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Harley's Fight for his Life

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My name is Jess and I have started this GoFundMe page because my sister’s family has fallen on hard times. Her husband, Harley, has been diagnosed cancer with rare circumstances. He has diffuse large B cell Lymphoma multiple large masses on his kidney, spleen, and the worst is pushing into his heart.


My sister has been married to Harley for 20 years and has 3 amazing children, Nicholas (19), Alex (16), and Anthony (13). She works at 3M, a company that produces medical products, as a machine operator, in a rotating 12 hour shifts. Harley, who is no longer able to work due to his condition, was a CNC Operator/Machinist at Twin City Fan, a company that builds fans for other companies. (i.e. Fans for tunnels, mines, buildings, etc.) Nicholas is now working at the same company as his father and living at home to help the family. Alex is a Sophomore in HIgh School with a strong GPA and involved in Spanish Club, Oral Interpretation & Color Guard. Anthony is in the 7th grader and could not be more excited about his electronic games (i.e. MineCraft or any games that require design and maintenance).


Last week, May 1st, Harley went into the hospital as he was having a hard time breathing when he went down one flight of stairs. Once seen by the local physician, he (Physician)  decided to review his (Harley’s) vitals & requested chest X-rays, EKG, and blood work to help figure out why his heart rate was so high (140 beats per minute - should have been 70 beats at rest). After waiting for the test results, the physician decided to send Erica & Harley to the Emergency Room for further evaluation. In the ER, they re-tested the X-rays, EKG, blood work, and conducted a CAT scan. The results showed that there was 7.8 x 6.3 cm mass that was pushing into his heart, which put his heart into a-fib. They decided the best option was to go to Sioux Falls, a town 1 hour away that has hospitals with better equipment for validation of current diagnosis.

They checked into Avera McKennan Hospital on Tuesday where they monitored his oxygen and heart rate. On Wednesday, Harley had an EKG on his heart and an ultrasound on his neck - they did the same thing on his legs to check for blood clots. When they performed a CAT scan of the abdomen, they found a mass in his kidney and spleen,. They told him that his lymph nodes are/were enlarged and there were spots on his liver. He spoke with his surgical doctor and they mentioned that the mass on his heart was inoperable because it was pressing into the heart and/or possibly growing into/through the wall of the heart. A tech team came in over the evening and removed 32 ounces of fluid that was surrounding his left lung. They then discussed next steps with a cancer doctor to perform a biopsy to find out what kind of cancer he has and is fighting - lung or kidney cancer, to determine how to attack. On Thursday, at 930am they came to do a biopsy on his lympnoids in his neck and indicated they would get results on Monday or possibly Tuesday of the following week. On Friday, he was sent home from the hospital. Once home, the doctor called with the results that he has disfussed large b-cell lymphoma. (Non-Hodgkin lymphoma), a Stage 4 Blood cancer because of his heart.

On Monday, May 7th, they returned to Avera McKennan Hospital, this time the Cancer Institute, to meet with the doctor, get more tests done and receive treatment options. He and Erica were able to come home but needed to report back on Tuesday to get another CAT scan. The test showed the cancer in his chest area. which was already known but the main concern was his heart. On Wednesday, we was finally able to receive a MRI to take images of his chest to evaluate the extent of the damage. On Thursday, the Pope family received the news the mass has grown into his heart, creating a hole, that is of great concern. The doctor started chemo very slowly as the worry is that if the chemo is administered too quickly, the mass will be pulled out of the opening, creating a leak in the heart. If the heart leaks too quickly, Harley would not survive. By going slowly, it could give the heart time to heal with the shrinking of the mass. The doctor plans on going ahead on this treatment for about a month. The family will be praying for the best. Harley currently feels really well, and is positive that everything will go well. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. [Thank you Harley & Erica for sharing your story.]


Currently, my family is taking this one day at a time, one moment at a time. Since Harley is no longer able to work, the pressure has now been placed on my sister to hold the family above water while providing the proper care for her husband.

Harley has health insurance but with a family deductible, 20% co-pays, and unknown extent of the upcoming treatments, any and all help that you can provide with give my sister and her family on less thing  to worry about and focus more on the hopeful recovery of Harley, husband & father.

They need to raise at least $50,000 to aid my sister’s family for possible heart surgery and any additional donations will go toward helping to pay for hospital bills (including chemotherapy) and cost a living while Harley recovers.

They cannot do this without your help, which is why I am asking you to share this GoFundMe page, spread the word, and donate whatever you can to help.


  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 6 yrs

Fundraising team (2)

Jess Butler
Kirkland, WA
Erica Butler
Harley Pope
Team member

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