Derek is my brother. We may not be related by blood, but he is my brother through and through. We've gone through our tough times, but we've always made it through somehow.
Derek is 36. He is happily married. His son is 13 and his daughter is 3. They had a happy life together. But Derek has always struggled with his health. His eyes had been bothering him, so he went to the eye doctor. She told him to go get a cat scan that day. 5 hours later, we learned that Derek had a large brain tumor. The tumor was wrapped around the Pituitary gland, the Corotid artery, and the brainstem. It also had engulfed his left optical nerve and was causing blindness.
In May 2017, just 11 days after his initial diagnosis, Derek underwent a harrowing 8 hour frontal crainiotomy. He received 48 staples in his head. The doctors were only able to remove half the tumor due to the size, location, and tissues the tumor had engulfed. Due to the extensive damage his optical nerve suffered, Derek is now blind. Medically, he has 8% vision in both eyes.
Derek cannot work. He cannot drive anymore. He will not be able to ride a motorcycle again. He cannot watch his daughter alone anymore. He cannot see what medications he needs to take. He suffers from short term memory loss. He has suffered major depression since the loss of his eyesight and independence.
Derek has regular doctor's appointments in Gainesville, FL, which is 2 1/2 hours away, and in Orlando, which is 45 minutes away. Both drives require extra gas and both trips involve toll roads. Each appointment requires a copay.
Derek is now on a long list of medications. Many of these medications are not covered by their insurance, one of the best providers in the state. It's estimated his medication costs close to $800 a month after insurance pays its part.
Derek is scheduled to begin radiation in the next two months to kill the remainder of the tumor. The radiation schedule is said to be 35 consecutive treatments, 5 days a week for 7 weeks. Everyday he will have to travel to and from Orlando and pay tolls both ways. It is also expected that his medication list will increase.
They are a one income family. His wife, Nikki, works as a radiation therapist in a facility in Titusville, Fl. Though she receives a decent salary, the medical costs have drained everthing they have. They are not able to pay all of their bills, and in some situations they have had to go without some of his medications due to financial strain.
The horror and stress of medical issues is hard enough without having to suffer financially. I am seeking to raise money for my brother, my sister, my neice and my nephew. Funds will go to gas and toll costs, medications, groceries and other essential bills, and medical bills for Derek's treatment. These funds may also go to childcare costs while Derek is in treatment, and to help offest any time Nikki has to take off work for his treatments.
No amount is too small, and every little bit helps. They are a gracious and generous family, and they have gone through Hell this last year. 6 months before the tumor was discovered, Derek's beloved mother passed away from Liver disease. Just last month, Derek also lost his father from a heart attack. Both Derek and Nikki have suffered considerable mental and emotional anguish from this illness. Monetary support is one small but important way to help ease their discomfort during this terrible time.
This issue is time sensitive, as they are struggling to pay bills and buy groceries after covering his medications each paycheck. Please help me help my family through this dark period. I pray for Derek's recovery, Derek and Nikki's strength, and for financial blessings to pour in to help them.
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