Expectant Father Facing Cancer

$5,000 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 104 people in 2 months
Created March 12, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Michael Paul Schaffer
No one wants to hear the news that they have cancer. It never comes at the "right" time or under the "right" circumstances. That being said, I can think of few worse times to hear those awful words, than when your wife is 8 months pregnant with your first child and you've just begun to start your young family. That is what my brother and his wife heard last Friday when they were informed that he has a Choroidal Melanoma in his left eye. This is considered to be an aggressive cancer although thankfully it has been caught in stage 1. Quickly removing the cancer can result in a good long term outcome. Unfortunately the nearest treatment center for this type of cancer is in NYC, therefore my brother and his wife face travel expenses they hadn't anticipated, along with the potential cost of non-covered treatments.

Due to longstanding financial hardship, my brother has gone without health insurance since the age of 18 until recently at the age of 35. Thankfully, he finally has insurance and was able to catch the cancer before it became terminal. He needs urgent treatment, which most likely necessitates the removal of his left eye due to the size of the tumor and proximity to the optic nerve, because this cancer can rapidly become fatal. With the costs of starting a new family especially with a little girl on her way he's now left wondering how to cover the added expenses suddenly thrust upon him. I hope this GoFundMe campaign will help make this painful process a little less burdensome and ease some of the stress on his mind as he faces the removal of his eye and an uncertain future as a cancer victim. Every little bit helps especially everyone's thoughts and prayers.

Please help us spread the word and share this with your friends <3


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Hello again, thank you so much for all of the continued support we have received through-out this
whole campaign. Here's a quick update:

Yesterday was the 30-day check-up after the second brachytherapy surgery and it went very well.
They dilated my eyes and ran me through all of the tests they normally do to check my vision
and the size of the tumor using ultrasound imaging. It's very common for a tumor to be the same
size after only 30 days of treatment and in many cases the tumor looks bigger because of inflammation
but we we're shown images of before the treatment and images that were just taken that day.
The doctor said "It's remarkable." The tumor had not only reduced in height but also in diameter.
This is fantastic news, God has truly blessed me. The tumor is in regression after only 30 days.

I've been given a script to get a liver MRI in the next week and once again I'll go for another
liver MRI six months from now. It's quite common to see something out of the ordinary but very
rare for that thing to be related to eye cancer at this point. 65% of people will show some kind
of benign cyst or something similar so I've been told not to freak out if something shows up
on a liver MRI scan. There's statistically only a 2-3% chance of that thing being related to eye
cancer at this point.

We were given a private flight home thanks to Mitch and all of the people at Angel Flight North East.
I got to fly the plane for a few minutes and it was a unique and interesting experience.
Big shout out to these awesome guys and girls as they've been very helpful through-out this whole process.

I'll keep you guys posted with any new results.

We managed to reach our initial goal of $5,000 USD a few days ago and just wow. We didn't know what
to expect with this GoFundMe and didn't actually think we would get the entire amount we needed
but you continue to show how awesome this community is and we're extremely humbled and thankful.

Thank you all so very much. Stay awesome and if you would like to talk with us on the daily you can
join our discord server where we hang out and talk with the community daily: https://discord.gg/YcxySsj
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Thank you so much everyone for all of the fantastic support you continue to show us, here's a quick update:

Our little baby girl Lillian was born on April 26th at 7:17am. The labor and delivery went quickly and only lasted about 4 hours not including the 24 hours or so of contractions that ranged from 10 to 20 minutes. Around 3am on Friday April 26th the contractions went from 15 minutes apart to directly 2-3 minutes apart and we knew it was go time.

Fast forward to today, Sunday April 28th we've been discharged from the hospital and what a nerve wracking drive home from the hospital that was. Taking our baby home for the first time was both awesome and terrifying. She's such a good girl and we feel blessed. Lillian has a mild case of Jaundice which is very common for infants only a few days old and we are going to setup an appointment for Tuesday with the pediatrician as directed by the hospital. The best cure is to keep breast feeding and her body will pass it with no issues. Based on how she's been cluster feeding and pooping like a champion we don't see this as being an issue at all.

We'll be setting up appointments for vaccines and checking on mommies health over the next six weeks but we predict no real issues.

As for my cancer, we have an appointment in NYC in the middle of next month but it's a standard checkup and we should only be there a day or two. We're hoping for a quick up and back with no issues.

We couldn't have asked for a better turnout for this crazy roller coaster ride of events and we couldn't have done it without the help of God and amazing people like you who've been so supportive this whole time. Thank you again and big shout outs to everyone whose participated in the charity event on twitch.tv organized by Steel and Teal from Studio Blue.

Here's a few pictures of (in my completely biased opinion) the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.

We love you guys, thank you so much!
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We love you guys, thank you so very much. Here's a quick update:

I had my second surgery on Thursday and it went very well. I spoke with my anesthesiologist before the surgery and let her know that I have had post-op nausea the first time around and it was a miserable experience. She prescribed me a pre-op pill that prevents nausea and it worked like it was designed to. I woke up after the surgery and only felt mild discomfort. It was a night and day difference when compared to waking up from the first surgery. I also went about the day a little bit more informed in that I only drank small amounts of water and waited several hours to try to eat anything. On Thursday prior to leaving the hospital, and up until today I've felt very weak from having the surgeries and radiation treatment, but overall I've felt really good. Just more tired and weaker than average. I'm told this is normal and it'll take a couple of months to fully rebound.

