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Help Corey Defeat Cancer!

$11,730 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 156 people in 5 months
Created December 19, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Corey Drayton

Our delightful Corey Drayton has been diagnosed with Stage IV Adenocarcinoma. He needs your help. 

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On 12/14 Portland-based cinematographer, Corey Drayton was officially diagnosed with Stage IV Adenocarcinoma. This is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that demands equally aggressive treatment of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Help Corey fight this cancer!

Few of us are strangers to exorbitant healthcare costs. Beyond surgeries and medicine, there are also day to day costs, such as rent and bills. Corey will be unable to work for at least 6 months while undergoing his cancer treatment. We asked The Great MaterialContinuum to pause that whole rent and groceries costing money thing, and it was all "nah."  What a jerk.

Treatment will begin right after Christmas, which means the hardest is yet to come. On 12/18 doctors surgically inserted a Chemo port in Corey's chest that will soon deliver 24/7 IV chemotherapy directly to his heart. Radiation will be administered 5 days a week, the dosage high and difficult. Corey will have to endure 6 weeks of this treatment for the first phase, before his care team can assess his progress in fighting the disease. Further chemo and radiation may be needed at that point, and it still may take 10 more weeks before the mass can be surgically removed. This is no Street Fighter arcade game, folks. Corey is one tough fellow, and he's ready to TKO cancer with the "Hadouken smash!"

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Nothing could have prepared us for the new reality we're facing. At 36 years old, it's the last thing we would have expected. We want to focus on Corey's healing and comfort, and not worry about how to pay the bills. Your donations will help to carry the weight of this tremendous financial endeavor so we are able to do so. 

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Help us reach our goal! We truly appreciate any support you can offer, as well as sharing this link so Corey's loved ones far and wide can contribute during this difficult time.


As Corey always says, "Cheers!"

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*GoFundme allows only 7500 characters per update. Who knew! This will be part 2 of 2. Please see my previous update for part 1.*

(Cont’d)

Ahead, is 18 weeks of more intense chemo (three cycles of which behind me so far) the objective being to continue to shrink the tumor as much as possible before it can be removed, and to prevent cancer cells -- freely riding around in my bloodstream -- from invading the rest of my body. In a downturn, the typical vector for my type of cancer would be for it to show up in my Liver next, then Lungs. Both are monitored closely. That’s where things stand. The chemo has been different this time around; much harder than before, as bad as that was. I’m hooked up every other weekend, and spend about five days feeling like the living dead: Fatigue, lightheadedness (I’ve had a few falls), neuropathy (a feeling of ants crawling around in my extremities 24/7) a bizarre sensitivity to cold -- I have to wear ski gloves to grab anything from the freezer and can forget about ice cream or cold drinks (#first-world problems). There are days when I’m too sick to talk to anyone. Then there’s the nausea... For my fellow D&D nerds out there, every time I eat, I make a saving throw/constitution check at d20 -12! On the upside, No neutropenia -- fingers crossed -- although I am on watch for it. I have lost some body hair, but miraculously (absurdly?) not a single strand on my head has gone AWOL yet. If it does, I’m ready for the Spider Jerusalem look.

What continues to occupy my thoughts, in the infusion ward, is the degree to which I was convinced my cancer was a result of poor health; that I’d somehow brought it upon myself. My oncologists reassure me of the wrongheadedness of that notion; it was my good health that enabled my body to respond positively to treatment. Granted, I should have acted sooner at the first sign that something was wrong. At the time I was working hard to keep my head above water, I didn’t feel I had the luxury of illness. Plus, I was strong enough to work what exiguous shoots I could get, drive a truck and do manual labor 30 hours a week to make ends meet, look after two dogs, cook, clean, maintain a relationship, and hold down a household. I never had any reason to believe that I was as badly anemic as I was, let alone had stage IV cancer.

March ended. I spent a week packing up the flat, moving out officially two days before another cycle of Chemo. I’m only now feeling rested. Equal to the difficulty of that undertaking, was leaving the neighbourhood. My neighbours were simply incredible; bringing fresh cooked meals, or cooking with me, joining me for dog walks, and simply passing the time. My industry contacts in the neighbourhood were tremendous; the gang over at Studio 3 sent along a care package which I’m still enjoying, ( see attached photo), Picture This have have my back as well as countless other colleagues and friends. I have felt incredibly fortunate to be supported by such great people, both locally and abroad; some of them complete strangers.

