Aggressive Brain Tumour

$56,216 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 446 people in 6 months
Created July 25, 2017
" I caught the Gord Downie, " is what Darrin keeps on saying. He has  always been a huge fan of music, he jokes if he had to catch a celebrity disease, he's glad to have the association with the famous Tragically Hip singer.

Darrin is the most incredible husband, father, son, brother, nephew, uncle & friend. This guy is so loved & just the best guy you could ever meet.  He still is solely concerned with everyone else, so he tries to make us laugh. His two biggest fears are for his family and others experiencing pain when they hear this tragic news. 

On July 22nd, 2017 our lives took a shocking and devastating turn. This was a day that should have been all about celebrating his son's 7th birthday. But instead he lay on a hospital stretcher with an agonizing headache & our worst fears were confirmed: Darrin has a massive brain tumour.  The next day, MRI confirmed Darrin has a massive, aggressive brain tumour, believed to be Glioblastoma-the same brain tumour lead singer Gordon Downie is afflicted with.  One week ago, he was smiling & loving his trip with his family to the dinosaur Museum.  Today, he is undergoing brain surgery. To say this is shocking is an understatement. It has been a horrifying few days for all of us, but even worse has been to see the pain in Darrin's eyes as he worries for his family. 

Darrin & his wife, Tammy are our heros.
They have a love that is authentic, deep & true. They are best friends.  They are quite easily the most wonderful couple we have ever known. Darrin & Tammy were already dealt a difficult set of cards. Nearly 12 years ago, they were over the moon excited to become parents.

When their precious daughter, Bella, was born they were shocked to learn she has a debilitating and extremely rare disease, Cornelia De Lange Syndrome. There is no cure. Bella cannot speak, bend her limbs, walk properly, communicate or eat. She survives solely on her feeding tube, which gives her nourishment a few times a day. Her feeds often leave her in agony. She requires around the clock care, provided by Darrin & Tammy. They are a team to keep Bella safe. Recently, they have also lost after school daycare for Bella & Darrin altered his work schedule to be off in time to be their childcare.  Darrin is so afraid, not all for himself, but for his family -how will his special needs daughter be looked after now? Bella's debilitating disability & associated costs require a two parent income. How will his little boy ever celebrate his birthday again,

remembering this tragic association?  And then all of the, "what ifs" that are so terrifying. 

Today, July 25th Darrin is undergoing brain surgery to remove as much of this mass as possible.  It is an extremely complicated and lengthly surgery, the risks are overwhelming.  The neurosurgical team is removing as much of the tumour as they safely can. Then we will learn the next stages of treatment. 

As as you can see, this is a tragic situation. Your funds will directly support Darrin's treatment, alleviate the financial burden of both parents being unable to work and assist with the ongoing family costs as well as Bella's  special care. Thank you so much for your support and for sharing this very important campaign. 

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Dear supporters of Darrin, Tammy, Isabella & Kellen,

It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we announce the passing of Darrin Yusishen of Kamloops, BC, on January 23, 2018, at 40 years of age.

Darrin was a family man; his family was the most important thing to him. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Darrin’s Go Fund Me Page to directly support his young family. Alternately, you could make a donation of your choice to a Hospice Home or to Brain Cancer Research.

We would like to take a special moment to thank every person who has supported Darrin and his family these past 6 months: Thank you for all of the message of love & kindness; thank you for the fundraisers & donations that helped support Darrin and his family through this difficult time; we thank Dr. Matanaj for his exceptional care & compassionate heart; we thank Dr. Thomasse for being the most incredible, supportive family doctor; we thank all of the amazing people working in ICU who treated us all like family, and we thank all other staff at RIH who did their best; we would like to thank all staff and volunteers at the Marjorie Willoughby Hospice Home-we cannot articulate with words everything you did for all of us. To everyone who supported each one of us individually & as a family, our hearts are filled with gratitude.

With love,
Darrin’s family.

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November 11 will be a day we won't soon forget. After only recently finishing his chemo and radiation treatment, Darrin had a grand mal seizure and was rushed to the hospital

He was intubated upon arrival and then put into a medically induced coma in an effort to stop the seizures and let his brain heal. The first several days were touch and go and we prayed for a miracle. We found our miracle in Dr Mantanaj, who told us that Darrin would wake up and that he could perform another surgery. This "good" news was accompanied with more bad though; the cancer was more aggressive than originally thought and had already grown to larger than before the first surgery. As Dr Mantanaj put it, it was a beast.

The next several days consisted of slowly reducing the sedatives Darrin was on so that he would wake up and make his choice about the surgery. There were improvements, with Darrin opening his eyes and moving his fingers and hand but the tumour growth was faster than the sedatives could wear off. On November 26 he became unresponsive and the next day an emergency surgery was booked.

