My friend of many years, who has been here for so many of us, now needs our help.
2 1/2 years ago, just a couple of months after his 50th birthday, Tom was rushed to the hospital after falling to the floor in a pool of his own blood. He was diagnosed with a ulcerated cancerous tumor in his rectum. After visiting an oncologist, he decided to go the natural rout of healing, becoming a vegan, adding supplements to his diet and receiving acupuncture. After many months of naturopathic treatment, the tumor was not responding and it was decided that he would have to undergo, chemo, radiation, and surgery to remove the tumor. It looked like he might beat this until during a routine colonoscopy 6 months later, it was discovered the tumor had returned. His surgeon gave him no other options but to remove his colon and rectum to save his life.
[update: If you want to donate and don't have a credit card, go to PayPal and use Tom's account to donate. [email redacted] ]
I'd like to tell you about my best friend, so you’ll understand why I’m starting this GoFundMe page.
Sometimes people come into our lives and the bond and friendship we form changes us forever. The world is a better place because of Tom. He has touched many lives with his unlimited passion, his energy, and his crazy, funny wit. For me, Tom has become a powerful example of how to live.
We met at an open house 13 years ago. I sold him his first Colorado home. Later we collaborated on many remodels. Never have I seen him yell or lose control. His moral compass, patience, and ability to focus and work through issues is admirable.
Tom is a true-blue guy. He steadfastly shows up for his friends, family, his wife, and especially for his daughter. While on a trip to China, Tom asked his interpreter/guide to take him to her office. When she asked why, he couldn’t come up with an answer. He just felt the need to go there. When his guide and Tom arrived, Tom and Lucy (now his wife of 8 years) locked eyes with each other, and the rest is history. We never know why sometimes our intuition pushes us towards a path or activity, but I’m glad that Tom listened to his on that day…
Tom met Lucy’s daughter when Sichen was only 6 years old. She arrived from China wearing shoes that were three sizes too small for her little feet. The moment he realized that she was in pain, Tom picked her up and carried her through the airport and around Seattle on his shoulders until they could purchase new shoes. He says that, at that moment, he knew that this sweet child who spoke no English was meant to be his daughter. It is important to Tom that he teach her how to be the best human being possible. They have an iron-clad bond. Both are lucky to have each other. The world would be blessed if all of us had a parent like Tom has been to Sichen.
Over the years he has taught me so much. I am a better man for knowing Tom. I often ask myself in times of indecision… what would Tom do? I wonder how I became so fortunate to have such a magnificent friend. We talk throughout the day and there is never a lag in the conversation, always something interesting and inspiring to talk and laugh about. My daughter calls him “Google” Tom, because calling Tom for advice means he will surely have an answer, a process, or a product to do the job right. Because he cares, he often follows up with a link to a product or tool that he has suggested. I’ve known many, many general contractors; Tom is like an Idiot Savant :). It’s amazing how he just knows how to do any job the right way, and to code. I’ve called him the Martha Stewart (but he really is the Macgyver) of construction. It’s not hard for him, because he has a true photographic memory and is a genius with spaces and design. He’s built many custom homes.
Now for the rest of the story… After Tom found out about his cancer, he radically changed his life. He immediately became vegan, and started taking supplements totaling $600 per month. Never crying or complaining or acting fearful, he still felt the same fear that any of us would feel at such a time. His courage, fortitude, and humor have been inspirational to all who know him, including his doctors who enjoy visiting with Tom.
Tom and I have had many conversations about his experience with cancer. “Tom, be honest with me, how are you doing, you know me Tom, how are you really doing?” His responses have always been optimistic. I’ve also asked him, “Tom, how can you be so positive, never losing patience, and always staying focused with grace?” His response is always, “I have no other choice.” He believes no matter what, his attitude is stronger than any temporary situation.
After a long protocol of meditation, supplements and eating for health, we found out that the tumor had grown. Tom decided he would take the chemo and radiation. He found a surgeon that would attempt to cut the cancer away from the rectal muscle and also attempt to save him from an ostomy. For the next 3 months, Tom was told by the doctors that he was cancer free. However, his last visit showed that the cancer had come back with a vengeance. Now he is facing a radical intense surgery. This time he has no choice but to have the ostomy. With all that he has been through, he is still inspirational to be around. We laugh a lot, and he has accepted his new reality, even if it is with reservation.
The reason I’m calling on the community is because the last 3 years have decimated the family’s finances. There is no savings available to support Tom’s family through the surgery, the medical expenses and the recovery. I am at a point where I want to help him keep his home and put food on the table. There is an urgent need to supplement his wife’s income. Together we can help carry him for this next year while he heals so that he is able to return to his life.
It is with great urgency and humility that I ask you to consider making a contribution to this loving man, Tom, my best friend, who has already given so much to so many.
Thanks for reading Tom’s story!
- Jean Novak
- Frank Stedronsky
- Caroline Glidden
Organizer and beneficiary
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