Hello, everyone. For those who don't know us, my name is Lorenzo Irizarry. I'm originally from Puerto Rico and have been living with my wife, Arika Hashimoto (originally from Japan), here in Los Angeles, California, for the past 13 years. Thank you for taking the time to read about our story. 4 years ago, on February of 2016, we had one of the happiest moments in our life; our son, Alistair was born. We started on a new adventure as a family of 3 and were exited to see where it led us.
Fast forward to October of that year. Arika and I went to visit family and relax in Japan for a few weeks. A few days in, Arika went to get a massage at a local place her mother recommended where the lady tending to her noticed a lump above her left breast. On her recommendation, she went to get tested at a local hospital where she tested positive for stage 1 breast cancer.
Upon returning to LA, she went to her OBGYN to verify the results and they confirmed the diagnosis. She had surgery to remove the small tumor, went through chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. She was declared cancer free and went into observation that was set to last about 2 years. Upon her 3rd checkup, they discovered the cancer had metastasized (reached stage 4) and spread to her lungs and other areas in her torso. She was enrolled in immunotherapy and then was diagnosed with low thyroid that left her very weak. They treated her for the low thyroid levels and she felt better, but she then started developing water in the lung and suffered from a frozen shoulder. The pain from the shoulder was such that she couldn't sleep and pain killers were not working. She's been battling this latest complication since January of this year (2020).
The latest development is that she has not been able to eat well for these past few months and has lost over 20 lbs as a result. Her sodium levels dropped dangerously low and her breathing became much more difficult than before. We had to admit her to the hospital where they pumped 4 liters of liquid out of her lung and there's still more left. Her sodium levels are slowly being restored to normal levels, but she's on a ventilator to assist with her breathing. She is to undergo thoracic surgery to correct the chronic buildup of liquid in her lung this coming week.
The stress and burden of this developing situation has been building for a while. We're blessed with great friends and family who've been very supportive throughout all this and have somehow managed this far. That being said, her family is in Japan and mine is in Puerto Rico. We have wonderful friends here in Los Angeles willing to move mountains for us, but their help can only go so far. We're at a point where we (or should I say "I") have to swallow our pride and realize we have to ask for help. It is with this in mind that we're creating this fund to ask for your help.
If were lucky enough to gather the necessary funds we're asking for, we will be able to pay off the lingering debt from her previous treatments as well as ensure we can cover the accumulating costs for her current and future treatments and family needs. This includes day care for my son, Alistair, (which we cannot afford right now) especially for when she goes to get treatment or visit the doctor as children are not allowed in the cancer treatment center. There are also other costs (for supplements and treatments) that are only partially or not covered by insurance that this will help cover. We are always thinking of ways to help others dealing with cancer as well so, if we're blessed enough to go over the set goal, we'll take 10% of the total and pay it forward to another campaign in the hopes of helping another family facing a similar situation.
We're asking at least $10 per donation, but we appreciate any amount you're able to give. This is our fight to get Arika back out there and enjoy her day in the sun again. Help us make it a reality.
A thousand thanks and blessings to you all.
- Jorge De Jesus
- Ana Gonzalez
Fundraising team: Arika's Super Friends (3)
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