Dennis, who everyone has known as Deno, worked in construction for over 30 years but 5 years ago he hurt his hip on a bridge job. They did reconstruction surgery and he lost 5% range of motion. He was disabled out of the construction trade and he had to take an early retirement. Doctors recommended that he can do light labor jobs, so he has been trying to work part time as a maintenance/grounds keeper.
This past March, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and cancerous spots were found on his liver and shoulder. My aunt Danielle immediately took my uncle Deno to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to begin treatment. They need to travel to this clinic every three weeks for his chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments. The travel time to this clinic is 12 hours round trip.
They are both born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which is where they reside currently with their children. Unfortunately, there are no other clinics that are as medically equipped within a closer distance. When they need to travel to the clinic, they have to pay out of pocket for all travel costs as well as the visit to the clinic and any prescriptions involved thereafter. They also need to pay for someone to watch their children so it does not disrupt their schooling during the school year.
They have medical insurance that is costing them over $400 a month, but it doesn’t cover the prescriptions needed for treatment or office visits to the cancer center at Mayo clinic.
My aunt is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. She has always worked a minimum of two jobs and at one point she had five jobs before having kids. She currently has been trying to work two jobs but it has been difficult with all the time that is needed to travel every three weeks to the clinic. She has been a superwoman trying to keep up with her boys school and sports schedule as well as keep her husband being well taken care of during this time.
Now if I thought my aunt worked hard, my uncle Deno has worked even harder. I never see this man stop moving and being on the go. He is always giving a helping hand to anyone in the community that needs it. When he worked construction, he was always worked 80 hour work weeks. I know it is driving him crazy to not work as much and provide for his family like he used too plus with all the unexpected medical news that has recently come upon him.
The doctors recently told my Uncle Deno that he will not be able to continue working his part time position as a groundskeeper. They explained that as the chemo treatments continue, he will need as much rest as possible in order to hope for a full recovery.
They are never a family to ask for help as they always prefer to help others and go without. Now that he cannot work, life is getting very difficult with the every three weeks out to Mayo Clinic and even a little help could go along way to a less stressful road to recovery.
My goal is to raise the money for them before his next treatment in three weeks. The funds would go to pay the clinic in full what is owed thus far and for future incurred costs during the course of treatment including travel costs. The treatment is planned to go on for at least six months but there is no date set in stone as of yet. It will all depend on the help everyone can give and how the treatments go. It would mean the world to give this family everything they have given to others and give my uncle a second chance at life for his young children and wife.
- Debbie Smith
- Debra LaFave
- Marie Kudej
- Katherine Veeser
Organizer and beneficiary
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