Shirts Off for David Byers!

"Shirts Off" for David Byers is our way of telling Dave we are ready to give the shirt off our backs! We care! We love you! We don't want you to worry about the expenses, but getting the best medical attention you need to fight this. 

As you know, Shannon and Dave are a great team. They support each other and have been there to help family, friends and strangers through many hard times, both emotionally and financially. If you have been witness to their generosity or on the receiving end, you know they are genuine and giving. 

After having some ear trouble which continued to bother him, Dave went in to get it checked out.  As his sister-in-law, I joked that he was just getting old and losing his hearing.  It was a complete surprise to all of us what followed. After multiple tests, ruling out what the doctor thought it might be, second opinions and more tests in Boston, Dave finally got the news that no one wants to hear.  Dave was diagnosed with Stage 3 nasopharyngeal cancer and would need both chemotherapy, radiation and services post treatment.  Treatment will be combined, for a total of 7 weeks. Dave will be receiving radiation treatment daily (weekdays) during this time which will take a toll on his body.  Treatment will start Oct 10th and go through the end of November. 

Shan and Dave have been processing this news with full emotion and know that they can not do this alone. It will take a dedicated team of doctors who will be able to give Dave the treatment he needs to beat this! After deliberating pros and cons, they have decided that they have confidence in Dana Farber in Boston to carry out this cancer treatment with the best possible outcome for Dave. His medical care is the most important thing, and the team in Boston are some of the worlds finest. Please pray that these doctors will be guided to do their very best work on and through Dave.

With the decision to get treatment in Boston comes a list of needs. Shan and Dave will be staying with my family and I for the first 2 or 3 weeks of treatment, commuting about an hour each way, every day to Boston. After that time, they want to be closer to Boston to save energy for treatments which will be getting tougher on Dave's body.  Having space away from my young kids will be important as well, so he is not exposed to any unnecessary sicknesses. 

Securing a spot in Boston to stay has been a challenge. Sometimes patients are able to get discounted or free housing during treatments, but these accommodations were full during this time. This puts an extra financial burden on Dave and Shan, given the enormity of the situation. It is with a humble heart and tears of hope that I ask you to open your hearts to lighten this burden for them at this time. Housing costs for a long term rental in Boston will be several thousand, not including higher food costs, extra fuel costs, medical expenses, in addition to their regular bills. I have opened this GoFundMe account because I know there are so many of you who want to help and would give the "Shirt Off Your Back" for Dave. He's one of the good guys! He's like my brother...the brother who never beat me up (you know it's true, Jay! ;). 

Shannon has been able to secure time off from her new job, after leaving the lab and her accrued time off.  She will not be getting paid during this time off, but her priority is to stay with Dave to support him every step of the way, as he did when she battled cancer.  ❤️

I would like to acknowledge the teams pulling together in Maine to support Dave and Shannon. The Bird Team, the Lawn Care Team, their church family, Jackson Lab,  co-workers, local community and friends who are ready to help. 

I will do my best to update this page. I am also just outside Worcester, MA and my house will be open for visitors or anyone who wants to come down to visit Dave and Shan. We have plenty of room about an hour from Boston. Please feel free to email me if you would like to come stay or would like to mail cards, send words of encouragement, or even fuel cards.

Thank you to everyone who has already started to pitch in and get Dave on the path to treatment. We are all pulling together to support him through this. ❤️ If you are also able to donate, we will be greatful. Go ahead. It's all "Shirts Off" for Dave! 

Sincerely, 
Dawn Marttila (sister-in-law to Dave)
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Organizer and beneficiary

Dawn Marttila 
Organizer
Leicester, MA
Shannon Byers 
Beneficiary
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