Going forward, I have a long cycle of chemo ahead. Some time after, I don’t know when as yet, major surgery. After that, a recovery period determined entirely by my body. Finally, further chemo. Hopefully, once I’ve traversed that uncertain terrain, I’ll be able to report that I’m cancer-free. For now all I can do is stay in the fight. Enjoying my dogs, and the dramatic Spring weather. Yesterday, I sat in my car for the first time in five months. I still can’t drive (doctor’s orders) but the time will come when I regain my life. I don’t know when I’ll be able to return to work; that’s a source of no small degree of anxiety. I’ve had to turn down quite a few shoots as the production season comes out of hibernation.Hopefully I’ll raise a little more of a cash reserve to recoup expenses from my unplanned move. So many of you donated before and I remain grateful for your support, so If you have a moment, I hope you’ll spread the word.

For the locals, I’ll continue to make an effort to get into town as much as I can and won’t be a stranger. For those of you in more distant places, I hope this update has been helpful, and I’ll be responding to each of you personally over the coming days. I’ve even considering setting up livestreams to better keep in touch. More on that as things develop.

That’s about all from the “Chemo Pass” for now. I’m wishing all of you a great week, and thanks again for checking on me.

-Corey
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*GoFundme allows only 7500 characters per update. Who knew! This will be part 1 of 2*

Greetings everyone,

Many of you have reached out over the past week to check in. I’ve been through the wringer since my last update, so if your thoughtful voicemails, texts, or emails went unanswered by me recently, I am sorry. I’m always grateful for your concern and your help. Those of you who’ve known me a long time know all too well, I can be a riddle wrapped in an enigma, and frustratingly stoic. Never keen on social media, as it can have a distorting effect on the perception of life’s events, I’ve endeavoured to draft an update, once or twice, but have found myself short of the right words to encompass all that has transpired. Developments of late have been mixed.

I am one quarter through my cancer treatment; six weeks of concurrent radiation and chemotherapy wrapped in mid-February, costing 55 lbs, most of my energy and no small amount of dignity. A few of you have asked me to describe my experience of being irradiated. The first two weeks are a cakewalk -- Five days a week I lay down for fifteen minutes in the linear collider (radiation machine). It may as well be Star Trek medicine; a few beeps, bleeps and clicks and done. Then week-Three sets in: Imagine the worst stomach flu you’ve ever had, add a touch of Giardia, and second-degree burns in the most intimate regions of your body. Anyone remember Sam Neill in the last two reels of Event Horizon? He and I now have more in common than just our birthday -- Paging Dr. Weir on line 1...

After crossing the finish line at the top of week-seven, I had three weeks (seven through nine) to recover from the effects of Chemo, tissue inflammation from radiation and the radiation burn itself. In regards to the latter, perhaps the weirdest thing is the delayed effect. Even after my last dose of radiation (54 Gy, for my fellow nerds) the burns worsened for three weeks before turning around in week-Ten. Even now, I’d say my skin is only 98% healed which I’m most definitely reminded of when the worst of the Chemo side-effects turn up -- but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The dogs and I had migrated out to stay with my parents, who live outside of Portland, so I’d have some on-hand support during my three-week recovery. About week-Nine my partner -- rather abruptly -- announced that she was moving out of our flat, effectively ending our nearly four-year long relationship. Week-Ten, around the top of March, saw the dogs and I back home, picking up the pieces. Despite this upset of my living situation -- Portland rents being a crime and my cancer situation preventing me from working -- I decided to enjoy March alone at the flat, pack up with minimal stress as chemo would allow, and move out in April.

March held two huge medical milestones: My first CT-Scan after six weeks of radiation and chemo, and the start of an 18-week long cycle of Chemo; this time at twice the dose with a cocktail of steroids, pre-meds, and a smorgasbord of thrilling side-effects. Everything hinged on the results of the CT-Scan. If the results showed counter-indications, or a middling response to treatment, the strategy would need to change. At the very least I’d be in for more radiation. The anxiety of waiting for the scan date, and its results was barely tolerable. Wracked with nightmares about the results, I don’t think I slept for a week.; the big fear being that if the Cancer had spread to a particular lymph node in my pelvis, my chances of beating this thing would be significantly reduced. By way of comparison, I felt a tremendous difference from where I had been when I was diagnosed in December. Whereas before my treatment I had been in so much pain I was practically inhaling painkillers just to make it through the day, I now felt none of the previous internal pain or discomfort. I could walk my dogs beyond the end of the block again. I could sit in my reading chair without a pillow to keep the pressure off my cancer site. As an empiricist, I had every reason to trust the six weeks of treatment had made a difference. I wasn’t disappointed. The results showed a complete reduction of the lymph nodes swarming my pelvis, zero evidence of cancer cells in other parts of my body, and most critically, a massive reduction of the tumor.

