Hi folks. My name is David Harris. I am 39 years old and I live in Bay City, Oregon. I need your help to save my ass…literally!
In April of 2018 I got some shocking news. I was diagnosed with stage 3 Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Squamous Cells form the surface of the skin lining of hollow organs in our bodies, and they line the respiratory and digestive tracts. This kind of cancer is relatively common, but its occurrence in the cells of the anus is incredibly rare. So rare that some have suggested I ought to play the lottery. While the thought of winning the big one is appealing, I think the chances of being diagnosed with anal cancer are even greater, at least in my experience. In addition to my backside, the doctors have identified the spread to surrounding lymph nodes, and are concerned it may have spread to my lungs, but it is too early to tell.
The treatment for the cancer involves the use of high doses of precisely directed radiation, in combination with intense doses of chemotherapy. This treatment is recommended so as to not disturb the incredibly important sphincter muscle. The prognosis for eliminating the cancer is pretty good, but I’m hoping everyone out there will cross their fingers and their toes for me!
I can really use your help in beating this thing! First, your finger and toe crossing, praying, well wishing, and good vibe sending mean so much to me said or unsaid, so please send it in droves. Second, I need your help tackling the enormous financial burden that is all too common in facing major illness. My mounting medical bills include diagnostic testing, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and the slew of medications designed to treat side effects and enhance the effectiveness of treatment. It would also be very helpful, if I can afford it, to take advantage of natural herbal remedies and spiritual guidance, because I believe the earth contains the keys to lasting health, and a strong spirit makes for a resilient body. Finally, given my line of work, I am a paycheck to paycheck person, so I could really use assistance with the daily responsibilities of covering some rent, bills, and any lost wages so I can focus on this challenge and get back on my feet again.
So why should you save my ass? Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that, and sometimes I think I may have been dealt this for some karmic debt unpaid. But one thing I do know is I’m just like you, and we are equal. We come from the same place, are made of the same things, and will return to the same place when we go. I think we need to remember that.
So who am I and what do I do? Well I’m a person, who has known inside since I can remember, that I was destined for great purpose. I think this purpose is yet to be realized and that is why I must beat this and live long.
I’m thankful to my father for sharing nature with me, it has given me everything, and I am lucky to work on its behalf every day. I work for a non-profit that rehabilitates nature. My job is to raise money to execute projects that keep our mother earth whole, and as part of that I get to share my immense enthusiasm and passion for the natural world with people of all ages and walks of life. In my small community I am also a volunteer firefighter, an opportunity I never expected. It affords me the chance to be there for people and the things they love NOW when they need it most. Racing under the sirens, challenging myself physically, learning skills, and playing with the jaws-of-life is exciting and rewarding. I also volunteer at Bay City’s Art Center a non-profit dedicated to sharing the creative and therapeutic benefits of endless forms of artistic expression. And lastly, I spend most of my free time in the woods and on the water admiring animals, plants, and fungi, and with the woman in my life, my cat Sisquoc, my labby dog Belle, and my three chickens.
In my short time around cancer patients and the amazing people who are committed to help us persevere, I am utterly taken aback and forever inspired. Thank you, and know that I am a dedicated part of “our” team for the rest of my life. I’ll be seeing you on the front lines.
That’s it in an eggshell. If you’d like to share things we have in common I’d love to hear from you, and I’d be happy to share more details about my fight, if you wish. Also, if you can contribute and/or share this with others, please let me know who you are, and where I might be able to send you a thank you.
- Chris Bigalke
- Lenora Lawrence
- Lisa Phipps
- Derek Wiley
Organizer and beneficiary