Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mike is doing a leukemia fundraiser in honor of Bonnie

It's been a few years, but Mike, Isabel and Devon are now living in Park City, Utah and Mike is doing a fundraiser in Bonnie's honor.

Click here to learn more about Mike, the girls and his Leukemia fundraiser. His "Causes" site also includes a nice update on the family.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bonnie Tag Cloud

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday and Thursday night dinners for Mike and Girls

Dear Friends,

Many thanks to each one of you for all you have done to help the Tonneson family through this difficult time. I know Mike and the girls appreciate everything; they have been embraced by this amazing community. You are all incredibly kind and generous people.

We hope to continue the Tuesday/Thursday meal delivery schedule for the Tonnesons through 2008 (and possibly beyond, depending on the family's desire). So many of you have asked how we can continue to help... perhaps this small token of friendship will allow Mike and Bobbi Jo a little more time to focus on the family's needs while not having to worry about what is for dinner.

The dinner sign up sheet can be found here
or you can cut and paste this link: http://www.mysignup.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi?datafile=bonniemeals.

Thank you again for your kindness.

Love to all,
-Betsy Berman

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eulogy for Bonnie by Mike Tonneson (husband)

Presented at Bonnie's Memorial Service on 8/11/07 by Mike...

About a year ago I heard part of a broadcast on National Public Radio. The subject matter was famous people and the notion of true greatness. With references to JFK, Martin Luther King, Princess Di, Sinatra, Elvis Presley. They tried to distill greatness down to a few ideas. Unique style, commanding grace, skill or insight. A larger than-life-presence. I was heartened by the notion of how many people will forever remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when some of those people died. I laughed as they cited the familiar phrase, “Elvis has left the building” – as if the physical and spiritual world had fundamentally changed for the mob of fans at that moment. But the broadcast left me feeling like the writers hadn’t fully captured the notion of greatness.

Two weeks ago, my Isabel asked her Uncle Bob what he meant when he said that Bob Marley was a legend. He told her that a legend is someone who was so great at what they do that their greatness lives on even after they die. I took me a moment to have it really sink in. About greatness living on and how relevant it was.

I truly believe that to have known Bonnie is to have known greatness. To have known a woman who was utterly extraordinary – and not on one dimension like work, or like motherhood – but on many, many dimensions.

I also believe that the cornerstone of greatness is not notoriety. And it’s not one’s accomplishments. And it’s not even the often-cited notion of how many friends you have, as opposed to how many expensive toys you end up with.

I believe that the cornerstone of greatness is inspiration. To what extent are we inspired by another person? Inspired to be with the person, and to fully seize and enjoy the now, the moment with that person? Inspired to want to be like the person? Inspired to be a better person yourself in some way – by virtue of having met, or known, or spent time with the person? Inspired to live life more fully? Inspired to be the person’s friend, or relative, or to be the person’s boss or the person’s direct-report at work, even just to be an acquaintance of the person?

I’ve never been inspired by another person as much as by Bonnie. And I have a unique perspective on all of this – because in my lifetime I have had occasion to be her acquaintance, her boss at work, her friend, her husband, and by extension her direct-report.

I also know from your kind words and selfless and gracious deeds, particularly over these last 4 years, that many, if not most of you here, have likewise been inspired.

Here is a partial list of things that inspire me about Bonnie and characterize who she was:
unflappable poise, even under pressure; pure grace; unrelenting strength; natural beauty and radiance (how does a women look that beautiful in her final weeks, having endured all she has); warm and reassuring smile; razor-sharp intellect; analytical prowess; single-minded focus and determination; unwavering friendship; tour-de-force motherhood; always in control; fearless and self-assured about doing it her way; boundless courage even in the face of imminent death; unparalleled sense of style; infectious sense of fun, humor, adventure and bias for seizing the day, every day; stunning creativity and artistic flare; light-up-the-room presence; unabashed confidence and bluntness, uniquely coupled with humility and true sensitivity; and complete selflessness for those she loved

I have several mental snapshots I want to share.

Not dating yet. Bon has brand new Saab Turbo. Bon turns left onto Lombard from Van Ness, by banking around the right lane, passing all backed up cars in two inner lanes, thereby pinning me to the right-side of the car due to the g forces. “This women drives more aggressively than I do for God’s sake. Now I know what it feels like to experience unbridled fear sitting in the passenger seat when I’m driving”. I say to myself, “I really like this woman.”

Dove Associates: Bon is best, most talented hire Dove ever made. And I got a wife out of the deal.

Staying up all night creating 2 by 2 matrices and lists, talking about and negotiating what our dreams were and what our life together would be like for us and our future family, despite our religious differences. Remember thinking “she’s really cute and she really is a nerd like me”.

Bonnie on NBC Nightline with Ted Koppel, covering the beverage industry – one of many, many such appearances. She was a natural. Nailed it in 1 take without any script. Amazing poise. Nightline staff provides feedback on audience perceptions “Guys want to be with her, and the gals want to be her.”

