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Team Chris Flaker - Help Save A Life

$41,950 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 357 people in 20 months
Help for an amazing man, Chris Flaker

 Our family has begun a complicated journey that will require your help if you wish to contribute to the fight for Chris’ life. First, I want to share Chris’ story:

Chris’ Story

On November 9, 2017, Chris was diagnosed with Stage III Vocal Cord Cancer.  He is best friend & daddy to our eight year old son, Nicholas; a husband; a godfather to two amazing boys; a son; a brother; a nephew; an uncle; a cousin; a neighbor; a mentor; an athlete; a self-employed business owner (Landscape Design & Christmas lights), and a helper to so many friends and strangers. He is a young 55 years old. 

Chris has spent most of his life and career being in service to others.  He is often the first to lend a helping hand; a listening ear; or offer advice. He has passionately created beautiful yards, patios, subdivision entrances, & city centers with beautiful landscape designs throughout metro Detroit and has become friends with many of his past and current clients.  Due to his recent cancer diagnosis, Chris has had to stop working, which has been very difficult for him to accept, until he can be free of cancer and have the strength and stamina to return.

In 2016, Chris underwent three surgeries intended to be curative.  When each failed, he was rushed into radiation therapy which also failed.  Now, doctor’s are recommending a complete laryngectomy as the next curative effort; however, they later add he may need chemotherapy if there still is evidence of cancer.  The recovery from this major, life-changing surgery is enormous with no guarantee.  Chris has an opportunity to receive a unique treatment plan that will reboot his system, engage his body’s natural killer cells, and to win the cancer battle without a life altering surgery and the potential for cancer to remain in his body. Unfortunately, insurance will not cover any aspect of this treatment and it is very expensive.

As I have become the primary provider for our family as a result of Chris’ health, our situation has become more complicated as my job position was eliminated just before Thanksgiving and I have become unemployed. We are now a family with a complete loss of income.

We have had many friends, neighbors, & family ask how they may be able to offer us help through this difficult time in our family.  And, for those who know us, we have never been one to ask for help. And, for those who know Chris, he is truly a Servant Leader and is most often the first to offer a hand to help family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. At this moment in our lives, we must ask for help so that Chris has every chance available to him to beat this cancer.

How we can be a helper for Chris

Our family has come to the conclusion that immunotherapy is currently his best option for healing and survival.  The cost is extremely expensive and even more so now that both of us have become unemployed.  We are already worried about being able to cover our monthly expenses before considering his treatment costs and costly COBRA insurance premiums. We are requesting your financial help for treatment so that Chris can begin his potentially life saving treatments in January, 2018.  

Prayers and positive energy will only go so far.  Unfortunately, the medical treatment Chris needs is far out of our financial control and so much bigger than us, approximately $50,000USD.  And, we still need to cover our basic living expenses until I can return to work.

If you will help us on our difficult journey, Chris and I have set up this GoFundMe account.  We promise to keep you posted on Chris’ progress as we embark on each day, each week, & each month of his treatment and recovery.  Please keep saying prayers and keep our family in your thoughts.

With a grateful heart for your love and support,

Chris & Holly Flaker
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Our GoFundMe page has been a blessing to more than just our family! And, we have yet another update!!

Throughout the past year, we have heard from many of our followers that our family has been an inspiration, a resource, and a beacon of hope for their loved ones starting on their own difficult journey.

We have great news to share!!

Our family has just recently returned from Hope4Cancer in Tijuana - Baja California with the best possible news of 2019!!

NO CANCER!! NO circulating tumor cells in the body!!

What a difference one year can make. On January 22, 2018, Chris and I embarked on a journey to Mexico with hope that he could safely defeat cancer. We believed that Hope4Cancer was the best chance for healing! We chose to swim upstream when most felt he should be seeking mainstream treatment. The big three standard of care just didn't feel right to us!

Exactly one year later, on January 22, 2019, we again departed for Hope4Cancer in Mexico. However, this trip had a very different vibe. This year, Chris is full of energy; he is pain-free; he is eating well; he has gained back the 30 lost pounds; & he is stronger.

On the first day of evaluation, Chris completed lab work, urine tests, & an ultrasound of each organ; then, he consulted with his assigned doctor, and participated in a recall healing session. We were also fed extremely well, exchanged fond greetings with the H4C team, and began to quickly form relationships with new patients & companions. Later, Chris received a pick line where he would receive a sensitizer intravenously followed by a session in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber to prepare his body for the elective PDIS treatment (Photo Dynamic Infrared Sonography). What happens is the sensitizer will surround itself around any circulating tumor cells (these are the stubborn cancer stem cells that adapt and seek a new environment in the body...and are not eradicated by radiation or chemo; thus, becoming the culprits associated with metastasis). After patients have been prepped, the PDIS machine will locate the culprits and then performs up to three sweeps within 72 hours to weaken and/or kill the circulating cancer stem cells.

