Date: November 14, 2018, 1:30 pm
Address: 11435 Saskatchewan Drive - University of Alberta Faculty Club
Light refreshments and toonie bar after celebration. Video corner available for you to share your favourite memory of Davis. No flowers please.
Details to follow.
*IMPORTANT UPDATE - 20/10/2018*
Hi everyone, you may have noticed that we have lowered the overall goal for the GoFundMe campaign to $65,000. The reason we've done this, as outlined in the previous update, is that we have enough funds for Davis's medical needs at this time. Please note that if there are any funds remaining outside of Davis's treatment (as per Davis' wishes), Oneball will use the funds to help other testicular cancer patients just like Davis. We plan on keeping the GoFundMe open and will notify everyone if another push is required depending on Davis’ next steps.
As a quick update, Davis has been enjoying spending quality time at home with his family, friends and puppy. Your support helped make this happen, so thank you. We'd like to give a special thank you to Bayshore who has been providing Davis with 24/7 professional nursing care and have help him stay comfortable and safe, and also to Davis' home care palliative team through Alberta Health Services.
Thank you for your support.
*IMPORTANT UPDATE - 17/10/2018*
After a tough few weeks, as described by Davis in his last blog post, it was decided that it was not possible to continue with immunotherapy. Davis’s immune system is targeting his red blood cells. After two weeks of treating these side effects as an inpatient at the Cross Cancer institute, Davis is finally home. Davis’s positive attitude hasn’t waned, as demonstrated in the conclusion of his last blog post – “All in all, it’s is a lot of things to deal with, but every day is another chance to keep working on it and keep moving forward“.
At this time we have enough funds for Davis' medical needs. With the funds you have generously contributed to the campaign, we can ensure that Davis is comfortable and safe while he spends time with his family and puppy. Specifically, your funds will be used to cover expenses not covered by insurance or health care such as round-the-clock care from LPN's and Registered Nurses, medical monitoring equipment rentals, medications, and more. We will keep the GoFundMe open and will notify everyone if another push is required depending on Davis’ next steps.
For now, our family would like to say thank you. Thank you for your voice. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your kind words. Thank you all of your contributions. Your support has been so much more than simply taking away the financial burden away and Davis has taken strength and has been incredibly moved from all of your support, in his words, he knows he is loved. Thank you.
Hi, my name is Davis! I'm an engineer, board game lover, all around nerd, and a cancer patient. I'm doing great with the first three, but need your help with the cancer part. In the past year, I have gone through 10 cycles of chemotherapy, had a major surgery that removed a kidney and the tumor that killed it, 1 week of brain radiation, and 2 high dose chemotherapy/stem cell transplants. After all of this, my cancer still hasn't gone away. This is why I'm starting 4 cycles of immunotherapy, which isn't covered by our health care.
This treatment will cost me over $75,000 and I need your help to pay for it. This could save my life.
[TAX RECEIPT INFO IN "Who is Oneball?" SECTION]
So… what's happening?
In July 2017, I did a 5k Foam Fest fun run on Canada Day with my girlfriend (wife now!) and my best friend. Not being the most athletic bunch – MUCH preferring board games and snacks to physical activity – it was no surprise to any of us when I had some strange back pain after the run. We all casually dismissed it as a pinched nerve. Unfortunately, the pain didn’t go away, and got so bad that I could barely work. After countless chiropractor, physiotherapy, and clinic visits, no one could fix the problem.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and a total weight loss of 30 lbs.
On August 19, 2017, I had planned on attending my nephew’s birthday party. Before that could happen however, I started coughing up blood. Panicked, I was rushed into the Emergency Dept at the Grey Nuns Hospital. Upon closer examination, the combination of constipation, weight loss, lack of appetite, and persistent back pain spelled out something much more than a running injury. It was an unpredictable something. It was not a good something.
It was testicular cancer.
A picture from the now infamous Foam Fest Run.
Wow. So where did things go from there?
My whole life got put on hold. I had to move back in with my parents, I stopped working, and I had to take a break from my master’s program in Electrical Engineering. Life for the next few months revolved around cancer, cancer, cancer.
A typical testicular cancer case follows a pretty standard protocol for treatment, however we quickly learned that my case was going to be anything but typical. Mine is a germ cell cancer called Choriocarcinoma Non Seminoma, which is usually pretty curable for most patients. Unfortunately for me, I'm one of the lucky 0.1% of testicular cancer patients where the standard protocol doesn't work.
My cancer is monitored through the levels of a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in my blood, which is typically only used to monitor one other condition: pregnancy! Naturally, most men should have an HCG count of 0. My HCG had reached over 500,000. When the count is high, it generates tumors seemingly randomly: in my abdomen (liver, kidney and lymph nodes), lungs and my brain. This meant that after every step of my treatment, my cancer would rear its ugly head, meaning we would constantly have to stay on our toes to make sure we were following it properly. These are the misadventures my cancer journey has taken me on so far:
· Chemotherapy: I’ve done 10 rounds of Chemotherapy, two different cocktails (not the fun kind) for a cumulative time of about 8 months. I suffered all of the typical chemotherapy symptoms – weakness, fatigue, hair loss, nausea. Sadly the Chemo is no longer helping keep my cancer at bay.
· Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection (RPLND) Surgery: This was a 7.5 hour surgery involving the removal of a 10.5 cm tumor, a dozen lymph nodes, and one of my kidneys. I now have an 11 inch scar. Post-surgery I ended up getting a blood clot in my left arm, which prompted the doctors to put me on blood thinners. Even though we slowly introduced the blood thinners, this resulted in a brain brain, which then caused me have two seizures.
· Central Line (CVC) infection: One day, my girlfriend and I were relaxing when I suddenly started shaking. After about 15 minutes of the shaking getting more and more out of control, we rushed to the emergency room. Apparently my CVC line had picked up a deadly infection (The doctors exact words were “This is a matter of life or death if it doesn’t come out”). Another 10 day hospital stay for me.
· Radiation Therapy on my Brain: This was actually really cool! Thanks to my undergrad and the first half of my master’s program, I have a pretty in depth understanding of how radiation like this is generated, how it works, and what it actually does. It was honestly just nice to see something in the real world that my education has prepared me for.
· Tandem Stem Cell Transplant with high dose chemo: Out of all of the treatments I’ve gone endured, this was the most brutal. This process destroys your body. The damage it did to my organs effectively aged them by about 10 years. The other result from this is I now have zero immunizations, and can’t get any inoculations for at least 2 years. What does this mean? Fairly limited travel, and I have to redo every immunization I ever got as a child.
After all this, we decided that we weren’t going to take this cancer sitting down. On June 10th, I married my girlfriend (one of the best days of our lives) and we got a puppy (her name is Dora and she is the best!!). Life has gotten pretty harsh, and even though the Chemo is no longer working, my family and I are determined to keep fighting. My family has been combing the planet for other new and innovative treatments, and are working with some of the worlds leading doctors and oncologists to try and beat this thing.
Why do you need help?
Through the exhaustive efforts of my wife and family, we think we have found our best shot at success. We found a number of studies conducted throughout the US about the immunotherapy drugs “Opdivo” and “Yervoy” which, although many of the results haven’t been published yet, looks very promising. One of the studies even showed a success with a patient with a nearly identical cancer profile to mine!
Great news, right? Yes… but there’s more. As great as our Canadian health care is, these drugs are not fully covered. This leaves be holding the bag for about $75,000. Here is the math:
· Yervoy – 100mg every 6 weeks: $12,060.15 (80% covered) = $2,412.03
· Opdivo – 240mg every 2 weeks: $5,220.52 (0% covered) x 3 per cycle = $15,661.56 (no insurance coverage)
· Total drug cost per cycle: $18,073.59 x 4 cycles = $72,294.36
· On top of these I need to pay for Nursing fees which I’m still waiting for information on.
After the 4 cycles I remain on Opdivo once a month until my HCG is at zero. Cost $5220.52 per month
Needless to say, as a recently married student with a new puppy, I don’t have that kind of money lying around. This past year has been a difficult one financially for my parents too. They had just paid off my student loans so I wouldn’t pay interest. My dad retired this year and my mom had to stop working to help support me in my fight. My parents have supported me financially, having spent most of their savings, reduced their retirement income and put my mom’s career on hold too. We’ve done everything in our power to help ourselves, but now we need your support to help us the rest of the way in this fight.
Cancer is not stopping us from living life to the fullest!
Who is "Oneball"? [TAX RECEIPT INFO]
In their own words:
Founded In 2009, Oneball is a volunteer run organization consisting of testicular cancer survivors, stand-up friends, family members, and everyday people, all with the common goal of giving testicular cancer a kick in the groin! Oneball is, in a word, ballsy. We use humor and fun events to help men open up, but we’re not just fun and games. We have funded life changing research that has been published in the Journal of Clinical oncology, are helping patients pay the thousands of dollars in medications not covered by our health care in addition to day to day expenses like groceries and rent, and we provide critical information in a relatable way – like talking to a friend.
We have decided to collaborate with Oneball on this GoFundMe campaign since they are able to offer you tax receipts for your donations! In order to claim your tax receipt, you need to first donate to this campaign, then forward your GoFundMe receipt to [email redacted] with your full name (must match the one you made the donation under), address, and email address. Tax receipts will be issued periodically throughout the campaign. Note: Your GoFundMe receipt is NOT your official Tax Receipt.
Additionally, if we raise funds beyond what’s needed for my treatment, Oneball will use the funds to help other testicular cancer patients just like me. For more info on Oneball, visit www.oneball.ca.
With your help, we can help Davis give his testicular cancer a kick in the groin!
Thank you for your support!
A picture of Dora because... puppies are great? She wants you to donate today!
DISCLAIMER: The content and views expressed on this GoFundMe are solely those of Davis Flaniuk and do not reflect those of the Oneball Charitable Organization, nor is it an endorsement of any procedures or medication related to Davis Iwaniuk's treatment.
DonationsSee top donations
- Jaynen Prasad
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Fundraising team: Davis's Cancer Kickers (3)
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