Howard Schulz, founder/Chairman/CEO, Starbucks. 99-2001 Bonnie covers Starbucks stock while at H&Q. 2005 Bonnie is cleared for discharge from U of MN hospital –but in neutropenic state. Howard learns of it same day. Next day, Howard dispatches the Starbucks corporate jet and crew, which flies Bon, Isabel, Devon, and me home to SFO in rock-star accommodations.

Style – 5 words/phrases I had no concept of before Bonnie: 1) Anthropologie 2) Mani/Pedi 3) Massage Therapy 4) Zappos 5) black as a color for clothing. Mike is escorted into Nordstrom’s for Annual Men’s Department sale. Owns no black clothing on entry. Leaves mumbling in a transe “Why only black? …Because black is black. Black is black.”

No medical degree. No need. This is Bonnie. Aug ’03 – self-diagnosis of Leukemia. Early Apr ’05 Believes she has relapsed. 05 05 05 She does relapse.
Dec ’05 MN doctors say no C-Diff. Bonnie knows otherwise and will collect evidence proving them wrong. Enlists Mike. Who must take digital photos of her poo to show to Doctors. All doctors unanimously and collectively chuckle at her research, but still dismiss Bonnie’s claim. 2 days later, lab results confirm Bonnie’s diagnosis. Jun 15 ‘07 Self diagnosis of relapse, but must take strong stand to convince doctors about need for biopsy to confirm, as everything is perfectly explainable by cold and flu. 3 days later, relapse is confirmed.

Jack of all trades, master of none. Hogwash. This is Bonnie. Cum Laude from Dartmouth – in Art History. Top 10% from Kellogg in business. Excels in Advertising. Moves to strategy consulting and is a rockstar. Moves to equities analyst position and within 3 years becomes Wall Street Journal All-Star Analyst. Role model for motherhood is the understatement of the century. Previous note to self: “Our budget for interior decorators will be low. She does it all herself with amazing flare and awe-inspiring color, texture, and contrast. Budget for the actual furniture and decorations: will not be so low”. Fashionista extraordinaire. Dinner parties / Kids parties – Does them herself; Barefoot Contessa can cook, but wishes she could entertain like this. Freehand sketches of birthday CD covers are works of art and works of love. She was writing a novel when she died. This is partial list.

Fireflies. Not just an age-appropriate metaphor. Spiritually they’re real. Spiritually, Bonnie could fly. And she still can.

Juxtaposition #1. All dressed up and decked out. Stylish. Smokin. Vs. 25 days without a shower on a NOLS hiking trip with Cindy Lou Hoo.
Juxtaposition #2. Consistently wows Fortune 500 CEOs with skills as an analyst. Vs. woos her future husband by kicking my butt biking up Mt. Baldy on a mountainbike. Finishes with mud all over her face. Briefly adopts the self-appointed name ‘Kid Maypo’. 2 years later I propose to her on Mt. Baldy. 9 years later she requests that half her fairy dust remains be scattered at Mt. Baldy.

Breaking in new nurses by schooling them on potential contra-indications, treatment protocols, and specific drug efficacy.

Challenging and pushing the world’s leading experts on Leukemia, including Dr. Charlie Linker, and our beloved Dr. Kristen Hege, to whom we will be forever in debt for what they gave our family: 4 extra years of love, life, and laughter, …But also making the nurses and doctors marvel, and laugh. …And ultimately causing them to cry with us at our collective loss, despite all their training to compartmentalize.

Shares with Devon Gold a whimsical thought of one of the little things she’ll miss – like the outcome of the last episode of the show “Lost”. Wed night, Devon makes it happen via a conference call. Exec Producers and Co-creators of Lost, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, call Bonnie and tell her the ending, not just of the show, but of the entire series. “Bonnie, you’re a little sleepy, are you sure you’re up to it to take this call” Pulls off the O2 mask, smiles and says “I think it will be fun. Let’s do it.” Not a 10-min Hollywood sympathy call. This is Bonnie. She engages. She critiques and praises their life’s work across Lost, Alias, Felicity and other TV shows. They chat, laugh, swap notes. 45 minutes later, the two media moguls feel like they just re-connected with a long lost friend and now want to create a character named Bonnie in one of their shows. 12 hours later, Bonnie dies. Classic Bonnie. Live for the moment. Seize all that life has to offer. And inspire the hell out of two Hollywood Moguls who she just met moments earlier.

Skiing – This winter will be my 40th consecutive season. It is a passion for me, albeit more so than for Bonnie. One of my dreams is to heli-ski with my girls. Bon adopts the dream as well and plans out every detail of the ski season of 2006-2007 in advance. She doesn’t like the cold. She’s not at 100% yet. But Bonnie skied about 16 days last winter. The results of one season: Devon was skiing solo at age 3. Isabel skied solo, and went on to ski blue runs with authority at age 5. Bonnie taught them to ski, not me. And one of her last notes to me several weeks ago was to do whatever it takes to realize my dream and heli-ski with the girls.