For Chris, there was no detection of any cancer cells!!

We fully enjoyed the remainder of our time at Hope4Cancer and Tijuana - Baja California by soaking up the sun & warmth as well as nourishing our bodies with fresh juice & healthy meals.

Now that we are home, Chris will continue to practice many of the home therapies he was introduced to you last year as part of his in-patient program and home program; he will also finish up his immunotherapy injections, and then plan to return for his next follow up in 3-4 months.

YES, CHRIS BEAT CANCER!

His body did the detailed work of healing with the guidance of a best in class Hope4Cancer Team, Dr Stephen Chang of HFH, unwavering faith, prayers from all around the world, your encouragement, your support, your generous donations of all kinds, and gifts from God.

Thank you, again, from the bottoms of our heart!!
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How did 2018 get by us so fast? Or did it?

2018 raced by like the blink of an eye yet at times we wondered if we would get through the year.

It was a year filled with physical pain, emotional uncertainty, & struggle; yet, also one with physical healing, hope, & conquer.

2018 was filled with fear yet we did our best to be fearless.

It was holding on tightly to our dreams while facing realities of those dreams fading away.

2018 was a period of asking “why us” and “how much more” while also pivotal to choose to maintain an attitude of gratitude.

It was moments of feeling alone yet greater moments of feeling a community of support wrapped around us.

2018 was money lost yet money gained.

It was two careers erased with two lost incomes that would be scantily replaced with unemployment, selling the many special things we had compiled, and active fundraising in order to raise $50K quickly.

Please continue to offer your support and prayers as Chris & his Doctor’s determine next steps and how to move forward for 2019. Two weeks from today, he will begin follow up testing with an evaluation to confirm that his body remains on a path of healing; that his home program is making a difference; and that is body remains free of any detectable cancer presence.

Avoiding fear! Keeping hope & faith!

Believing in 2019!
Better health! Living life! Feeling great!! Happy! Finding new careers! Stability!
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GoFundMe has been a blessing for our family thanks to so many friends, family, peers, clients, & donors we have never even met. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people coming together to make something that seemed impossible become possible.
1 in 3 GoFundMe campaigns are in the medical category. Many are stories of severe illness or tragedies that result in financial hardships for families to deal with when they should be solely focused on care & support for the patient. Beating cancer is a challenge both physically & financially. We know firsthand as we have easily spent over $80K for treatment, travel, home program supplies, supplements, specific nutrition, and more. Chris is still healing, back on his home treatment program, and scheduled for follow up evaluations & treatment in January, 2019 at Hope4Cancer. Our financial responsibility for continued evaluation & treatment continues and it is costly.

We are reminded that we could not have taken Chris to where he is on his healing journey today without the GoFundMe platform & the generous donations from each donor!! We are forever grateful!!

Patient-centric care in the medical world just isn't the same as patient-centric care from a patient's lens. You see, if care was patient centered, a patient would be given detailed options that include both benefits & risks with each and then be allowed to choose the treatment path they feel will serve them best. Much of those decisions are taken away from the patient due to clinical guidelines that physicians and healthcare organizations must follow precisely. Failing to do so will result in costly penalties up to and including loss of license. In the case of a cancer diagnosis, no matter where one goes for consultations in the US, there will only be three options, 1) surgery, 2) radiation, or 3) chemotherapy.

Did you know there are many more options to beat cancer but for you to pursue those you will have to do your own research and pay for it? Some physicians may be aware of other options; however, they are bound by the clinical guidelines and cannot discuss the alternatives with you because it puts them at risk of jeopardizing their credentials to practice medicine in the US.

When patients advocate for themselves, they also assume 100% financial responsibility for their treatments because insurance companies will not cover or reimburse the patient. Non-conventional treatments that are outside clinical guidelines will not be approved or covered.

Imagine being in the worst possible health feeling debilitating pain, no energy, poor sleep, losing weight, bleeding, vomiting, failing to thrive, losing hope, facing a poor chance of survival while having to deal with the financial hardship caused by loss income, rising cost of living expenses, and gigantic medical expenses that continue to appear in your mailbox.

When we were faced with the same, finding GoFundMe was invaluable. We hope that you may never need to use it! However, with the increasing rates of cancer diagnosis (and, look around to see how many hospitals are expanding and building singular cancer centers), it is likely you will know someone in this very situation - striving to heal while facing a financial hardship due to a serious medical situation or tragedy.

In spite of the misuse of GoFundMe by some individuals, there are countless other touching stories. You may just want to keep the idea of setting up a GoFundMe campaign in your toolbox whether for yourself, a family member, a friend, a co-worker, and even a stranger.

