My story began in late summer 2018. I had just left my job as a Registered Nurse to start an exciting new chapter of my life: Grad school in southwest Florida to become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Going to CRNA school had been a long-time dream, and now I was doing it! Little did I know…6 weeks into the program I would be diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer.

If anyone knows someone who has endured the rigors of CRNA school, you know that it can be some of the most stressful times in a person’s life…So, when my GI doctor said the words, “You have Cancer!” , I remember thinking…”I don’t have time from this crap right now!”  The drive home from the doctor’s office would be a flurry of emotions for me and my wife….you start thinking about the kids, grandkids, family, and friends…heck, I’m a young guy with lots of things left to do in life. After meeting with several doctors, the message was loud and clear, I WAS IN FOR THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE!

Leaving my job to go to school also meant leaving FMLA, short & long term disability insurance benefits, and mostly, leaving a steady income behind. Thank goodness I had my military VA healthcare benefits to fall back on.( I knew serving my country in the U.S. Army would end up being a good decision).  However, after getting several second opinions from military and civilians doctors….it was determined that my best chance of survival was to take my fight to a specialized healthcare facility outside of the VA system….I took my fight to Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, So far I’ve completed one round of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and have had surgery to remove the cancerous tumor... I am slated to begin 6 more months of chemotherapy.

Now the medical bills are pouring in and we are just trying to keep our heads above water. It’s never an easy thing to ask for financial help, but I have always been willing and able to give to those in need, and now it’s my time to ask for help. I am a military veteran that proudly served our great country, and I am a registered nurse who has given many years caring for patients…like myself.. without hesitation. Now I Need Help! I promise that I will pay this forward for the rest of my life. Please, any amount is greatly appreciated


Lori Barnes
Port Charlotte, FL

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