On Friday we woke up at 5:00 am and went to the airport. We hopped on a flight leaving JFK airport in NYC to our home destination and it went well. We took a picture with a jetBlue employee as asked by our flight sponsors Angel Flight North East. I later sent that picture to them as requested. Thanks again AFNE for getting us to and from my cancer treatment, you guys are awesome and we love you!

Upon arriving home we immediately crashed and fell asleep for several hours and it felt so good to be home in our own bed again. The hardest part of this ordeal seems to be over and we thank God and all of you for being able to get through it.

The battle has been won but the war wages on. We have to go back to NYC for a one night visit a month from today. This is a regularly scheduled check-up appointment to make sure the eye is healing like it's supposed to. Three months after that I have to come back for a one or two night stay for another treatment. It's called photo-coagulation therapy. Basically they shoot the tumor with a laser beam to encourage the remission of the cancer, and to seal off leaking blood vessels that come from the tumor to avoid further retinal detachment. After this I'll have to get MRI and blood tests twice a year and a yearly chest x-ray. So there will be some more things we have to do, luckily many of them we can drive to a local hospital to do.

The future costs we expect to have are much smaller than this initial 16-day expedition, but there will be many times we have to travel to NYC to get treatment over the next few years. We'll probably take a bus for future appointment because hopefully Tea's pelvic symphysis disfunction will go away after she has our baby girl Lillian, which will let us travel and get around much easier than we have been able to this last month. (We rented a wheelchair and I pushed Tea around NYC for 16 days.)

Today I was able to remove my phantom of the opera mask(eye patch) and apply the first treatment of medicine to my eye. At first glance it was horrifying, but after cleaning it and trying as hard as I could to open it I managed to take a picture of it. This is what my eye looks like now, the first day of removing the eye patch bandage. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but it certainly is still a bit swollen and puffy.

I have to apply a medicine called Tobradex in my eye twice a day for a couple of weeks while it heals. My vision is pretty bad with the medicine on it. After this I should have about 50% of the field of vision in that eye as I did before the problems started. That 50% is and will continue to be blurry and for a few weeks. I'll have a slight double vision in that eye. After a year or so I was told to expect the vision to slowly deteriorate until I see nothing but a blurry mess in that eye. However my other option was to cut it out completely. So I feel like we've made the right choice and my doctors have done a brilliant job in executing the plan we decided on. Thank you everyone at MSK!

Now we wait for our little baby girl to make her debut which I'm relatively sure she's going to do any day now. We couldn't have hoped for a better outcome for this whole ordeal and it's only made possible by God and amazing people like yourself. From the depths of my soul thank you so very much! We love you! <3
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Thank you everyone who has continued to support us with well wishes, prayers and donations. We really appreciate it. Here's a brief update:

I went in for my first surgery on Monday, where they attached a radioactive plaque to the back of my left eye where the cancer is located and I've been in a hospital room since then. I'm not gunna sugar coat it, that first day was miserable. I couldn't eat or drink anything without feeling like I was going to be sick and every noise, sound and light irritated me. I slept through most of the day in and out of consciousness. The second day was much better and there was only a smaller amount of pain that I managed to deal with by taking tylenol. Now it's Wednesday which is the 3rd day of the radiation treatment and I'm feeling really good, well in comparison to the last couple of days. I still have this annoying feeling that there is a quarter in the back of my eye, because there basically is, however I've got used to how to turn my head to look at things. I had a little mishap with my depth perception yesterday where I spilled chicken noodle soup on my IV and on my gown, but other than that it's been pretty smooth.

Today I spoke with both of the Ocular Oncologists who I've been assigned, and they are both very nice and professional people. I feel blessed to be able to work with such a skilled team of doctors and professionals. They changed my eye patch and I was told a bit on how to take care of my eye in the future. I took a shower from the neck down today, trimmed my face beard and felt a bit more accomplished today when compared to yesterday and much different from the first day of my first surgery.

Tomorrow I'll go in for my second surgery where they'll remove the radioactive plaque from my left eye and watch me in the recovery room for a couple of hours. I expect to be released from the hospital tomorrow afternoon sometime where I'll make my way back to the place we're staying in Manhattan for the last night. Our flight will be the following day and everything seems to working out very well. I know the day of my next surgery (tomorrow) will be another awful day but I'll take the bad with the good. This whole thing is one step closer to being done with. The doctors have said that the cancer is nowhere but in the eye and this treatment has a 96% chance of killing the cancer as long as I show up to my follow-up treatments.

The follow-up treatments will be much less intensive. I'll basically go into a room and they sit me down and align my head in this thing where they'll shoot my eye with a precision laser beam to further burn and kill the surrounding edges of where the cancer is. This is a one-two punch that will ensure that this thing dies, and stops growing. This all happens periodically throughout the next few years. Every 3 months or so. My vision will be pretty messed up for a few weeks and I'll suffer some permanent vision loss, but it's a small price to pay. I'll actually get to keep some of the vision in my left eye thanks to the power of science. :)

Thank you so much for all of the amazing support we're getting. We love you guys and girls so very much.
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$5,000 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 104 people in 2 months
Created March 12, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Michael Paul Schaffer
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