Mark is a loving husband, father, and Pap. He is 62 years old and spent most of his adult life as a Mechanical Engineer. He also served in the army for 4 years in his early 20's. We have lived in Pittsburgh, PA for 25+ years in a home that was built entirely by our dad and other family members. He has always been there for us for anything and everything and now he needs our help.
Mark was diagnosed with Stage 4 Carcinoid Cancer in February of 2016. Carcinoid Cancer is rare and usually slow growing. However since it grows so slow it can go unnoticed for a very long time. So by the time it is found, it is usually in the aggressive state and has spread to other areas of the body from where it originally started. He was immediately scheduled for surgery to remove tumors from numerous areas that took place one week after the first diagnosis.
Since his first surgery, he has had multiple surgeries in attempt to remove as much of the cancer as they possibly could. These surgeries included removing part of his liver, small intestine, appendix, gallbladder, and the removal of a large tumor in his colon. Although these surgeries were successful at the time, the cancer is continuing to spread and grow in new areas.
The doctors have tried numerous Chemotherapy pills but did not show any improvement in slowing down the growth. Chemotherapy has never truly been proven to work on this rare type of cancer, but in hopes that something could improve the doctors tried it anyways. After months of trying different strengths and types, my dad was taken off of any chemo that he was currently taking.
After the major surgeries and unsuccessful chemotherapy, we moved on to a different procedure, the TACE procedure. These were "seeds" that were implanted in a main artery that would travel to the tumor and cut off the blood supply. This procedure was done a few times and did show some improvement, but this could only focus on the liver area, he needed something more.
The cancer has continued to grow and has now made eating every day food a difficult task. If too much food is eaten, then he has stomach issues and severe abdominal pain. The solution to this is to be on a liquid/soft food diet, but doesn't give him the sufficient amount of nutrients that he needs for everyday activities. He now receives a nutrition bag through a pic-line every night for 8 hours that provides him with what his diet is lacking.
Right now there is only one procedure that he has not tried that the doctors believe will help reduce the size of the tumors and hopefully kill some of them off. This procedure is called Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Treatment (PRRT). It is a very expensive procedure and hard to find. He needs to have this done as soon as possible so that he can hopefully return back to eating real food and not have so much abdominal pain.
This procedure has been used for 20+ years in Europe and has shown significant improvement in the patients. However, it has not been approved by the FDA here in the United States. So the only way Mark would be able to receive this right now is in Houston, Texas on a trial basis. Texas is one of the states that has signed the Right To Try Act, this allows doctors to provide patients with medicine that has not yet been approved by the FDA. The procedure has to be paid out of pocket by us before the medicine can even be ordered. It is very costly and he may need up to 4 procedures each costing 10,000. I created this to help raise the money for my dad's medical procedure that will need to be done 4 times over several months. Our goal for this page is to get at least enough money for the first two procedures in Houston, Texas. I will be putting the money raised into an account and all of it will go towards each procedure that my dad needs. We are in the process of planning other fundraisers as well in our community. We will update the page as these are planned with all the details.
We never thought that something like this could happen to our family. But unfortunately we are running out of options and need your help. The money that is raised would go directly to pay for the medicine and cost of traveling to Houston, Texas. Any donation is greatly appreciated from the bottom of our hearts, we sincerely thank you.
The Lea Family
DonationsSee top donations
- Yanira Ogrodnik
- Kathleen Prendergast
- Bryan Luda
- Philip Suppa
- Janice Hursen
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more