Below is his journey:
I'm Julie Boll, an Ojika family friend. When Ross Harrison (a friend of Ben's since childhood) and I learned that Ben was diagnosed with cancer, we felt compelled to help. Their struggle is real. The Ojika family would never ask for help, so we are doing it for them. Please help us ease their financial burden so they can concentrate on caring for Ben during this time.
(Every bit of your donation is sent to Ben's parents Michael and Precious Ojika's bank account--after GoFundMe takes out their 2.9% processessing fee. Michael and Precious have total control of the money that is donated. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO "tip" GFM WHEN MAKING YOUR DONATION--just change the tip amount to $0!)
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It was the summer before Ben Ojika's 5th year of school at Minnesota State - Mankato. He couldn’t breathe properly; his eyes were swollen and he felt weak—your basic cold symptoms. Now school was starting and Ben wasn't feeling any better. A virus? The flu? Upon the urging of his mother (Precious Ojika), he went to a general practitioner. After being referred to several clinics & doctors, he landed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and received the devastating news. Ben was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. Tumors had formed--one in his sinuses and one in a lymph node.
Even though Ben’s senior year had already started, he was forced to move home and begin treatment immediately. He began receiving 6 weeks of daily chemotherapy and radiation simultaneously at the Mayo Clinic through December. Ben and Precious lived in Rochester for the entire 6 weeks. Ben continues to receive chemo and will through at least the beginning of July, 2018. Thank God, the tumor has begun to shrink and the cancer in his lymph node appears to be gone! However, if the tumor in his sinuses is not completely gone by July, it is likely Ben will undergo surgery to remove it.
To Ben: Ben’s body has/is going through hell—he has lost a great deal of weight, has sores in his mouth and has extreme fatigue. He’s not able to attend school or work. He doesn't have the energy to be with friends and simply walking up steps causes shortness of breath. At one time, Ben was a muscular, athletic track star, a basketball and football player, and a social young man. Well, not anymore!
To his Family: Ben’s father (Michael Ojika) works in Oklahoma to provide for his family and carry their health insurance. He has very limited time to take off from work and come home. This causes Ben’s mother, Precious, to carry the bulk of the responsibility for physically caring for Ben. Precious attends every appointment and procedure—no matter how many days of work she has to miss. There are lots of trips to Rochester (Mayo Clinic), some visits for a week at a time. With every trip, there are unforeseen costs. Every appointment & procedure (labs, radiation, chemo, MRIs, PET scans) comes with a cost. The goal is to help offset their 2017 & 2018 Out of Pocket costs.
Come July 2018, they will have incurred well over $100,000 in Out of Pocket medical costs. However, it’s difficult to estimate the TOTAL COST of Ben’s treatment (ie, replacement of lost wages, travel, lodging, meals, meds, new clothes from weight loss, etc).
2 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
1) As you know, medical costs are astronomical and that is why we are asking for your help. First and foremost, Ben and his family need money for treatment costs. Their debt causes a great deal of stress and worries which we hope to alleviate.
2) Help get the word out about this campaign!
PLEASE SHARE this GOFUNDME link: https://www.gofundme.com/benojikasrace
(using FACEBOOK, TWITTER, EMAIL, etc--see top and bottom of this page) with:
**anyone who knows Ben and/or his family
**people in the community
**your church families
**your friends who have compassion for others
Whether it's prayer, reaching out to Precious, Michael and/or their children, sharing this campaign, or helping offset costs associated with Ben’s diagnosis…on behalf of the Ojika family, we thank you for any and all of the support received.
May God Bless You.
- Mary Calistro
- Jennifer Johnson
- Funmi Falade
- Lena Düsterhöft
Organizer and beneficiary
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