Knowing death will come in a matter of months or even weeks, she does the following:
-- Managed girls schedules/keeps their routines …from her hospital room - like a Field-General directing the troops from a Command Center
-- Prepares memory boxes for the girls
-- Prepares Multi-page letters to girls
-- Video-taped messages to the girls
-- Worked toward securing Devon’s acceptance to school 18 mos from now
-- List of lists to help Daddy when she is gone: Favorite books, Summer Camps, Activities, When it is OK to…. Go-to People, Diet, Boys, Education, Clothing, etc. …This is the mother of all honey-do lists (which I embrace with all my heart).
-- Finds peace with what will happen to her
-- Finds peace in knowing her girls will be OK – with all the love and support that surrounds them – through family, Bobbi Jo – who she often referred to as her ‘Guardian Angel’ -- and a community of her girlfriends that is nothing short of humbling and life-affirming with respect to their love and humanity

Knowing death will come in a matter of hours, maybe sooner.
-- “Mike you better stay tonight after all.”
-- Few hours later. Pain. Discomfort. Extreme weakness. Not enough O2
-- Brief sleep. Followed by more of same difficulties, but increasingly so.
-- Fights off discomfort, low O2. In feat of superhuman strength, sits upright.
“Are you sitting up to help yourself breathe, Bon”. Nods head, “No.” Shakes off pain and grogginess again. ‘Gives me a warm smile only Bonnie can give’. Leans forward. Kisses me. Collapses backward against pillow. Immediately falls back to sleep in exhaustion. Dies five hours later in her sleep. A gift I will never forget.

Alicia and Rick’s house. 12 hours after Bonnie’s passing. I enter. 25 smiling faces. All are highly accomplished, super-smart, beautiful, extraordinary women. This must be wrong place. Where are the men? Only the women here. They just completed their meeting. Meeting? Agenda, committees, tasks – all regarding Bonnie. The troops have mobilized. They are perhaps as inspired by Bonnie as I am. From 9pm ‘til 1am, I heard their stories about how Bonnie was extraordinary. At several points, I was completely surrounded, and was peppered by questions relating to how she was extraordinary. I felt like I was the widower of a rock legend, surrounded by many of her most ardent followers; who loved her most and were most inspired by her.

Bonnie Kramer Tonneson is the best example of greatness I have ever known. I love her more than I love myself. I will continue to be inspired by her for the rest of my life. Most importantly, I’ll make sure Isabel & Devon have lots of opportunities to be inspired by her as well. If any among us has any doubts about Bonnie’s greatness living on, sometime when you get a chance, spend a few quality moments listening to and observing Isabel or Devon. You’ll know.

Bonnie has left the building. But she will never leave my heart.


Eulogy for Bonnie by Hilary Somorjai (friend)

Hilary Somorjai presented the following on 8/11...

Bonnie was one of the most amazing women I have ever known.

From the first time we met ten years ago, she inspired me with her wit, charm, sense of humor and rare ability to be fully present in the moment.

We shared a lot together…friends, family, temple, children, school and something which she named the trifecta affliction. She described it as high stress meets high anxiety meets pushy Jewish mother. I appreciated this honor, but assured her we weren’t the only ones with this affliction.

I speak for many of us when I say that Bonnie touched us in ways that will stay with us forever.

I call these Bonnie’s gifts.

Bonnie gave us the gift of seeing beauty in the little things. She was beautiful and carried herself with style and grace. Her eye for beauty influenced everything she did, down to the smallest detail. We will always remember how she entertained whether it was for kids or grownups. Who could forget Bonnie’s Fancy Nancy party or the incredible hand illustrated CDs she produced for both Isabel and Devon’s birthdays or the wonderful green drink parties? The flowers and décor she would create were always magnificent. She sought perfection and that attention to detail created beauty everywhere she went.

Bonnie also gave us the gift of believing in magic. Seeing the world through her daughters’ eyes gave Bonnie a new view of life, where fairies reign and an enchanted world begins. Why be serious when imagination can take you so many other places? She told us at her birthday lunch that she greatly admired Walt Disney and that if there is another imaginative fairy-land, that she will be the inspiration behind it.

Finally, Bonnie gave us the gift of embracing life. She was brave and courageous, and faced what life offered without flinching. She managed her illness with the same grace with which she lived her life and even in this way was an example to us all. She continued to cherish her precious daughters and devoted husband and maintained close contact with family and friends as this gave her strength and sustained her.

While her life was too short, it was rich with substance. We keep these gifts from Bonnie close to our heart and honor her by staying close to Mike, Isabel and Devon. We are an extended family and pledge our love and support for years to come. We are all in this together.


Eulogy by Cindy Lefkoff (friend of Bonnie)

Presented by Cindy on 8/11/07....

Bonnie was an incredible friend. I have known this since the day I met her in Lander, Wyoming as we set out on our month long NOLS course. We slept under the stars and camped all day, and by the end, I knew that she would forever be my friend. After all, I can guarantee you that we were the only two Jewish girls from the East Coast that were on that trip! I become Cindy Lou Hoo, and she became Bonnie Belle. To this day, Isabel and Devon, as well as many of Bonnnie’s friends actually think that Cindy Lou Hoo is my name!