At 7:30 that night he was taken to the OR for what would be another long, stressful night of waiting. At around 2:30am we were informed that the surgery had been successful, and without complications.

Since the surgery, Darrin has been recouping in the ICU. He woke up and finally had enough strength to have the ventilator removed (this being a risk in itself as it had been in over 14 days). He has slowly regained his voice and is gradually building strength in his right side. Darrin has showed a few signs of feeling in his left side and doctors are still hopeful that he will have movement in his leg. He still has two blood clots in his arm so he has been on blood thinners and they will watch for any bleeds in the brain.

Going forward we will take it day by day, and hope for no other setbacks. Darrin has been granted a day pass and his nurses have amazingly arranged transportation and a bed so that he can spend Christmas Day at home with his family. We are all looking forward to this time together at home. We are hopeful that he will be able to return back home eventually but the home care available will not be enough in his situation and we have been told private care will cost a small fortune. Your donations will go towards making this happen. Your donations will also be used to eventually purchase a wheelchair for Darrin which will be fit to him and be more comfortable for him to sit in.

Every minute of this ordeal, Darrin has been completely surrounded in love. Tammy has been such a calm, gentle source of grace, balancing her increasingly difficult roles as Mom & Wife. She has something to teach us all about facing trauma with her quiet strength. Darrin’s Mum & siblings have remained at his side; friends & extended family have been here to love & support in any way they can. We have all gained strength from our combined love for one another.

The past 6 weeks have been a stressful, and emotional roller coaster ride for Darrin and everyone involved but we are thankful for the prayers, well wishes and everything else everyone has done. From those that have brought us food and coffee at the hospital or brought meals to Tammy at home, to those that have arranged play dates, or taken the time to play with Kellen. To the nurses and doctors that have taken care of Darrin and his family in the ICU like he was their own family. You say it's your job but you go above and beyond and we don't have the words to express our gratitude.

What began as a prognosis of approximately 14-16 months has now been drastically reduced to a few months. He’s our fighter though, and he brings new meaning to the word brave, to the word fierce & to the word love. Please, send your love, your healing thoughts & prayers & support Darrin’s way.

Please remember to love your loved ones fiercely, truly & wholly. Every day is a gift.
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Today was Darrin's last radiation appointment in Kelowna! After 6 long weeks, Tammy and Darrin are back at home with Bella and Kellen. The doctors had said early on that they didn't know if his body would be able to take all of it, but being the fighter that he is, Darrin has made it through all 30 sessions like a trooper. He will have a month off, before starting a more aggressive treatment of chemo in December.

That being said, the radiation has caught up to him, and he spends a lot of his time sleeping. The past week he has also had several small seizures, which will become a more regular occurrence as time goes on. Darrin and Tammy also recently found out that he doesn't have the MGMT enzyme and unfortunately will not respond as well to the chemo as hoped but there will be no change to the treatment plan.

In other news, Darrin and Tammy have been able to use some of the money to do some needed updates to their house and to finish some renos they were in the middle of doing themselves when Darrin initially got sick during the summer. They were able to get their stairway finished and family donated the funds to purchase a stair lift which is used daily for Isabella and will be able to be used for Darrin in the coming months. There have also been several Lego sets purchased for Darrin. Anyone that knows Darrin knows that Lego is one of his favourite things, and he has found that building Lego helps calm him and helped pass the days in Kelowna.

A special thank you again to so many amazing people. Several local businesses have been so kind as to donate everything from their labour costs to help with the repairs, to a special set of sheets that will be more comfortable for Darrin. The family would also like to thank Kellen's soccer coaches and team for the fundraiser they organized to coincide with their season wrap up. Also, a special thank you to Jasmine Traub for organizing the fundraiser in Quesnel. We really wish we could thank everyone personally for the continued support and donations but know that you are all in all our thoughts.

One final note is that a coworker of Darrin's at BCLC, Jessica, has organized a dinner and dance to take place in Kamloops on November 18. Tickets are still available but are going fast and can be purchased by emailing Jessica at dinner4d@gmail.com. If you can't attend but would still like to help, they are still collecting donated items for the silent auction, door prizes etc. You can find more information at the Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/708537442666611??ti=ia or by emailing Jessica at the above email address.

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As the days go by we start to get complacent or numb until something brings it all back into focus.

Darrin started this journey inspired by Gord Downie and his fight against the same terrible disease. With Gord's passing last night, this will be an incredibly hard day for my brother and I ask you all to pray for him again.

I can only hope that Darrin will have as long and fulfilled final years as Gord Downie did - surrounded by those who love him and doing what he loves, even if it is building Lego
Our LEGO builds of the day
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$56,216 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 446 people in 6 months
Created July 25, 2017
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