Shane Hansen is my older brother and best friend. He is 40 years old. In 2012, Shane did the unthinkable and with the help of my father, purchased a 13-acre homestead with the dream of starting an organic farming business. (Leaving Chicago and his life as a weekday marketing professional and weekend nightclub promoter.) It was to be a more fulfilling, quieter life and I’m incredibly proud at everything he accomplished over the last five seasons. I admire him immensely. Check it out: rainfieldfarm.com
Actually, it’s nothing less than remarkable - considering how physically demanding farm work can be and the following unfortunate circumstances:
Winter 2013 - Shane begins feeling numbness in his extremities.
Fall 2013 - After many tests, disputes with insurance companies, more tests and a declining condition, doctors identify Shane as having a rare autoimmune disease - CIDP.
Winter 2014 - Shane’s ability to walk normally deteriorates and he needs to make adjustments (locking knees, etc) to get around. Loses ability to navigate stairs alone.
All 2014 - Regularly receives IVIG treatments for the CIDP, which results in him having severe spells of pain and weakness. He’s on a rollercoaster of days where his sense of touch returns and feels “normal” to sometimes needing a walker to get around.
Winter 2015 - Shane is diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (One theory is that it was caused by the medication to treat the CIDP.)
Spring 2015 - Begins chemo treatments - they kick his ass. The good news is the treatments clear his symptoms from the CIDP. Which was welcomed!
Fall 2015 - The cancer seems to be in decline! Dare we say remission?
Spring 2016 - A checkup identifies trace amounts of cancer the doctors deem non-aggressive. Shane attempts fighting the cancer with a 90-day naturopathy program this time around. But declines in weight despite strict adherence to his doctor's guidance.
Fall 2016 - Things turn bad and Shane struggles to walk without a walker. An ER visit determines he has a tumor growing between his spinal cord and vertebrae. Emergency surgery has left him with a rod in his back from T5 to T12 for the rest of his life. But it felt miraculous to see him wiggle his toes after that operation.
Winter 2016 - Treatment to fight against the remaining tumor begins in the form of radiation and/or chemo, but limited due to Shane’s weakened state.
Spring 2017 - Shane begins an immunotherapy treatment. Things improve and he progresses from walker to canes (plural) to a cane (singular) to only a cane when he has a couple drinks!
Summer 2018 - It’s back. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Three golf ball-sized tumors in his armpit and two, a 12” x 6.5” and a 12” x 8”, masses along his left side ribcage and back. It’s so new that he was in Indianapolis this week to see a specialist so they can develop a treatment plan. But, here we go again…
Shane has remained determined and steadfast on his business and cause to supply organic and honest produce while educating our future growers on sustainable agriculture practices. While battling cancer and neuropathy, Shane still found time to volunteer at local events and was the director of his hometown farmers market along with being on a municipal Main St revitalization committee. Through the market, he provided low income residents healthy produce options through matching programs by securing grants. Shane has mentored adolescents with disabilities, speaks at wellness conferences, and partnered with local public schools to provide nutritious lunch alternatives.
Shane and I don’t discuss money. But considering a farmers modest income and the seven-figure medical bills alone, Shane should have filed bankruptcy years ago by my calculation. Why $60,000? I don’t know why, this amount just feels like the right amount to help. Let’s call it brother’s intuition. But there’s no shortage of things it can be used for - medical bills, physical therapy, much needed plumbing repairs, a new roof, farm equipment upgrades, or to fix his truck that’s one weekly CSA drop away from going kaput. He definitely hasn’t had a proper vacation since all this began five years ago. More importantly, some should help his partner so she can be by his side and not have to take a second job again. They bust their asses all summer long to enjoy some downtime during the winter months. They deserve to have it and I'm sick of seeing this disease getting in the way.
With the force of your generous gifts, I believe eliminating the financial stress will help Shane rid himself once and for all. It’s been a rough ride for my mother, father, and many more of us who have been alongside him. But I know many of you have experienced the emotional and financial drain yourselves. Unfortunately, right now this is my best option for giving him the launching pad I believe he needs.
Shane is a fighter, clearly. But he goes it alone and would never reach out for help like I am right now. Since I shared his business info, I must request we attempt to keep this GoFundMe page a secret for as long as possible. I don’t need him trying to pull the rug from under this effort.
Just sharing this helped me, so thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.
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