Shave For a Cause - Desmoid Tumor

The week before Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with a very rare tumor called an aggressive fibromatosis.  Commonly, they’re referred to as Desmoid tumors.   Even though they cannot spread to other parts of my body, they can grow large enough to damage surrounding tissues and have the ability to recur when surgically removed. 

Desmoids can occur most anywhere in the body (usually in the extremities), but mine is in my small intestine.  It’s about 3 inches in diameter, or about the size of a baseball.  The tumor is encapsulating many blood vessels, making it a difficult tumor to surgically remove. Right now, I’m actually on a course of high dose of anti-inflammatory medicine to try and stabilize or decrease the growth.  As of right now (8 weeks of treatment), the tumor hasn't gotten smaller.

I'm giving this treatment another 4 weeks, and then figuring out where to go from there.  My next options will potentially be to continue on the same treatment, begin chemotherapy, or have major abdominal surgery to remove the tumor.  Everything is in a gray area right now, but I need to prepare for some very invasive medical treatment (both physically and financially). Right now, the only surgeon who is willing to take on my case is out of state, so I have to raise funds for travel expenses and medical bills.

Being in my 2nd year of medical school, this has all been a bit of a shock.  I'm currently living on student loans, and the costs I've incurred simply to get diagnosed have exceeded $2,000 (after insurance).

Hence, I need your help raising money for treatment and travel expenses.

As a special gift to whoever raises or donates the most money, I will shave my beard into whatever style you would like, and send you an autographed photo!

Additionally, any money leftover from these donations will be donated to the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation after I graduate medical school and am financially back on my feet.

For more information on my condition, here’s a link to the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation.


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Robin Leopold 
Burlington, VT
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