GREGG AND ROBYN’S WEDDING INVITATION (CIRCA 1975).
Robyn Anne Oshita (nee Suzuki) was born September 1, 1951 in Chicago, IL. She attended Amundsen High School graduating in 1969 where she was involved in cheerleading, yearbook editor and homecoming queen her senior year.
After graduating from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1974 with a bachelor of science in nursing, she married Gregg Oshita in 1975.
Over the course of the next 42 years, the family moved around living in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio where in 1991, they moved to Cincinnati and raised son Michael and daughter Kimberly. Robyn continued her career as a nurse which was perfect for her because she befriended everyone she met which allowed her to quickly gain the trust of patients she treated.
In October 2016, Robyn retired and she and Gregg were looking forward to traveling and spending time with the kids.
In July 2017, Robyn began experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath and bruising. After visiting her cardiologist, a complete blood count (CBC) test was ordered and revealed Robyn’s platelet count to be extremely low. Platelets are tiny blood cells that help your body form clots to stop bleeding. The average platelet range for a healthy individual is between 150,000 - 450,000; Robyn’s count was 10,000.
Thus began a long, stressful journey for the family due her low platelet count. Platelets are one of the four components that make up blood (the other three being white blood cells, red blood cells and plasma). Robyn required a minimum of 2 platelet transfusions a week over a period of 7-8 weeks.
Since platelet donations are not as common as blood (due to the fact that the process takes much longer compared to normal blood donation and that platelets are only good for 5 days), the family sometimes did not know until the very last minute if platelets would be available when Robyn needed them.
Then in August 2017, Robyn was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) which is a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder”. The doctors told the family that Robyn needed a bone marrow transplant within 7 months before the MDS converted into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Unfortunately, Robyn’s MDS quickly converted and in October 2017, two months and a half months after Robyn’s initial diagnosis, she passed away.
Robyn's childhood friend said this at her memorial service in November 2017, "In reflecting on all our shared childhood and adult experiences, the words that surface are compassionate, kind, giving...but most of all humble. Robyn always stepped away from the limelight; she was really good at deflecting attention from her accomplishments to others. Robyn you will see from your perch above how deeply you have touched our lives and left a loving legacy."
How We Got Here:
After Robyn’s memorial service, the family received donations per the Japanese custom (koden). After much discussion, the family decided to take those donations and start a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization in Gregg and Robyns name. In January 2018, The Gregg and Robyn Oshita Foundation was officially recognized as a non-profit charitable organization and we received our federal tax ID number.
Our foundation’s mission is to carry on Robyn’s legacy of helping others by supporting individuals and families battling blood cancers.
Blood cancers are not selective and can impact any family.