In August 2018, David decided to go to a dermatologist to have a very suspicious mole checked out. The dermatologist expressed extreme concern over the mole (it had a rather strange shape and was very large) and took a biopsy to determine if it was melanoma or not. A week later he called for David to urgently come in to see him. He said that the biopsy confirmed that it was Melanoma, Breslow 2 and that he needed to move fast to have it removed. He then referred us to an Oncologist whom he had already talked to about David's case.
Upon visiting the Oncologist with the results of the biopsy, the doctor decided to do a physical exam to see if there was any other inflammation in David's organs and lymph nodes. To his surprise, he found nothing and decided that it would be better for David to do a CT scan to see if removing the nearby lymph nodes would be necessary. The results of the CT scan came back clean.... no inflammation in lymph nodes nor any internal organs. The Oncologist then arranged to have the mole removed and sent to pathology for further study.
On Sept 4, David went in to the hospital for the operation to remove the mole and surrounding margins. The mole and surrounding margins were then sent to pathology for further examination. On Sept 13, we officially received the results of the pathology which noted that the mole was Melanoma, Clark 3 and that it had not spread into the margins. This was great and wonderful news for us.
Based on the results of the pathology, the Oncologist determined David to be cancer free with 90% certainty. However, due to the location of the mole and David's family history with cancer, he was concerned over the possibility of cancer returning in the future. Thus, he has recommended 6 months of immunotherapy as a form of preventative care. This would require for David to get an injection each week for 26 weeks. The basic function of immunotherapy is that it gives a super charge to the immune system and trains it to spot cancerous cells in his body. Unlike Chemotherapy (which is another option), Immunotherapy has shown to continue providing benefits to the body long after the treatments have come to an end.
David has been serving as a missionary in Guatemala for over 15 years. For many years, we served with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Guatemala City training young people in their Discipleship Training Program. We also spent 4 years working in a very high risk area of Guatemala City helping street youth and children at risk. We are now currently serving with YWAM again in Antigua (www.ywamantigua.com) where we run the Discipleship Training School as well as the children's ministries on the YWAM base. We also have the blessing of having 3 amazing children whom we homeschool on a daily basis.
Our entire financial setup is "faith based" as we do not receive any kind of salary for the work we do. We depend entirely on the generosity of friends and family to cover our bills along with the various costs of running the ministries we have the privilege of being a part of. Because healthcare in Guatemala is relatively inexpensive, we also do not have any form of medical insurance. Thus, the new challenge of covering the costs of the immunotherapy and future CT scans as well as cost of living in the States (only place to get the treatment) is quite overwhelming for us.
The breakdown for the estimated expenses is as follows:
Anticipated out of pocket medical expenses $5000
Insurance $560/month - 1 year $6720
Costs already incurred $1400 (Already Raised before Fundraiser began)
Grand Total $13,210
Remaining Grand total $11720
We greatly appreciate any support that you may be able to offer us as we go through this challenging season. Though the total amount looks big, we know that our God is bigger!
We know that through it all God is good and will give us the strength to get through this. If you have any questions, please feel free to write us. Also, if you would like more information on our ministry in Guatemala, you can visit our website, www.djministries.net or visit our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DJMinistries/
David and Juli Voncannon
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