After months of bleeding and health concerns while deployed with the U.S. military, Nick was diagnosed with Stage 3c Colon Cancer on Feb 28, the eve of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. With a 90% tumor blockage, he was scheduled for immediate surgery to remove a significant portion of his colon, lymph nodes, and surrounding vessels and tissues. Surgery had some minor hiccups, but went well overall, and the family set out on an intensive healing journey of their own. Further details of Nick's story can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/HealingHubby/photos/a.550598375471770/550598568805084/
Nick and Danelle are an active duty family with two young children and lived simply on one income prior to Nick's diagnosis. Nick has given 18 years of his life to serving honorably in the U.S. military. During this time, he has been named Sailor of the Year, Senior Instructor of the Year, awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, the Military Volunteer Service Medal, and earned numerous additional commendations for his sacrificial service and upstanding leadership at home and overseas. He has trained dozens of submarine crews for missions, worked on special op commands, assisted navigation with the Office of Naval Intelligence, and deployed with multiple commands to all parts of the globe. During this time, Danelle has given the majority of her years to non-profit/grassroots work, specifically for mothers and babies, families in need, and ending violence against children. In addition to volunteering and leading non-profit endeavors, she teaches the family's children and others within the local homeschooling communities where the family has been stationed.
Despite his value and expertise, per military protocol and for his own safety, Nick is not allowed to work in close proximity to nuclear reactors for 24 months following a Stage 3 cancer diagnosis. In military terms, this deems him "medically unfit" for the duties that he would otherwise perform. As a result, during this initial 2 year treatment time, the family is on a significant reduction in pay -- something that was unexpected prior to his diagnosis, and is difficult to bridge the gap on each month. In addition, Tricare has declined coverage of the majority of Nick's cancer healing protocol (despite its effectiveness), because the measures chosen go beyond standard oncology treatment as prescribed by the U.S. military. This equates to a $853/month decrease in pay, with a $900/month increase in medical expenses, every month for 24 months.
To try and make ends meet during this time, Danelle has taken on all additional freelance (writing/editing) work that she is able to fit into night time hours, as well as photography and graphic design assignments. Despite around-the-clock efforts, the work Danelle is able to fit into each week is simply not enough. In October, Danelle began experiencing daily episodes of debilitating PVCs (premature ventricular contractions of the heart). Some days PVCs were non-stop for 8-12 hours on end. After testing, monitors, and an echocardiogram, electrocardiologists deemed that this sudden onset of extreme PVCs was the result of high chronic stress and physical exhaustion, impacting the electrical function of Danelle's heart. Needless to say, this has left the family with yet another set of medical bills (that Tricare covers at 80%). One thing families facing a cancer diagnosis are rarely fully informed of ahead of time is just how much the months and years to follow will impact not only the individual whose diagnosis was given, but the closest loved ones who care for them and strive to keep life together in the process.
This GoFundMe is established to help Nick's family stay afloat during the months of his income reduction and cancer treatments. ♥
The initial 4 donations from friends here went toward fixing the family's computer (which died in Nov, rendering Danelle unable to work). The next hope is to cover: (1) hydrotherapy supplies by the end of January ($620), so that Nick can continue this aspect of treatment at home, (2) non-toxic cookware the family has yet to be able to purchase (varies for enamel coated cast iron, glass, or GreenPan), (3) a Berkey shower filter for the water bathed/showered in regularly ($65), (4) followed by very important infrared heat therapy supplies ($3700), which is something that can be shared with other families on their own healing journeys in the Hampton Roads area, and is significantly cheaper than Nick continuing regular local infrared sessions that Tricare doesn't cover. The family also has an Amazon list of monthly supplemental needs (for those items available via Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/B7Y1VC90MRIJ?ref_=wl_share
Thank you for your umbrella of love, support, encouragement, positivity, and prayers!
- Gillian Longley
- Angela Gray