It was 1995 when we went on this course, and in 1997, when she was a dear friend to me as I went through the illness and loss of my father. Then, in 1998, soon after Bonnie and Mike had married, Bonnie began hounding me to go out on a date. She had met a man in Colorado who said he would only get married if he found a Jewish girl who could ski and climb. Bonnie said, “I know one. She lives in Virginia.” After a great deal of protesting, I gave in and went on the date. As you all know, Bonnie was not one to take NO for an answer. Needless to say, Bonnie’s actions changed the course of my life. I am now happily married to Kyle and I have two sons. Bonnie is the godmother to my younger son, Asher. My boys will always know of Bonnie and what a wonderful friend she has been to me.

I want to share an email that Bonnie sent to some of her girlfriends at the beginning of the summer. When Bonnie found out that her Leukemia had returned, her girlfriends, whom I call the Goddesses of Burlingame, miraculously organized a 40th birthday party for Bonnie. They did this in three days, and it was an amazing event on the rooftop of the Four Seasons in Palo Alto. On the way home, Bonnie realized that she had forgotten one important thing that she had wanted to tell everyone. In true Bonnie fashion, as soon as she got home, she sat down to write a thank you to everyone, and this is part of that e-mail:

It occurred to me that my friendship with each of you, individually, is like a beautiful flower -- gorgeous, strong, full of life, "unique in all the world". And today I felt you all had gathered together in the most stunning bouquet. Thank you for sharing your beauty. All together. Eternal love and thanks, Bonnie

Bonnie brought out the best in all of us, and I know that I am a better person for having been lucky enough to have Bonnie as a part of my life. She will continue to be a part of my life, and I will keep her with me every day.

Eulogy by Katy Klinkenberg (friend of Bonnie)

Presented by Katy on 8/11/07...

I’m Katy Klinkenberg. Bonnie and I have been dear friends since we met at Dartmouth 20 years ago.

It’s a privilege to speak about Bonnie, about her beautiful life. I want to share a few of the things I love about her in the hopes of capturing a fraction of what she was to me and to all of us.

I love Bonnie’s moxie. Once, while visiting Seattle en route to a Starbucks meeting in Tokyo, realized that she’d forgotten her passport at home. So she called Howard Shultz to ask if she could get a ride to Japan with him in his private jet.

I love Bonnie’s thoughtfulness. She spent her time in the hospital, right up to this week, making gifts for her friends and their children.

I love Bonnie’s style. She always had something beautiful to wear but often chose to look beautiful instead in sweats and a very white t-shirt.

I love Bonnie’s wildly varying talents, and that our art history major became an investment banker.

I love Bonnie’s sparkling personality. She once engaged Arnold Schwartzenagger in conversation at a benefit event so that she could tell him, in her mischievous way, that I could do a good impression of him (so I had to do it, and it wasn’t good at all, and she’s probably out there, still laughing about it).

I love Bonnie’s keen intellect. She liked to walk at a tortoise’s pace, but her mind moved at the speed of lightning.

I love Bonnie’s courage, for being so brave and graceful in her fight with leukemia. I am truly in awe of her ability to accept what came her way, and to be at peace.

Lastly, I love Bonnie’s total devotion to Devon and Isabel – and this is a quote from Devon a few days ago: “Mommy, you are the best mommy in the WHOLE world.”

Eulogy by Allison Lipnick Ghajar (Cousin)

Presented by Allison on 8/11/07...

I have always felt very lucky to have Bonnie as my cousin. She was much more than a cousin to me. She was a wonderful friend. For me, she was also like an older sister.

Bonnie loved getting the details, was incredibly strong, and was an amazing mother. She was never shy when it came to sharing her opinions or asking questions, something the women in our family certainly have in common. She always wanted to know what was going on in my life, where I was traveling, how my job was going, and get an update on the contents of my closet.

Over the years I benefited from her guidance and direction. When it came to Bonnie, she always knew how she liked things done. While helping take care of Isabel & Devon during my visits after Bonnie got sick, sometimes I would ask her questions about how to do something or where to go, just to give her the chance to give me a few instructions -- because I knew that would make her feel better.

Ever since I was a little girl I looked up to Bonnie. She was my beautiful older cousin who I thought was so cool. My early memories of visiting her in Bethesda remind me of how much she liked to have fun. When Bonnie was home from Dartmouth and I was not much older than Isabel, I remember her taking me to Rehoboth beach on a date with a very cute football player. For a seven year old this was truly an exciting experience.

Bonnie has always been a role model for me. She was a woman who excelled in everything she did – whether it was in school, in her career, or most importantly in motherhood. When she learned her leukemia returned in June, she went into true Bonnie mode – being the ultimate planner. She was determined to make as many preparations for Mike and the girls as she possibly could given the circumstances.

Bonnie’s strength will continue to be a source of strength for all of us. She was always ready to fight, and do whatever it took, all with grace, dignity and humor. Her ability to put a smile on her face even during difficult times showed what an incredible and special woman Bonnie was.

I hope I will someday be as wonderful of a mother as Bonnie has been – I know I will especially miss her guidance and advice when I have children of my own. Bonnie’s spirit will live on through everyone who loves her – especially through Isabel & Devon. Her love will always be with us.

Bonnie –
thank you for being you, an inspiration, a friend, a mentor.

We had many talks about the future, and I promise that I will always love Isabel & Devon and be in their lives, help them celebrate the highs and be there for the lows.

