She has Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which had spread to her lungs, her liver and many lymph nodes.
Now, Ariza and her family and friends are seeking the community’s help and support.
Because Ariza had to leave her hospital residency job of two years, her family is now a one-salary household.
In an effort to help raise money for Ariza, a fellow resident doctor, Heather Lougee, has set up a GoFundMe campaign on Ariza’s behalf called “Kim Ariza’s Fight Club.”
The campaign aims to raise $50,000, which will help cover the costs of Ariza’s treatment, recovery and everyday expenses.
“As a resident doctor writing this in support of a fellow resident doctor, I have no choice but to present this as a patient case,” Lougee wrote on GoFundMe. “Kim was recently diagnosed with cancer, and this is her story that is very close to all our hearts and can use all the help/support you can offer.”
Created on Oct. 24, the GoFundMe campaign raised more than $35,000 in merely six days, with donations from more than 380 people.
“I am incredibly grateful for all the love and support that I have gotten from far away and close by friends and family,” Ariza wrote on GoFundMe Oct. 30. “Thank you to everyone who is showing love and telling their stories. Thank you to everyone who was able to make a monetary contribution.
“You are all making me realize that I’m not alone even though I sometimes feel that way and that I’m so surrounded my love and light.”
Although Ariza is now halfway through chemotherapy, it hasn’t stopped her and her fiancé Nic from continuing to plan their wedding.
“As with everything else she has done, she is absolutely crushing it,” Lougee wrote. “Every expected and unexpected side effect that has brought her down has only led her to rise above even higher to confront the next obstacle coming her way.”
Nic, who hates running, is also in the midst of training for the Tucson Marathon, which takes place on Dec. 8, 2018.
“Knowing that he could never balance the scales of what she is going through, he felt that this was a small way for him to support her journey while also putting himself through some pain,” Lougee wrote. “Please help us somewhat normalize this family’s new routine and help them move up and onward.”
To donate/participate: gofundme.com/kimsfightclub.