My name is Justine O'Donnell; I am Patrick's long time girlfriend. Patrick and I have been together since High School, that's 8 years (boy does time fly)! All of our troubles started around Pat’s 25th birthday last year (2013) when Pat suddenly started having a Panic/Anxiety disorder. We started going to Doctors as soon as we noticed something was wrong, Pat is the most down to earth guy I know and has NEVER had an issue with anxiety. I thought he was having a stroke, and told every doctor what I thought. Every doctor we saw said it was nothing and that he should learn to calm down. On the day of our 7th anniversary I awoke to find Patrick lying on the floor of our condo unable to move. I immediately called for an ambulance, but like everyone else who saw him they told us it was just a panic attack and that he should get over it soon.
It was a week later, at a movie theatre (we were trying to celebrate our anniversary for real) that Pat suffered another tremendous “Panic Attack”, he was completely paralyzed on the floor of the theatre going into shock by the time I was able to call the Paramedics (who also told us it was nothing but a panic attack and that I should calm down). When they took Pat into the Emergency, the doctor there told us what I had been expecting. Pat had been suffering Mini Strokes for months, and this was a bigger one. I was in shock not only because I had been right, but because it took this long for a doctor to really listen and investigate further. Every doctor until then had been wrong and Pat was suffering for it. That night the Doctor told us the worst News I had ever had to hear. Pat was diagnosed with Stage 3 Testicular Cancer that had metastasised to his bone, lungs, thyroid and brain.
The tiny tumors in his brain and Thyroid (he had condition called Thyroid Storm) were causing him to have Mini Strokes that has left him with very little feeling in the lower half of his body. We were told that he had to start Chemotherapy as soon as possible. They started it so soon after he was diagnosed that we didn’t have time to even think about Sperm banking. After a year of Chemo, Surgeries, Blood, Sweat, tear's, 2 trips to the ICU and almost dying 3 times already, Pat’s Oncologist has had to tell us that he is incurable, That the most we can hope for is continued Chemo to keep the Tumors in “check” and that we can only hope to get 1.5 – 3 years left together if we’re “lucky”. We’re not giving up, we are very hard headed when we need to be and I refuse to believe our happiness has an expiration date. We are too young to have to deal with this heavy shit (excuse my language but sometimes it’s all you can say). So at 26, Pat and I are forced to create a Bucket List. Please if you can, donate a penny or donate a dollar. Every little bit helps in the end. We don’t know the full extent of the list yet it’s an ever evolving thing. But we do know a few,
1. Get Engaged
2. Planning and Celebrating the wedding of a lifetime!
3. Have a baby Peterson
4. Go on a vacation where a swim up bar is the extent of what we have to do that day.
5. Spend as much time as possible having fun and making memories with our amazing support system full of family, friends and you guys!
Thank you for reading our story and Thank you for your help.
Love Justine and Pat and Yoda our Cat.
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