I will always remind them of what an incredible mom they had, and as you specifically asked, I will help to make sure your girls are raised Jewishly and fashionably.

We love you, we miss you, we wish you peace.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Flowers and Donations

There have been inquiries about sending flowers or donations in Bonnie's name. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to:

The Tonneson Fund for Ravine Lodge
Dartmouth Outing Club
c/0 Cornelia Purcell,6066 Development
Hanover, NH 03755

Bonnie's Memorial Service: Note From Mike


In keeping with my Bonnie's wishes to communicate only the core facts related to her final days, I am sending out this last brief message to friends and family.

Bon lost her battle with Leukemia and passed away at 8:45am this morning.

As predicted by the team at UCSF, her white blood cells did not recover to aid in the fight against the pneumonia. She passed away in her sleep with minimal pain and discomfort, with Aunt Hope and me by her side.

There will be a memorial service at the Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame, CA on this Sunday, August 12, at 2:30pm.

For more information as it becomes available, check back here.

Thank you all for your love and support.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Chemo Failed to Beat Back Leukemia

This is a message from Mike. It is with a very heavy heart, and with much reluctance that I write this. However, Bonnie, in typical lucid and calm fashion, requested that I post just the facts.

Wednesday, Aug 1, we got the results back from a Bone Marrow Biopsy. The chemo failed to suppress the Leukemia. The bone marrow sample was comprised of 100% Leukemia cells. In light of that, it is a virtual certainty that the white blood cells will not come back in sufficient numbers to bring Bonnie out of a neutropenic state or to mount any meaningful attack on the pneumonia in Bonnie's lungs. In the absence of those white blood cells, the pneumonia (which is a fungal type) will not likely subside, and will very likely only continue to advance.

The UCSF team estimates that Bonnie has 1 - 2 weeks to live. (It could be longer -- maybe as many as 4 weeks -- but, that is a much lower probability).

We are now focusing on managing the pain caused by the pneumonia, while also trying to maximize her remaining quality time (i.e. reasonable lucidity for Bonnie during our new schedule of daily visits from the girls). We considered having Bonnie come home; but, ultimately decided against that due to the difficulties of in-home management and administration of 1) pain medications, 2) the anti-fungal and other antibiotic medications, and 3) transfusions of red blood cells, platelets, and other IV solutions and meds.

Bonnie will remain at UCSF, 11th floor Long. She was just moved to a new room with a much better view of the SF Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

As in the recent past, to contact Bonnie via the UC email system, click here. Or, you can go to www.ucsfhealth.org/adult/contact/patient.html. You can also send a fax to (415) 353 1851 (just put Bonnie Tonneson: 11-Long on the fax).


Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday update on Bonnie from Cindy Lefkoff

Dear Gib,

It is Sunday, July 29, and I spoke with Bonnie this morning for an hour. She asked me to post this email on the blog so that people know what is going on. I know that when her Leukemia first returned at the end of May, she told Mike that she was afraid that this blog would end up chronicling her death. Of course, we all respect that wish, but at the same time she appreciates that everyone who cares for her so dearly wants to know what's going on. So here is what I know:

Bonnie's got a fungal lung infection infection which is a type of pneumonia. As you can imagine, this does not bode well, and it is also not unusual for someone in Bonnie's condition.

While this is horrible, Mike says that a fungal infection will not impede her white count from coming back. If the antifungal medicine can hold it at bay, and her immune system can kick in, her body may be able to fight this. This is a very big IF. (Gib's note: Bonnie is at Day 26 from beginning of chemo therapy and you typically expect white blood counts to return sometime between Day 21 and Day 30.)

No fever in several days now. This is a good thing. This may be the result of the super strong antifungal she's on.

They did a bronchoscopy and a CT scan Thursday afternoon, and they have not been able to figure out exactly what type of infection this is.

Bonnie's on and off of morphine & methodone (?!?!) (she's been on one or the other since Monday evening). She is in a great deal of pain right now from the pressure of the swelling in her lungs. I think that the painkillers are helping a bit, but as she said this morning, "These things make me so loopy, I sound like I'm drunk!" Still got her sense of humor.

Talking with her is quite tricky. She has moments of lucidity, and she has moments of pain, exhaustion and confusion. For the most part, I haven't talked to her in quite some time. Then, this morning, she called me and I couldn't get her off! I loved it, of course, but a lot of it I couldn't understand. Then, the Bonnie I know and love would start up again with detailed information of friends' names, travel schedules and job descriptions. She also went into detail as to the "family conference" she had with the girls yesterday. There is no question that she is fighting so hard, but that she is also realistic about the odds.

She has made it very clear that she does not want visitors at all. It's just too much for her. She's either in pain, out of it, asleep or holding out for a brief glimpse of the girls. She's also not taking any phone calls as I'm sure many of you have noticed. I just send text messages and emails now and then that say "I love you." Not sure it helps her, but in some weird way, it helps me. That said, I know that when she has these moments of clarity she loves to read these things. She has said that for the most part, it's just too painful to talk.

