Last April my father had surgery to remove what doctors thought was a cyst in the left side of his neck. Unfortunately, this cyst ended up being a 14cm sarcoma. A week after it was removed he was diagnosed with stage 4 tonsillar carcinoma. Following his diagnosis, he went through 3 additional surgeries, one to remove his left tonsil (which was the most painful things he'd ever experienced) as well as a surgery to place a feeding tube and a port to help him throughout his treatment. His treatment entails going to radiation five days a week, one chemotherapy visit a week that is 8 hours long and daily hydration which takes a little over an hour. This has been his routine for the past 6 weeks. He's nearing the end of his chemotherapy treatment, his last being on July 5th and his last radiation is set for July 17th.
He had taken time off of his job to spend more time in the Valley to be closer to me while I was finishing my last year at Southern Oregon University. When he received his diagnosis, he was not covered by any health insurance and paid out of pocket for his first two surgeries, totaling $12,000. He planned on returning to work after his surgery, but because of his diagnosis and treatment plan he was unable to return to work. The company he worked for does not offer unemployment or any benefit that would help him pay his bills while he's going through treatment. He was grateful enough to be put on AllCare insurance to cover his treatments but he pays out of pocket for everything else.
The news of his cancer was not only devastating but extremely depressing. He's currently lost 45lbs; He's unable to drive, eat and can barely swallow what saliva his mouth still produces. The radiation has caused horrible burns on the inside and outside of his throat, as well as nerve damage affecting the muscle movement inside his mouth and throat.
My dad has always been the provider, the one who takes care of the family. People who know him, know he has always helped those he loved when they're in need.
The goal I've set would help him pay a few of his bills for a year. Anything helps!
- Mike Phillips
- Jerry Nietert
- Justin Hibley
- Brian Butler
- Jake Coykendall
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