Hello everyone my name is Ian Hartman. I am 27 years old, and I am engaged to my best friend Danielle Borden. We are happy with every day we get together and keep creating as many of those special memories we can. Unfortunately, with living my life 3 weeks at a time and hoping 1 of those weeks I feel good enough, I rarely have the strength to go out on adventures with the ones I love. When I'm stuck at home, I have a very lovable dog and two cute cats.
My message is urgent. I was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma in August of 2016. It has been a long 15 month battle with cancer, and unfortunately it’s a battle I am going to have continue fighting by undergoing 5 days of chemotherapy every 3 weeks for the rest of my life! Because of this regimen and its side effects, I have not been able to work since my diagnosis back in August of 2016!
With my age, my disability pay would be hard for someone that wasn’t a full time cancer patient to survive on, and with my situation it’s a drop in the bucket when my monthly insurance premium costs me 2/3 of what I receive for disability. My fiancé had to stop working to take care of me because of how hard the chemo regimen was on me. I needed someone to do everything because all I had the energy to do was sit on the couch and run to the bathroom when the nausea would set in. We have exhausted all of our savings just trying to live our lives and pay for me to have cancer. It's tough. Unfortunately, we are just about tapped out and still have everything to pay from all my medical bills to my ridiculously high insurance premium and the living and travel expenses. Any donations given to me will help me live and keep paying to fight cancer and to pay for my travel to chemotherapy and clinical trials to see if I can qualify for a chance of a cure or at least something that keep my cancer from spreading but not be as hard on me as the chemotherapy.
I long for a better quality of life. I would like to share with you my journey so that you understand Synovial Sarcoma and to how much your donation and sharing of this go fund me page will help me, and again, I want to express how grateful I am for any and all donations.
So my journey started out with a trip to the Emergency Room to be treated for what I thought was pneumonia. After a short talk with my ER doctor, I was to get some X-rays and then be on my way or so I thought. After the X-rays, the doctor came back to my room in the ER, and I was then told that I have cancer. The emotions and questions that overcame me immediately was that this is completely unacceptable. There is no way this was really happening. I’m 26 years old, and I have my whole life in front of me. The first words that came out of my mouth were, "What kind of cancer is it doctor?" Obviously he had no idea only going off of the X-rays, but he informed me I had a large mass in my right lung and that the lower part of that lung was filled with fluid probably from the mass. He stepped away to call some colleagues to discuss my case, and came back suggesting I transfer to Penn Medicine.
After that day (3 weeks to be exact), we had to wait to get the biopsy result. The amount of emotional stress that overcame me and the ones I love waiting to find out what type of cancer I had including what type of prognosis I was going to receive with that information it was almost unbearable. I found out that the mass in my chest was Synovial Sarcoma, Stage 4 - not a good prognosis. It was too large to attempt surgery for removal so instead I had surgery to have a port put in my chest and started chemotherapy right after that in hopes that if we act quick enough, and with good results from the chemo, I would be able to have a surgery in the future.
My original Sarcoma size was 13 mm! A little background on Sarcoma sizes is 5mm or less are normally removed with clean margins immediately and then treated chemotherapy, but unfortunately I didn’t have a good scenario going into my treatment. Luckily at least I caught it when I did. Moving forward a little bit, I have been in the care of my awesome oncology doctor and nurse practitioner who are part of a Sarcoma Board in Philadelphia that specializes in Sarcoma (an extremely rare cancer).
Synovial Sarcoma is one of the rarest sub forms where 1 to 3 people in a million are diagnosed. After going through 6 rounds of an extremely hard chemotherapy treatment that was both physically and emotionally draining, I don't know what I'd do if I did not have my fiancé by my side taking care of me and talking to me and just being my best friend. After some good scans along the way showing my Sarcoma shrinking, we began to become more and more hopeful that I can beat this thing and everything was going to be completely fine. It had been such an exhausting 5 months.
We were finally told it was time to be done chemo and talk to surgeons and a radiologist. I must say at this point we were all feeling really good to hear some good news about my Synovial Sarcoma shrinking enough to qualify for surgery and hopefully be cured of this cancer. So I rung that bell that they keep for patients to celebrate when you are done treatment, and I was hoping I would never be back.The day we met with the surgeon we were only met with bad news. Due to my cancer eating away a vein that supplied the blood to my right arm and half of my head, it was inoperable! My body saved my life and started running the blood through collateral veins across my chest and back. As a result of this, I am unable to receive any type of surgery to remove the cancer from my chest.
After finding out some of the worst news we could about my situation, we had almost lost hope. But we picked ourselves up and went to talk to a radiologist and my oncologist to see what options I had left. I started an extremely expensive Proton Radiation Treatment to try to kill the Sarcoma more, but unfortunately half way through this treatment it started growing in another spot in my lung and I was forced to go back to chemotherapy to try and keep the cancer contained from spreading to the rest of my body!
I went on to finish my last two chemo treatments of the most aggressive type for shrinking and overall effectiveness for this particular cancer. 8 of those treatments is my life time limit, but my doctor still had another plan with trying another chemo regimen that would add another hour and day to my chemotherapy treatment. If it worked, it would keep the cancer from spreading, and I could remain on it for years as long as it continues to be effective and my body is able to handle the drugs.
Since I am 27 years old, they feel confident my body will be able to handle a few years in hopes of new drug or clinical trial that could be a better chance at me getting my life back. I am undergoing my 15th chemotherapy treatment now as I write this in hopes that I have touched you with my story and that you can help in any way. It would mean so much to me. Any and all donations and shares of the page will help me so much and the sooner the better please. I don’t know where else to turn any more. We are trying our best to figure out how to make life work with all of this going on, but I need help to keep everything a float to keep being able to receive treatments and afford my medication and to keep a roof over our heads. I am doing everything I can to get back in the work force once I have the strength to do so, and with your help I can return my main focus of finding a way to beat this cancer and to keep living and try to enjoy whatever amount of time I am fortunate enough to have. Thank you all again for reading my story. I will continue to update every step of the way
- Gary Colello
- Rob Ice
- John Donker
- Maureen Grzyb
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