For Daniel's girls

Dearest friends-

As many of you know, for the last few years, I have been battling metastatic melanoma, and have managed to keep it at bay through oral chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Like many who struggle with cancer, the side effects of chemo have dramatically cut into my ability to continue to lead a normal life. Fighting this beast has forced me to cancel my classes, rarely attend events where I used to see you all regularly, and give up favorite pastimes such as competitive west coast swing. Fortunately, an understanding crew at my day job, and an amazing family have managed to keep me employed and sane. Despite this daily struggle, I have found immense joy from the two beautiful young girls I have been privileged to parent.

Last month, I learned that cancer was back with a vengeance, leaving me with Stage 4 Melanoma in my brain and elsewhere. I am not yet experiencing side effects from the various tumors throughout my body, but I have been given a list of symptoms to watch for and I was advised to get my affairs in order. Very soon (I don’t yet have a good estimate), I will not only no longer be able to provide for my family, I will become a physical, emotional, and financial burden on Desiree and my sweet girls until I am taken from this Earth.

It pains to me ask, but as a father, partner, and husband, it is my duty to provide for my family. Facing cancer and staring my own mortality in the face has made me realize that providing a safe place for my wife and girls is more than enough to warrant checking my pride at the door and reaching out for help from my extended family. I am asking for help with the inevitable medical bills, child care bills, and likely hospice care bills my beloved wife will face in the coming months.

I have no idea what to expect, but I know that it will be as hard or harder than asking for your help. While I still have hope, I also know that no matter the length of the fight, it will be expensive. I certainly don’t expect anyone to make my girls rich, I just need to know they will be safe and well cared for after I am gone.

Funds donated here will be used to help my wife stay on her feet and in our home while caring for me. Funds will be used to keep my girls in daycare or preschool so that Desiree can go to work, and to pay medical bills as necessary. When I die or if by some miracle I am given more time with my girls, the campaign will end after any residual medical expenses are paid. After I pass and all associated bills are paid, any remaining funds will be placed in education accounts for my baby girls.

Nothing about this is easy. Nor is it fair. Just setting this account up makes me uncomfortable. But, you are all part of my village. I worry how you all will take this news and my humble request. But, you are part of my family. Thanks to this community, I have enjoyed an amazing 42 years. This community, you, have been instrumental in fulfilling my happiness and making me who I am. Please don't weep for me, but take care of my girls. Don't mourn, but dance on. Both will make me smile with heartfelt joy.

Love, 5678-

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Daniel Herzog 
Ventura, CA

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