I hope that this helps all of you a little bit. At this point, I am praying for Bonnie to find some peace and not be in pain. I am not saying in any way that I am giving up hope, I am just saying that it tears me apart to know that my beloved Bonnie is suffering. Many of her relatives are on their way in to town right now, and Bonnie is looking forward to seeing all of them. She also spoke in detail today of her plans for their family trip later this summer. She wants to have "Camp Tonneson," and I can't wait to have that happen.

Much love to you all,

Cindy Lou Hoo
(aka Cindy Lefkoff)
Boulder, CO

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday July 28 10 a.m. update from Alicia

Hello there ....

Last night Bonnie called me... I hadn't heard from her in days...and i hadn't seen her since last Sunday. Anyway, she sounded great, wanted to talk...... I asked her if I could spend the night at the hospital with her and she said, "sure, if you want to...." I told her that if she was going to give me an in, I was going to be there.... so.... I asked again and she said come on up!

I arrived Friday night at 1030 and I was VERY pleasantly surprised by her spirit,beauty, grace, attitude... and most importantly, her lack of pain. Her pain had subsided a bit, thank God. She was lucid and coherent.....We talked for hours... I gave her a back massage and foot massage... she loves to be touched.... she was really amazing. It was so incredible to see her and I told her that i was going to be the envy of all her friends... cuz i got to see her. :) I told her how much everyone misses her and wants to see her. She barely remembers this past horrible week. The nurse that came in this morning (Saturday) had taken care of her Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday and couldn't believe it was the same person. She told me that earlier in the week Bonnie was suffering so much pain and having hallucinations, etc....

In any case, she is still pain...don't get me wrong. It just isn't as severe as it was. Her right arm is still numb... they think that something is pushing on a nerve... And she is short of breath, etc. Her one lung is completely infected... they STILL don't know what it is, so the Dr. came in this am and said that they are just going to keep treating it with anti-fungal, anti-biotics, etc..... they don't want to do a biopsy right now because of the risk of infection.

Lots of family is coming in today.. her uncle from Southern California is a pulmonary specialist and her aunt is an internist. Aunt Hope from Texas is coming in tomorrow... Sunday. The kids are visiting her today around noon... she is so excited to see them.

She loves loves loves getting text messages. So if any of you want to, text her.....

Let's keep praying for a miracle for our Bonnie... they need to clear those lungs and then she needs to get into remission... they don't know her white blood count yet. And.. she decided to hold off on the bone marrow biopsy for a bit....

Anyway, that is all I know.....

Love to you all..


Update on July 25 from Stacey Keare


Our family has been in the backcountry of Yosemite this week-- without phone and Internet access, but I find myself at a PC for the first time since Monday.

Here is an update from Stacey Keare from Wednesday:

Hi Gib . . It's Stacey Keare, Bonnie's friend from High School. I went to see Bonnie yesterday and ran into Mike in the hall as well. Don't know if you know that she is fighting an increasingly bad fungal infection in her lungs and is scheduled for a bronchoscopy today. She is in pain and is also worried about the danger of this being/turning into pneumonia. You may want to post something just to let people know that she has encountered a "curve ball" as she called it. This seemed to happen when she had her transplant but this one is particularly worrisome . . I think her friends/family would probably like to know. Thanks. Stacey

I've checked my various emails for updates and haven't seen any others. If you have seen Bonnie since Wednesday and want to share how she's doing, I'd appreciate it. Just send an email by clicking on the link in the right column.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bonnie, Isabel and Devon

at Isabel's 6th Bday, about three weeks ago:

Isabel's 6th Bday Cake...

Bonnie, Mike, Isabel and Devon...

(Blogger) Gib and his girls...

...Kelsey (11) and Britney (9):

Bonnie dancing at Isabel's bday...

Pretty clear why Kristen (my wife and physician) thought she looked to0 healthy to return to the hospital.

Bonnie, Isabel and Devon

At Isabel's 6th Birthday -- about three weeks ago.

Photos from Isabel's 6th birthday

These photos are from about three weeks ago -- just before Bonnie went into the hospital. To see the photos click here.

Update on Bonnie from Michelle Ebersman

Hi All,

Both Wednesday and Thursday evenings Bonnie called me just to chat. She was lucid and the conversations were almost like the good old days. Last night she mentioned that she had a slight fever but then moved on to other topics. I was planning to go see her tomorrow (Saturday) morning with some girlfriends and today I got a text that essentially said she was having a bad day, has a major infection, and asked if I minded postponing my visit. She also said she was too tired to talk today. A few hours later I received an email from Bonnie and she was on her way down for her second cat-scan of the day. This has been a pretty rotten day for her. Keep the faxes/UC emails coming in to her. They are an easy way for her to feel in touch with the outside world but she can read them at her leisure.


PS. from Gib: To contact Bonnie via the UC email system, click here. Or, you can go to www.ucsfhealth.org/adult/contact/patient.html. You can also send a fax to (415) 353 1851 (just put Bonnie Tonneson: 11-Long on the fax).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another way to contact Bonnie

You can do all your work online by clicking here. UCSF will print your message to Bonnie and hand-deliver it to her.

