Two cancer patients find in each other someone to live for

Two cancer patients find in each other someone to live for
SEATTLE -- Rodney Conradi is in a battle for his life. His bones are riddled with cancer.

"I had it in my ribs, my pelvis, up and down my spine, my shoulders," he said.

Rodney was 20 when he was first diagnosed. It is frightening to face cancer so young.

It's lonely too.

"When you're in your 20's and have cancer, or even in your teens, there's no peers you can talk to who understand what you're going through," Rodney said.

Across the state, 230 miles away in Bellingham, Lynsie Rainford faces a similar fight.

"They did a bone marrow aspiration and the next day they found out it was leukemia," she said describing her initial diagnosis when she was 15.

Lynsie beat the disease but relapsed at 19 years old. She still travels to Seattle Children's Hospital for monthly check-ups.

She is surrounded by people who care but not by peers who know what she's going through.

"Even my doctors, they've never had cancer," she said. "They can try to relate from what they know but they don't know everything about it. You have to have it to really know."

A year ago, Lynsie and Rodney were both staying across the street from Seattle Children's at the Ronald McDonald House. They struck up a friendship, both grateful to finally find someone the same age, going through the same stress.

But Lynsie went back to Bellingham, very sick. Rodney went back to Yakima in remission.

They stopped talking.

Months later, just as Lynsie was about to celebrate her final chemo treatment, Rodney came back into her life.

"I remember the date," she said. "It was December 6th." That's the day she got a message from Rodney on Facebook.

It read, "Sorry, I wouldn't normally try to talk to you since you don't want to hear from me. But I wish you would call me. My cancer's back and I'm scared as hell. You're my best friend."

"She was," Rodney said. "She's the best friend I ever had."

Rodney's cancer is surging through his body with a vengeance like never before. Doctors give him six months to a year to live.

This time Lynsie is the one beating cancer. But she will take on Rodney's pain.

" 'Cause he's worth it and I love him that much," she said.

"She knows exactly what it feels like, what I'm going through," Rodney said. "Even down to the, how it feels to be our age and go through this."

Two cancers feel at times impossible to overcome. But Rodney and Lynise made a decision to focus on the future.

"I try to live it like nothing bad's going to happen," she said. "He's going to live."

They met as young cancer patients looking for someone who understands facing death. They found someone to live for.

"What matters is love and showing the person you love how much you love them. That's what people will remember," Rodney said. "we realize never to end a conversation on a bad note or ruin any day over an argument. Because you don't know how many days are left, and do you want to waste them being angry at the love of your life? Love is the only thing that matters, really."

On Valentine's Day, Rodney proposed to Lynsie. She said yes!

That's one dream come true.

Now, several groups including The Dream Foundation, Childhood Cancer Careline and Band of Brothers are working on making another dream come true for Rodney. The KOMO 4 Problems Solvers and Alaska Airlines also pitched in to send Rodney and Lynsie to Disneyland, but Rodney's health kept him from travelling. We hope to be able to tell you about another wish fulfilled sometime soon.

Just like Rodney and Lynsie, Seattle Children's Hospital knows teenagers and young adults with cancer face different challenges than adults. The hospital recently introduced a new video series called "Good Times and Bald Times" to help adolescents cope.