If you would like to continue to make a donation and help Chris further himself on his healing journey, your donation will help cover the costs of returning to Hope4Cancer for additional treatments to prevent the risk of metastasis and also the cost of expenses for his continued home treatment program.

Gratefully,
Chris & Holly Flaker

p.s. The attached photo was taken on Christmas Day! Chris has made such amazing progress in the past four months and is gaining energy, strength, mobility, and a clearer speaking voice as he continues to adapt to a new way of life.
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Hello Friends & Donors;

We have reflected and celebrating good news…
* In Chris’ words, he feels 2018 began for him in September when he began to feel well enough to do more than simply practice his home healing routine.
* A CT Scan indicating no detectable cancer cells.
* A 3-month follow up with his surgeon indicating the healing in his neck & throat is about 3-6 months ahead of where they would have anticipated at this point in time.
* Adding almost 30 pounds of healthy, lean muscle weight
* Increasing range of motion and strength, through prescribed physical therapy, that was lost due to the surgery.

Our fundraising efforts, and more importantly your generous donations, have truly helped Chris accelerate his path of healing. In fact, both his surgeon and the radiologist reinforced this post surgery. The alternative cancer treatments Chris is doing at Hope4Cancer has been a key driver for how well he has recovered from major surgery (total laryngectomy & total thyroidectomy), 22 days in ICU, 29 days on a feeding tube, regaining mobility & strength, and beginning to live life again!!

Cancer-free doesn’t mean treatment free!

The standard of care model (surgery, radiation, & chemotherapy) is a bandaid and does not address the root cause of the problem. Removal of a body part and/or blasting a generalized cancer with radiation & chemotherapy simply removes the detected cancer. It does not fix or solve the problem. And, in fact, it creates more problems for our body to address and repair itself.

Chris, unfortunately, has experienced both radiation treatment that was unsuccessful and damaging in 2016 (yet promoted as curative by the doctor he would later fire) and surgery (2018) to remove two important parts of his body that are essential for quality of life & vitality. He spent the first 8 months of 2018 with debilitating pain in which most of his days were in bed; holding his head trying to get through a meal; lying in a fetal position on the floor; & coughing up blood and parts of his larynx. More recently, the remaining months of 2018 are now focused on transition -
* becoming a neck breather
* developing a new way to communicate verbally
* Adapting to new ways of performing basic life skills
* showering differently
* mindful eating & sipping
* caring for a prosthesis & stoma
* and so many other things we take for granted.

What is next?
* Continued healing - for all of this year, it has been Chris’ primary focus, or as I refer to it as his job, to continue to make his health his current career which will continue to remain his focus into the new year. Chris had to suspend his Home Program due to the critical surgery in July. He has now resumed his home treatment program following his 3-month check up in November with his surgeon.
* Getting on our feet again - Wow, 2018 has presented multiple major life changes all at once (Chris’ diagnosis, Loss of Chris’ father, both of us becoming unemployed, a tough decision to sell our dream home & move into an apartment so we can pay for treatments; Chris’ major surgery in July; & Holly’s mom being diagnosed with breast cancer in September). We are believing 2019 will be a breakthrough!!
* H4C follow up (12month program) - Chris was due to return to Tijuana in August but was unable to do so due to his surgery. He has one more follow up to schedule after the holidays before his program ends.
* Screen for CTCs - This is a big one that pertains to screening for Cancer Tumor Cells that escape the primary tumor and circulate in the bloodstream. These are almost undetectable in traditional tests in our standard of care model. We consulted with Dr Tony at Hope4Cancer and this is the next step for Chris post surgery… to screen for CTC’s and, if detected, treat. It is an additional cost of $5K. And, expansive hormone testing due to the loss of his thyroid. It is $800.
* Financial Stress impacts healing - A study reveals that 62 percent of cancer patients report being in debt due to their treatment; 55% accrue at least $10K in debt; 3% file for bankruptcy.
* Medicaid - Denials - I have spent hours and hours on the phone fighting for coverage of medical supplies. In the interim, we have had to purchase Chris’ medical supplies out of pocket while the Insurance Provider and Suppliers reach an agreement…5 months later. In fact, our Insurance would not cover the cost of his Feeding Tube Formula which he relied on exclusively for 29 days and then continued as he transitioned to eating real food again.
* Cost of Supplements & Alternative Therapies that have supported Chris’ body throughout 2018 and Insurance will not cover.

We are in need of raising $5000 dollars for Chris’ PDIS treatment and $800 for Hormone Testing. If you can offer a donation, you will help Chris receive this next step of treatment.

Chris and I want to thank you for your prayers, your inquiries, and the many ways you offered your help.

Blessings to all!!

Chris & Holly Flaker
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$41,950 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 357 people in 20 months
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