Help Jo Ann Beat Cancer


Jo Ann is a 47-year-old woman who was diagnosed with Stage 4B Advanced Laryngeal Cancer back on October 26, 2017.   This Go Fund Me page has been created to help fund JoAnn’s battle. Here is a little background on Jo Ann:

In 2008, Jo Ann’s father, a veteran, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer due to his exposure to toxins in the military.  JoAnn moved back home to care for him.  At this time her marriage ended, she met the man of her dreams and through it all she stayed with her father until his passing in July 2010.  

She moved back home again to assist her mother who was diagnosed with the heart condition, A Fib.  In April of 2017, she acquired a neuro virus.  This took a huge toll on her health and aided in the ongoing issue of vitamin deficiencies and medical problems.   Over the summer in 2017, she developed what seemed to be a cough and cold.  The duration was long but that was not unusual.  She started to experience increased fatigue, dysphagia, random sores on her skin, and rapid weight loss.  

In October 2017, Jo Ann went to urgent care due to her rapidly progressing symptoms. Immediately, she was treated with steroids, nebulizers, and given an inhaler.  The chest x-ray showed no abnormalities in her lungs.  The doctor suggested that due to her history, Gastro-Intestinal issues, and   difficulty swallowing she needed to be evaluated by a Gastroenterologist.  

Unfortunately, on October 19, 2017, her mother passed away from a massive stroke. After quickly getting her mom’s affairs in order, Jo Ann rescheduled her appointment for the following Monday.  At that appointment she was told she needed to see an ENT immediately the next morning.  She went to the ENT on October 26, 2017. