Vicki was born Victoria Lynn Sandy on June 21, 1974. She was the best birthday present her Mom ever received who was born on the same date in 1951. Born at Lake Forest Hospital in Lake Forest, Illinois. Vicki was brought home to begin her life with her Mom Joyce, Dad Alan and brother Ron. Her sister Stacy joined the family in 1977. She lived in a 3 bedroom ranch house in the town of Gurnee and subdivison of Grandwood Park. Grandwood Park was the type of place that was big enough to go off all day and explore but small enough that you could always be found when needed. It wasn't uncommon on weekends or during the summer for the kids to go off in the morning and not come back home until the street lights came on. A nice, safe place to grow up.
In 1989 Vicki started her freshman year of high school at Antioch Community High School in Antioch IL. Vicki was in the High School Marching band, playing the saxophone and what ever instrument they threw at her. She also started playing the sport of soccer. In Amazement Vicki was a pro at that too. Most days she would hitch a ride to school with her brother Ron, who was a senior. The only two requirements Ron put on her was that she go out and warm up the car first and when it was time to go she would have to push it backwards since his car had no reverse. In her Sophomore year at Antioch she made the varsity soccer team and played goalie. If band and soccer wasn't enough she also marched in color guard marching band. While doing all the outside activities she still obtained perfect grades and attendance.
"I remember my first day of high school my science teacher Mr. Michels came to me and asked if I was related to Vicki Sandy. I said yes she is my older sister. He asked do you have the same love for science as Vicki does. I knew at that point I was in big trouble because I knew that I could not even come close in being compared to Vicki."
At Antioch High School Vicki was always known as out going and for her extreme passion for knowledge. In 1992 Vicki graduated Antioch High School with a 4.0 GPA and the honor of being on the National Honor Society. Vicki's passion for knowledge and putting her education first was paying off. Her plans were to go straight to college and she knew that she wanted to make a difference in the world. Even when Vicki was little she always wanted to help the helpless so we were not surprised when she decided to go into the medical field. Vicki had an idea what field of medical she wanted but she could never settle she always looked and wanted more.
In 1993 Vicki started her freshman year at college at North Western University, in IL. That is when Vicki found her new found sisterhood and became a sorority sister with the sorority Chi Omega. Vicki loved and was honored to be a Chi Omega. She was always true to herself and still had her goal in her mind. She ignored the college party scene (Most of the time) and focused on her studies and making the most of the experience.
One memory I have while Vicki was at North Western was she was dating a guy who lived in a frat house and she noticed that there was a puppy that was not being treated as Vicki thought this puppy should be. So the next night Vicki and some of her sorority sisters went back to this frat house while no one was there and took the puppy that was chained up in the back yard, needless to say "Jake" the puppy lived a very long happy life with our brother.
Vicki's love for animals was just amazing. She wanted to help every animal she came across. Vicki's time at North Western was cut short when her dad suffered a stroke in December of 1993. Vicki's dad had lost all function to his right side so Vicki wanted to be close to home to help out and be there for her family.
Vicki applied at National Louis University and was accepted into the Radiation Therapy Program. She took pride in her school and continued to work hard at her education. During her years at National Louis University, she met a boy named Matthew LaCerba. They started dating and became serious very early on. On August 22, 1997 Vicki graduated from the Radiation Therapy Program. Vicki also received her Bachelor of Science from National Louis University on August 31, 1997. While Vicki was attending National Louis she also was getting her degree in Radiation to become a Radiation Therapist.
This wasn't the end for Vicki her drive to learn more and to do more. Vicki had her dreams of receiving her Master's degree. She was working for different Doctors throughout her college years getting as much experience as possible. Vicki had her eye on Finch University of Health Science at The Chicago Medical School. Of course, they just don't take anyone that applies. Here is a memory From Anita Fritzler Administrative Coordinator, Medical Radiation Physics Dept.
" I remember the first couple of times Vicki came into our Medical Radiation Physics office. Good thing Dr. Prasad, one of the medical physicists from Evanston Hospital, had written ahead as well as called, to give his recommendations for Vicki to be our student. My boss and I looked at each other, like “are you kidding?” Here sat a blonde version of Betty Boop!. All big, floofy blonde hair and BIG green eyes, and the total “Boop” voice, or Minnie Mouse, if you like. Seriously, my boss and I just looked at each other.
But we remembered that Dr. Prasad rarely refers people to us as students, so we respected his opinion and listened to Vicki. Oh, my goodness! Behind that sweet, blondie head, was a MONGO brain! Also, one of the most organized people ever to come our program’s way. Well, after Vicki left, my boss and I looked at each other again, but for a different reason – we were blown away! HOW could all of that knowledge, maturity, determination and organization come in such a cupcake package?!
June 2, 2000, Vicki was so proud she had received her Master of Science In Medical Radiation Physics From Finch University Of Health Science at The Chicago Medical School.
In 2001 Vicki and her fiancée Matthew moved to Waycross GA. Vicki's family had moved a couple years before to the Atlanta area. There she worked in her field again getting much needed experience. Through the year Vicki and Matthew started to plan their wedding and what a wonderful moment that was for Vicki. She was so excited to start her life with her fiance. Vicki and Matt set a date for October 26, 2002. Vicki and Matt started to look for houses closer to Vicki's family. They moved to a home in Peachtree City, Georgia while they continued to search for a home to buy. They eventually found a beautiful house in Sharpsburg Georgia to make their own. Vicki and Matt move into there home as newlyweds. Vicki started her new job at Institute Radiation Therapy in Riverdale GA. Vicki was doing radiation on their patients. This was a start but Vicki had a hard time with this position.
"I remember a conversation with Vicki one day Vicki called me crying from work. I asked her what was wrong. "She replied I need to do more." She said this is so hard, one of my patients came in for her radiation therapy and I said to this sweet elderly lady how I liked the smell of her perfume." This sweet lady's next appointment she came in. "She said here I would love for you to have this." Vicki said as she handed her a half bottle of perfume, this was not just a perfume this was a lady that was losing her battle with cancer this was the gift that made Vicki know that she needed to do more and save more lives.
Soon after Vicki and Matt were married they found out that Vicki was expecting a baby boy. Through Vicki's pregnancy she still was working at institute Radiation Therapy. On June 16, 2002 Vicki received her Dosimetrist Certication at The Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board (MDCB). Instead of just doing radiation on the patients she was able to make the plan treatments for the patients. She wanted to make sure the patients had the best chance in beating cancer.
On November 13, 2003 Vicki and Matt welcomed their new little bouncing baby boy, Anthony Michael LaCerba. Vicki was so excited to be a mom that Anthony was her world and she wanted nothing but the best for him. When Anthony was old enough Vicki selected the best-rated day care for him that taught him sign language and Spanish.
In 2005 Vicki started her new job at ROR. It was ideal for her as she was able to work from home while helping cancer patients at the same time. This was her dream, to be a mom, wife, and successful in her chosen field. From what I have been told, certain doctors would request that only Vicki would do their plans. She was ever the perfectionist and always put her focus in the details.
As time went on Vicki was asked to speak all over the country at seminars to teach others about different aspects of her field. Vicki felt so honored to be able to do this even though she started out being afraid of speaking in front of large groups. While Vicki was afraid you couldn't see her fear when she would get up on stage and speak, it was like she was just talking to you one on one.
In 2007 Vicki and her family decided to move back to Illinois. So they started to build their new home in Antioch. Vicki was so excited to be able to have such a beautiful home, but of course leaving her mom dad, brother and sister in Georgia was not easy for her. Soon after Vicki and her family moved in their new home they found out on their sixth anniversary they were expecting their second child. Vicki was so happy she said, " Now my family will be complete."
On May 11, 2008 Vicki called her sister Stacy and said she wasn't feeling well. She said her bones were aching and her gums were swelling. "Of course I told her your pregnant, so suck it up... Well I was about to eat those words..." Stacy said.
On May 13, 2008 Vicki was admitted to Evanston Hospital due to pain in her side. Vicki thought she was going into labor even though the baby was only in his seventh month of gestation. A battery of tests were done and the unthinkable was found, Accute Myloid Leukemia known as AML. It seemed ironic to those of us around Vicki that she spent her entire career helping others fight cancer only to have this horrible plague attack her as well, as if in retribution. Her white blood cells were built up in her spleen. They needed to get her baby out as soon as possible so they can start chemotherapy on Vicki. Vicki was not stable enough so the doctors did what they needed to do to be able for Vicki to give birth to her baby boy.
On May 15, 2008 Alexander Matthew LaCerba was the first baby born in the ICU of Evenston Hospital. He was 4 lbs and 17 inches long. Alexander was as healthy as a premiee can be. Soon after Alex was born the doctors started their treatment on Vicki. This was hard on Vicki for her to be away from not just one of her sons but now both. Vicki was able to visit Alex in NICU. The highlight of her day was to be able to give Alex his feeding. What was so hard for Vicki is when Alex was able to go home four weeks later and she wasn't able to bring him into his home. Vicki was able to go home a few weeks later. She continued to have chemo treatments and every month and she was in and out of the hospital. After a months of battling with her cancer she finally found out she was in remission. She was so excited, but the doctors said that she still need to go under bone morrow transplant. It isn't if this cancer comes back it's when it comes back. On the search for bone morrow donors. Vicki's brother and sister were tested and unfortunately were not a match.
In September of 2008 Vicki found out her cancer was back. The search for a bone morrow donor was still going strong. Finally in October 2008 they found a 55 year old man that was a nine out of ten match. It was the best they could find do to the time limitations they had. Vicki was getting sicker by the day. Her bones ached, she couldn't eat and she was miserable. They set the date for the transplant for November 13, 2008. Her being sick though didn't stop her from still working when she could and in October Vicki joined the Leukima and Lyphoma Society in there March against cancer. Vicki was able to raise close to $4,000.00 for her cause. It was cold and rainy that day in down town Chicago but it didn't stop Vicki in bundling up her two kids up and walking for the HOPE and CURE. But on October 31, 2008 Vicki was put in the hospital due to high fever. With blood transplants and chemo they didn't want to take a chance. Vicki ended up with lung infections and found out she was allergic to any other blood type other then her own type O+. November 13, had passed and Vicki was not strong enough for the transplant.
On December 8, 2008 Vicki was able to go under her Bone Morrow Transplant. Vicki had most every side effect possible from the transplant. Vicki had sores all in her mouth down her throat and into her stomach. She could not eat or drink. She was so thankful that her mom came and stayed since she found out about her cancer. Her worries at least about her two boys being taken care of were at ease. Vicki's husband stood by her side night after night to watch her go through something that we all could not even consider. Unfortunately the December 8th transplant was not successful so they were forced to go through another transplant with the same donor on December 24, 2008.
Vicki’s brother Ron writes; “I remember surprising Vicki by flying down to see her two days before Christmas. She was in a room that overlooked downtown Chicago and Navy Pier. When she saw me her mouth dropped open and she asked; “What are you doing here? You should be home with your family.” I couldn’t help but think that with everything she was going through she was worried about me and my family.”
As the New Year came and went Vicki's body was getting a beating from the transplant. Graph-Veris Host disease is expected in transplants but they hope to see a little of it not a lot. In February of 2009, Vicki was put in ICU due to a tear in her heart. She also had problems occurring with her intestines. The doctors did test after test but could not find what the exact problem was. At the end of February I spoke to Vicki on the phone, she pleaded "I want to go home." I said Vicki you know if you go home what will happen, she said "No, I want to go home-home." At this point I didn't know what she meant.
On March 6, 2009 Vicki made her decision as was sent home with Hopis care. Our family was in so much pain to hear this. Vicki's family quickly got to her home in Antioch to be with our Vicki.
As I walked in Vicki's house the amount of people were there was so unbelievable. I knew my sister was special to me but I could now see she was so special to many others too. As her family, friends and love ones came to see her and pray that there would be a miracle for our Vicki.
On March 8, 2009 our Lord Called Vicki by her name and brought her home. Now I knew what she meant when she said that she was ready to go Home-Home. Vicki knew it was time for her to be with the Lord, even though she was leaving behind so much, her journey on Earth was completed. Vicki's life story isn't about her cancer, it's about her HOPE and LOVE that she gave to her family, friends and people she didn't even know.
May Vicki's Legacy go on forever. "HOPE"
The Broken Chain