To those of you who don’t know our father, he is perhaps one of the hardest working men you could ever meet. After immigrating to the US from Brazil 48 years ago, he has worked diligently to take care of his wife and six daughters and four grandchildren. In fact, he has worked two and even three jobs at a time to provide for his family. His beautiful smile and endless wit made for so many amazing memories and experiences for us all. He’s been active in the community and volunteered much of his time and resources in helping the homeless. He and my mom did this for over 20 years. Now we are asking for your help.
For the past two years our father knew something wasn’t quite right. After going to five doctors and seven dentists, he was finally diagnosed with stage four cancer.
They removed the lymph nodes in his neck and upper back, but to remove the cancer out of his sinuses, the doctors had to remove his pallet, cut out teeth and bone. A prosthesis is required for him to eat and speak normally. It will be designed to act as a pallet to cover the large hole that has been left from a third surgery he needed to take out more cancer and to support the partial skin graph that remains in his mouth. The insurance company claims that this is a cosmetic device and won’t cover it.
Our dad has lost so much weight as a result of not being able eat. Our mom said he had to make two more holes in his belt so he can keep his britches on. Even his protein shakes end up coming out of his nose because of the massive hole that the third surgery left. With chemotherapy and radiation coming up in the next two weeks, the doctors have suggested that they insert a feeding tube to help him get the nutrition he needs and to help him get his strength up.
On top of that, he’s frustrated. Because he’s missing a genuine pallet, he can’t speak properly. Excessive air comes through when he speaks, so the sound doesn’t come out. The missing teeth and bone prevent him from speaking in a normal fashion. Even worse, he no longer has the ability to smile. As you know, fighting any disease and especially cancer, requires smiling and laughter to fight through the many emotional and physical challenges that are part of the healing process. Getting the prosthetic will allow him to eat, talk and share the warm smile and mischievous grin that we love and that will help his psyche through this process.
Until this past month, our 76-year-old father was working full time, not because he wanted to, but because he had to. Being forced to retire and having his small savings going to medical bills certainly wasn’t the version of the golden years he and our mother envisioned.
The cost of the prosthetic is approximately $10,000. We are reaching out to our friends and even strangers to help them alleviate some of the expense so he can focus on getting better. Whether you know our dad personally or not, there are no words to describe how grateful we are for your assistance. No contribution to the cause is too small. Thank you for joining us in helping our family.
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- Mi Young Trepinski
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