This story begins nine years ago when Don was diagnosed with prostate cancer, severe bone cancer and lymph cancer. At that time he was given less than a year to live. Don refused to accept this diagnosis; and fired any doctor that told him his case was hopeless. He began searching the Internet and was able to find some amazing treatment options and doctors that believed they could save him. These doctors and treatments put his cancer in remission and his PSA count went from 746 to undetectable! He has been considered a miracle by many physicians who often refer to him as his own doctor as he does not accept just any treatment suggestion. He diligently has done his research and often times introduced doctors to approaches that they would not have considered. He is an inspiration to others suffering from cancer. He has contacted and helped many other patients told that they were terminal and only had the option of chemotherapy and even with that, the prognosis would not change.
Don and his wife Vikki have both been working for recovering addicts for over 50 years combined. They ran several residential treatment programs for just about every population. One of their programs reunified women parolees and their children and allowed both to live on site, often for up to two years. They extended that idea and opened a men's program that assisted with reunifying men and their children, which allowed them to actually treat entire families between their sites. Their treatment provided substance abuse treatment, relapse prevention, domestic violence, parenting counseling and education, wellness and nutrition, vocational training and job readiness and hiring assistance, cognitive behavioral and didactic behavioral treatment as well as a myriad of other treatment options specific to the clients needs. All of this and much more in a safe environment that allowed their clients to learn to love themselves again, establish appropriate boundaries, learn to find their voice and empower them to reach their goals and strive for their dreams. Throughout their careers, they have assisted countless individuals; some of their programs held up to seventy participants at a time and had the highest success rate in their industry. All clients that graduated from their programs left with the tools, love and motivation they need to sustain a healthy, productive, clean and sober life.
Tragically, funding for their programs declined a little at a time and they began struggling to maintain their program with the belief that they would be able to re establish funding and keep their sites open. They declined to pay themselves, and often sponsored participants when their funding was gone and let them continue their treatment until they were able to leave to a safe environment conducive to their recovery. Ultimately they used all of their savings and their programs closed.
During this time, Vikki became ill and has been diagnosed with several debilitating issues that prevent her the ability to work. She is in the process of attempting to be approved for long-term disability. Don not only lost his ability to pay for treatment that insurance didn't cover, but he lost his insurance entirely. He went for several months without treatment. His cancer has returned with a vengeance and has metastasized into bone cancer. There is no place in a scan that cancer isn't evident. He has been to weak to begin chemotherapy and needs to gain weight as well as establish the nutrients for him to be able to survive treatment. This can only happen through the alternative treatment options that saved him before.
Time is of the essence. They are behind on their bills and at risk of losing their home. Don weighs only 125 pounds and is struggling to maintain, continuously optimistic that he will beat this and they will become forces of service to be reckoned with once again!
Some of their goals are creating a website for those suffering from chronic illnesses. The site will provide information, counseling and services, linkages to funding options and other services to assist individuals to maintain their strength, dignity and hope. They're goal is to create scholarships for individuals in similar situations that need assistance with paying for treatment and living expenses.
Don and Vikki have six children between them, three of which are under the age of 16 as well as the blessing of an addition of a grandson that has raised the bar for Don's motivation to live and see him grow. They also recently added a beloved family member, a beautiful golden Labrador named Aragon who aspires to be an assistance dog and at minimum has been a beautiful therapy dog.
There is no such thing as a donation that is too small and in the spirit of their lives work, once they have gotten on track and met their needs, they will continue to raise funds for others.
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