As you may know, my brother Brandon has been battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, for nearly two years. Unfortunately, he has faced setbacks, the latest of which has required he leave his home in Victoria, BC, for at least three months to receive cutting-edge treatment known as, “CAR-T immunotherapy” at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.
While the province of B.C. is funding the immunotherapy treatment, he will mostly be an outpatient in Seattle and must pay his own room and board, transportation, any costs billed by the US system not covered by the provincial funding, and have a caregiver at his side 24/7.
I believe words of encouragement and financial support will lift his spirits and help him through this round of treatment. I have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise CAD $12,000 for Brandon, and ask you consider making a donation.
Some background on Brandon’s battle: In late 2017 Brandon had very low energy, was often dizzy, light headed and short of breath. That progressed into severe back pain and soaking night sweats. By February 2018, after several trips to emergency rooms, many tests, scans and biopsies, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma. At only 38 years old, we were shocked. Shortly after his diagnosis he began six cycles of chemotherapy, delivered February through June 2018. At the end of the regiment, all tests showed he was in remission.
Then, in early October 2018 Brandon began to get a sore neck and shoulder; pain escalated over several weeks until he lost feeling in his torso and legs. After several physio and massage therapy sessions and emergency room visits he finally convinced a doctor to trigger an MRI, which showed tumors on his spinal cord. He subsequently received emergency radiation therapy to target and destroy the tumors and prevent permanent damage to his spinal cord.
Once complete, he underwent chemotherapy, this time on a more aggressive protocol, from mid-December 2018 through January 2019. This chemotherapy was performed as a workup to a stem cell transplant, for the purpose of getting his bone marrow to work properly. The transplant required he leave his home in Victoria to spend six weeks at Vancouver General Hospital, where he endured a barrage of dreadful tests, high dose chemotherapy, and near destruction of his immune system.
Brandon survived the transplant and made it home to his wife and kids. For the next three months he endured pretty horrible side effects, and due to a compromised immune system was largely unable to leave his house. But his blood counts were improving, immune system strengthening; he was starting to feel better and in mid-June he went in to his CT and PET scans with renewed enthusiasm that he was in remission. Unfortunately, the scans revealed more tumors – lymphoma had returned, again.
Despite this discouraging news, Brandon relocated to Seattle on August 5, 2019 to get the CAR-T immunotherapy treatment we hope will save his life. I would be happy to provide his apartment address in Seattle if you would like to reach out to him.