Leukemia in the age of Wikipedia

I don't think it was prevalent when I first started this blog two years ago, but for those who seek basic information about leukemia, Wikipedia is a handy reference. As a reminder, Bonnie has A.L.L. for which there is a pretty cogent definition in the Wikipedia entry. Click
here to read all about it.

The rumour mill (that would be me) is saying that Bonnie has a few friends (including Isabel, Devon and Michael) in her room today celebrating her 40th birthday so it's not too late to send best wishes via email or fax. Here is a handy link to send her an email.

Kristen saw her last night and said she looks good. Surgery to remove her appendicitis was the right call as she instantly felt and looked better. The appendicitis did put a halt to her chemo treatments. Today would be the day of maximum toxicity -- two weeks after she began chemo to get her back into remission -- and it's a good sign that she looks and feels pretty good. It's now a waiting game. In about ten days we'll see if the chemo has induced remission.

Kristen did spend a bit of time talking to the nurses on 11-Long and it turns out that Bonnie was the third case of acute appendicitis this year among leukemia patients so this scenario wasn't quite as unusual as either of us thought.

I picked up my daughter, Kelsey, at Michael's house last night. Kelsey (11) spends an hour each afternoon with Isabel (6) helping her to read. Saw Mike and he's definitely well-fed and well-supported. He and the girls were eating poached salmon with a fancy fish sauce. Many thanks to all in the community who are helping out with food, playdates, and good cheer.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy Bday Bonnie!

4 zero


How to fax Bonnie

Apparently, at the moment, faxes are a preferred way for Bonnie to receive well-wishes, so here is Bonnie's fax number: 415 353 1851.

I know with relative certainty, however, that Bonnie does read her email from time to time. Her email address is btonneson@yahoo.com, or you can click here to send her an email.

And for those who text, you can send Bonnie an SMS message to her cell (you need to know this on your own as I won't blog it here for fear of all the low-interest loan offers Bonnie will get). Despite the fact that Bonnie is now on the backside of 40, she is a relatively seasoned "texter." I got a text message from her on Friday, "let k kno that i gt appendicitis surg? n option?" (Kristen is my wife and one of Kristen's physicians.)

Appendix removed for Bonnie's 40th B-day

Here is an update on Bonnie from Katy Klinkenberg, a Dartmouth pal.

I just spent three days with Bonnie at UCSF Medical Center, and she once again amazed me. Upon arrival I expected to find her flat on her back but instead found her walking down the hall in her pretty orange PJ’s, towing her friend the pole. This was Thursday the 12th. Some of her energy had come back after a rough couple of days as her chemo course ended, and she was chatty and happy. She tired easily and felt weak, but her spirits were up. Friday was much the same and she was busy working on her projects from her hospital bed, getting things in order for Devon, Isabel, Mike and others.

On Saturday, though, things took a turn for the worse. She felt a growing pain in her right abdomen and, following a CT scan later that day, was found to have developed acute appendicitis. She was told it was a result of her chemo. The question at that point was, should she have her appendix removed and risk infection of the surgical site and/or bleeding, or try to control the appendicitis with heavy doses of antibiotics, with the potential that her appendix could burst? In the middle of all this, Devon and Isabel came for a visit, which Bonnie had very much been looking forward to. Her doctors went with the antibiotics option for less than 24 hours to see if she would improve. She did not, and today (her 40th birthday, no less) she had laporascopic surgery to remove her appendix. She was waking up when I talked to Mike this evening, and he said she was doing OK. He’d been there since Saturday afternoon.

Her biopsy scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled, since the purpose of it was to determine if she should continue chemo or not. Instead her doctors have decided that she will not have more chemo during this stay because of the toll it has taken on her. She’ll have a biopsy in 7-10 days, to determine if the leukemia has returned.

What you can do:

** Wish her happy birthday! Her 40th birthday was yesterday, Sunday the 15th. Bonnie would love to have faxes (we asked her this evening what medium she likes best). I saw how much she appreciates receiving messages from her friends and loved ones.

** Keep her in your thoughts and prayers. The next couple of weeks are critical ones for her going into remission.


Katy Klinkenberg, Bonnie’s friend from Dartmouth days

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Update on Bonnie from Michelle Ebersman

I spoke to Bonnie today and she sounded really good. She joked around and wanted news from "the outside world". It was the best I have heard her sound since she started her stay in the hospital. However, she said that starting tomorrow she is going to feel much worse and will continue to feel worse for 10 more days. She is going to start feeling the chemo- a delayed reaction- tomorrow. That is not to say that she hasn't been feeling it over the past week. They will do a biopsy on Day 15 ( I believe today is Day 9....Mike will confirm all of this I am sure) to see if there is still leukemia. If there is, and if her organs can tolerate it, they will start all over again with the chemo. If it is gone (pray, pray, pray for that), then they will nurse her back to stronger health and send her home. I hope this information is helpful to those that keep asking and will tide people over until Mike posts a blog.

Michelle Ebersman

Saturday, July 07, 2007

How to Help (from Bonnie's friends)

The Tonneson family is grateful for the support, concern, and care that friends, family, and the greater community have provided them during this time. It is clear that Bonnie has touched the lives of hundreds and hundreds of people; she is an incredibly special and strong person and so many of us have been changed for the better just by knowing her. With this in mind, it is our hope that this post will help facilitate all efforts to assist the Tonneson family over the coming months.

