Marines help brighten woman’s Big Apple experience

November 22nd, 2011

By Elaine Blaisdell | Cumberland Times-News | Times-news.com | November 21, 2011

CUMBERLAND — A recent visit to Yankee Stadium in New York was a dream come true for an Oklahoma cancer patient.

Team Semper Fi, of which local retired Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Arbogast is a member, fulfilled the wish of Sarah Nail Dakin, who has stage four cervical cancer.

Meredith Robertson times news photo

Meredith Robertson of Oklahoma, left, poses with her friend Sarah Dakin of Oklahoma, who has stage four cervical cancer. Photo by Cumberland Times.

The Yankees are Dakin’s favorite team and one of the items on her “bucket list” was to watch the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, according to Arbogast of Fort Ashby, W.Va.

In June, Dakin’s friends took her to a game and made part of her dream come true, but the Yankees didn’t beat the Red Sox. Her cancer had progressed to the point that she couldn’t attend the most recent game. Her friend Meredith Robertson learned that Team Semper Fi was attending the game and asked the team to take a picture, while at Yankee Stadium, with a sign saying Team Sarah Cancer Sucks. Tiffany Arbogast, Jeremiah’s wife, made a sign and not only did the team take a photograph, but they also all signed and wrote words of encouragement to Dakin, according to Robertson.

“I was blown away,” said Robertson. “The Marines of Team Semper Fi were awesome for taking the time to honor Sarah that day at Yankee Stadium. It’s unbelievable even when Marines are injured and dealing with personal battles that they put their own personal issues aside to honor and make a dream come true for somebody else. This just shows the selflessness of Team Semper Fi and the Marines involved with them.”

When the picture was presented to Dakin, she cried, according to Robertson.

“It’s what Marines do; we take care of others no matter what the cost, just because we were injured while serving our country does not mean we still don’t serve the American people — that will continue the rest of our lives, we never accept defeat,” Arbogast said.

In order to show Dakin that she has support all over the world, Robertson started a photo project on Facebook, asking people to take a picture showing where they are with an encouraging message and a note saying Team Sarah Cancer Sucks. Once Robertson receives a lot of photos she is going to put them in a digital photo frame and present them to Dakin.

Dakin, who is 33 and a single mother of twin 5-year-old boys, was diagnosed with cervical cancer with lymph node involvement in July 2010. By August 2010, the cancer had spread to her spine and in November 2010 she underwent chemotherapy and radiation and was cleared as cancer-free.

In February 2011, she found out the cancer had spread to her liver and was growing aggressively. The next month, she was told by her doctor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center that her liver was incurable and suggested she focus her energy on getting well and spending time with her family.

“At the end of March 2010 on my last day of work, I ended my afternoon with three seizures and an ambulance ride to St. Francis (Tulsa) where I was admitted into ICU and told I also had a cancerous brain tumor,” writes Dakin on the Photo Project Team Sarah Cancer Sucks Facebook page. “I had surgery to have that removed. I underwent radiation again to make sure my brain was taken care of. I am currently taking chemo to treat my liver.”

Dakin is still in bad shape and the tumor on her spine is back, according to a July 1, 2011, update on Facebook.

“They are going to change my chemo,” writes Dakin. “(I’m) hanging in there and fighting harder than ever. (I’m) still positive.”

Team Semper Fi is made up of more than 270 service members and is the heart and inspiration of the team’s rehabilitative Athletic Program, according to Arbogast. The idea for the team was inspired by those wounded Marines and sailors who refused to let their challenges prevent them from competing in athletic events. “Recovery Through Sport” is the motto of Team Semper Fi.

The team is provided coaches, specialized sporting equipment, entry fees and travel expenses to athletic events. Members are given the opportunity to receive high-level training from former and current Olympic and Paralympics athletes through a partnership with U.S. Paralympics.

For more information on the photo project, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/PhotoProject-TeamSarahCancerSucks/190438847678330.

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