Never one to ask for help or sympathy, Blaise Barshaw has been knocked down before. In 2016 after a routine physical, Blaise was blindsided by the discovery that his “heart murmur” was actually a life-threatening condition requiring immediate surgery to replace valves in his heart. At the time, Blaise was an active, healthy 54-year old, living in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. He survived the surgery, kicked butt throughout his rehabilitation, and gained a newfound appreciation for life.
In 2017, Blaise and his partner, Laurie Ann, made the agonizing decision to leave their circle of family and friends in Portland and moved to Spokane, Washington, where the cost of living seemed more reasonable and where two, talented and creative people could (hopefully) make their mark through their art. Luckily, they found “day jobs” right away, were able to enroll in the state healthcare system, bought their first house together, and began networking within the local community through their art.
Then, in August 2018, Blaise went to the doctor for a throat irritation. Once again, he was faced with sobering news: stage 2 throat cancer. The initial plan was surgery to remove the tumor followed by radiation. However, the tumor was too large to remove, so now Blaise is preparing for 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days per week.
And here’s the capper: one week after his diagnosis Blaise learned that the company he was working for was sold, and he would soon be out of a job. His last day of work was August 22, the same day he found out that no doctors in the area would accept his health insurance for the radiation treatments.
Blaise has been a hard worker all of his life, has never before been without a job, and is an extremely talented artist. He wants nothing more than to live a simple life, do art, and be around to watch his two daughters and three grandkids grow up. But right now, the physical and financial burdens ahead are daunting.
Can you help Blaise and Laurie Ann get over this next hurdle?
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