There are many ways that you can help the Tonnesons. This post has been prepared to facilitate your efforts to contribute. Please find an area that meets your time and talents and contact the appropriate facilitator.

Medical Updates and Information

Information on Bonnie's progress in the hospital can be found here. This blog will be updated periodically with information about Bonnie and how she is doing.

Please refer to this blog for the most up-to-date information on Bonnie's progress and, if possible, refrain from passing along information that you might hear from other sources. One of the most important things all of us can do at this time is to keep disinformation to a minimum, especially for the sake of the girls. What might be said on the phone, in a parking lot, or in a park might be overheard or misunderstood by children who play with the Tonneson girls. Unfortunately, there has already been an instance of this type of thing happening and we want to be sure that it does not happen while Bonnie is in the hospital.

Meals/Food Delivery

Meals for Bonnie's husband, Mike, and daughters Isabel (age 6) and Devon (age 4) are greatly appreciated and are being delivered every Tuesday and Thursday. Sign-ups are available by clicking here.

An alternative method used by the Tonnesons are the meals ready to cook at home or stow in the freezer available through the company "Sous Kitchen". If you'd like to give the Tonnesons a Sous Kitchen gift certificate, they can use it when they pick up ready-made meals. You can get one of any denomination by calling Sous Kitchen at 1-650-508-0800 or by clicking here(www.souskitchen.com). They will then email you a gift certificate code. When you get this email, forward it to Erin Crocker by clicking
here or by sending an email to: emcbride@alumni-gsb.stanford.edu. Erin will then keep track of all the codes and make sure they are used by the Tonnesons.

Donating Blood and Platelets

Bonnie needs many blood and platelet transfusions. She has type O+ blood. If you do have type O+ blood, you can make a DIRECTED DONATION of your blood to Bonnie. The procedure is simple and costs you nothing. However, you need to make the donation at the UCSF Blood Donor Center at the UCSF campus on Parnassus Ave in Cole Valley in SF. You can call the main number for directions and info: 415 353 1809. Their hours are 8:00a-7:00p weekdays, and 9:00a-4:00p Saturdays. There is no appointment necessary for whole blood. For platelets, you will need to donate whole blood first (no appointment), and then they will screen for a match with Bonnie, at which point you would schedule a subsequent platelet appointment. Once again, when donating, make sure to ask that you're giving a DIRECTED DONATION to Bonnie Tonneson. For more information on how to do this, please contact Devon Gold by clicking
here or sending an email to darrenanddevon@comcast.net.


It is incredibly important to Bonnie that the girls stay busy and in touch with their friends. If you would like to set up a playdate (on-going or otherwise) with your children and the Tonneson children, please contact Alicia Sanguinetti at aliciadelgrande@sbcglobal.net or by clicking
here to send an email directly.

Weekend Activities

If you would like to include the Tonneson girls (and Mike) in some of your weekend plans, please contact Kelly Bligh at kellyabligh@yahoo.com or click

Contacting Bonnie in the Hospital

Bonnie is a patient at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. She can receive snail mail and loves to hear from friends. The address at UCSF is:

Bonnie Tonneson
UCSF Hospital
505 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143.
(Please write "Patient Mail" in the lower right corner of the envelope.)

You can also write Bonnie a note through the hospital website and it will be delivered to Bonnie within one business day, Monday through Friday. The link is here

Letters, books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs are appreciated. Bonnie especially likes to read through cookbooks and other books that have short chapters. No flowers or food can be sent to her room.

Participate in a Prayer Circle

Kristin Donato and Mireille McKee are working together to create an ongoing prayer circle to support Bonnie. Details are not yet set, but if you are interested in participating, please contact Mireille McKee at director@littlewonders.org or by clicking here.

Write a Wish for Bonnie

Kristin Donato is also pulling together a "What I Love About Bonnie" book. Please take a minute to write out a favorite story or memory or thing that you love about Bonnie. Send those cards to 1145 Oxford Circle, Burlingame, CA 94010 so that Kristin can compile them in a book for Bonnie.

Donate to a Rummage Sale

Janae Corley writes: "Many of our neighbors are actively involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program to raise money to fight blood cancer. The Hacienda Neighborhood is coordinating a neighborhood garage sale on July 21st to further our goal of raising $10,000 for the society. There are three ways people can help:

1. If you live near The Carey School, join the garage sale. We will provide advertising and signage. You get to clean out the garage and support a great cause. At the end of the sale, you can forward us a check written out to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society which is 100% tax deductible.

2. Donate items to the sale. We will be happy to take donations of your previously loved treasures for the sale. In this case, we will not be able to provide a tax deductible receipt but we will be very thankful for your contributions. Donations can be dropped off on Friday, July 20th at 2013 La Salle Drive in San Mateo.

3. Make a donation to the society. Donations are always welcome! And of course, donations are tax deductible."

For more information, please contact Janae Corley at janae@iwipromotions.com or by clicking here.

For More Information about Leukemia

Please see the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's website located at www.leukemia.org or by clicking here.