I’m winning.
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Those who have battled the cancer beast are referred to as “survivors,” but I’ve come to think of Cancer as a call to action. A diagnosis like mine is like being told you’re going to compete in a Decathlon that - even in your wildest dreams - you’ve never imagined pursuing, let alone prepared for.

I’ve been home nine days now. Little has changed. I shower, cook, make tea and look after my dogs. Yet everything has changed: I receive high doses of radiation daily. I’m attached to a portable pump sending chemotherapy cocktail directly into my heart 24/7. Through it all I reflect on the whirlwind events of the bygone Holiday season, where I’ve been, where I am, and I find here at the top of 2019 a curious absence of worry.

I have all of you to thank for that. Because of your contributions, your generosity, I’m not worrying about bills, obligations and the hornet's nest of responsibilities that makes up modern life. I can focus my energies on fighting this cancer.

That is a tremendous gift.

Each and every one of you gave me that gift. You helped me to clear my first and biggest hurdle - YOU rose to the occasion, spreading the word, donating, leaving messages of support and encouragement ensuring this GOFUNDME campaign was a success. You made a difference in my life that I will cherish and remain forever humbled by, and grateful for. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

Even now, many of you continue to reach out and ask “how can I help?” “What do you need?” You’ve done so much already and yet here you all are, still in the fight with me. Sarah and I wanted to find a way to coordinate all of the continued offers of support we’ve been getting. We’ve set up a website through a nonprofit called CaringBridge which helps families facing medical emergencies coordinate their support network. On our CaringBridge site we’ve set up a planner detailing ways you can help out during my ongoing treatment. It can be providing a meal, taking our dogs for a walk, or just hanging out and shooting the breeze with me in chemo.

Feel free to take a look: https://www.caringbridge.org/public/teamcoreyfightscancer

The generosity this community has shown is a testament to how much you recognize what a hurdle this could have been without your support. Thank you all again for everything you’ve done, and continue to do on my behalf. I’m lucky to have so many people in my corner.

- Corey
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Happy New Year, all! We’re pleased to share that COREY IS HOME! Thanks to how his outstanding community has shown support, we’ve also nearly reached our goal. Let’s drive it home and start 2019 off right!
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Posted by Corey Drayton
4 months ago ago
Those who have battled the cancer beast are referred to as “survivors,” but I’ve come to think of Cancer as a call to action. A diagnosis like mine is like being told you’re going to compete in a Decathlon that - even in your wildest dreams - you’ve never imagined pursuing, let alone prepared for.

I’ve been home nine days now. Little has changed. I shower, cook, make tea and look after my dogs. Yet everything has changed: I receive high doses of radiation daily. I’m attached to a portable pump sending chemotherapy cocktail directly into my heart 24/7. Through it all I reflect on the whirlwind events of the bygone Holiday season, where I’ve been, where I am, and I find here at the top of 2019 a curious absence of worry.

I have all of you to thank for that. Because of your contributions, your generosity, I’m not worrying about bills, obligations and the hornet's nest of responsibilities that makes up modern life. I can focus my energies on fighting this cancer.

That is a tremendous gift.

Each and every one of you gave me that gift. You helped me to clear my first and biggest hurdle - YOU rose to the occasion, spreading the word, donating, leaving messages of support and encouragement ensuring this GOFUNDME campaign was a success. You made a difference in my life that I will cherish and remain forever humbled by, and grateful for. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

Even now, many of you continue to reach out and ask “how can I help?” “What do you need?” You’ve done so much already and yet here you all are, still in the fight with me. Sarah and I wanted to find a way to coordinate all of the continued offers of support we’ve been getting. We’ve set up a website through a nonprofit called CaringBridge which helps families facing medical emergencies coordinate their support network. On our CaringBridge site we’ve set up a planner detailing ways you can help out during my ongoing treatment. It can be providing a meal, taking our dogs for a walk, or just hanging out and shooting the breeze with me in chemo.

Feel free to take a look: https://www.caringbridge.org/public/teamcoreyfightscancer

The generosity this community has shown is a testament to how much you recognize what a hurdle this could have been without your support. Thank you all again for everything you’ve done, and continue to do on my behalf. I’m lucky to have so many people in my corner.

- Corey
+ Read More
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$11,730 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 156 people in 5 months
Created December 19, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Corey Drayton
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