David's story on ABC 2 News, WMAR in Baltimore: http://shar.es/U9qu3
In 2009, Corporal David Chirinos deployed for Kuwait with 14,500 Marines from Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to make America proud. But on the day he was airlifted from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, he left behind his comrades in the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and the first combat mission to Afghanistan, to fight a wholly different battle.
He was fifty pounds lighter than when he arrived ten months earlier, and the worsening condition that left him bleeding, vomiting, and in agonizing pain, could no longer be dismissed as Chron's or ulcerative colitis. He could not even lift himself.
It would be two more months before "colon cancer" entered the conversation. Stage 4. David was 22.
Radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, sepsis, cardiac arrest, more surgery-- followed. And that was just the first round. David didn't come out of Bethesda Naval Medical Center for five months. When he did, he married the love of his life, Sara, shortly before they learned the cancer had returned, metastasizing to his sternum, liver and lungs. They abandoned the home they had built near Camp LeJeune and returned to Bethesda for treatment.
David now has a colostomy and is currently in his third fight against cancer. He is undergoing chemo, and more often than not, hospitalized for pain management. At 27, he retired from his beloved Marine Corp, and his wife has had to take an extended leave -without pay- from her job to care for him full time. It's hard enough to be in your 20s, just starting out, but David and Sara are confronting far more dire challenges than most. And the bills don't stop coming.
A bull roast was held in support of David, January 11th, but the overhead for that effort was huge. Nonetheless, every bit of help, the kindness, and compassion of others, was critically important to motivating him in his fight. David Chirinos is gentle heart. Cancer has taken his service, his potential for fatherhood, his ability to work, and the quality of his life. He never asks why he's been put on this traumatic journey, and he never feels sorry for himself. He's fighting it in the spirit of the Marine he is. Even the slightest show of support is deeply appreciated and I give you my heartfelt thanks. Thank you for reading his story.