We are creating this page to help support an incredible dude. Sean Tam is kind-hearted, fun-loving and is inarguably one of the best kind of people out there. Anyone who knows Sean can attest that he is a devoted brother, son, uncle, husband, and friend with a passion for life and adventure. What not everyone knows is that for almost two years of his life he has been battling cancer.
In the fall of 2017, after qualifying for genetic testing, Sean learned that he carried the hereditary gene, MEN2A that increases the chances of developing thyroid cancer. In January of 2018, Sean underwent a complete thyroidectomy. The thyroid and a few suspicious lymph nodes were removed, subsequently damaging Sean’s voice box during surgery. Although Sean was told he would need to take thyroid supplements for the rest of his life to compensate for the missing thyroid and that his voice may never come back, he remained positive and enthusiastic about the life he had ahead of him. With the support of his loving wife, Aly Tam (Lenhardt), his family and friends, Sean seemingly made a full recovery, got his voice back and hardly missed a beat. With what may have been the busiest year of his life — planning a wedding, starting a new job, hosting a social, traveling with loved ones, camping, canoeing, and seizing each day, we all hoped the worst was behind him.
When Sean went in for his one year follow up and his calcitonin levels tested abnormal, we feared the worst. After undergoing more in-depth testing in June 2019, just over a month before his wedding, doctors gave us the heartbreaking news that Sean had Familial Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma. The cancer had spread through his lymph nodes to his chest and trachea and metastasized to Sean’s lungs and liver. He was informed that this was a rare type of cancer, and unfortunately in Sean’s case, was very aggressive. There is no cure. Our hope is to find a drug that will slow or stop the cancer from spreading further and give Sean more years of life.
For Sean, treatment options in Canada are limited and the only options involve waiting — waiting for new treatment options to be approved or available in Canada, waiting for more tests and results, waiting to apply for potential special access treatments. Unfortunately, Sean doesn’t have time to wait. He needs to seize every opportunity in his personal and medical life right now. Our best hope in Canada is that Sean will qualify for a clinical trial and be selected as a candidate to go to Quebec for target treatment. In the meantime, CancerCare has supported the decision to seek alternative treatments at more advanced facilities outside of what Manitoba Health Care can provide.
Sean’s beautifully determined sister Kristy Tam wasted no time getting him an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in early August, the week following his and Aly’s wedding. There, more testing will determine the best treatment plan to combat this complex illness and to find any alternative treatments available. Due to the severity of his cancer and a list of unknowns, they have not been able to give us a timeline as to when treatments will start and how long they will last.
As Sean and his family go through this horrible battle, we are hoping to relieve some of the financial anxiety so they have one less thing to worry about. The money raised will go towards the Mayo Clinic for all the medical expenses, travel, recovery and anything else that might bring Sean and Aly hope and happiness in this trying time.
The love, kind messages and support he has received from friends, family and co-workers has truly been overwhelming and extremely appreciated. So many people have asked what they can do to help during this difficult time, which is why we have created this page. Please help our friend fight cancer and pro-long his incredible young life.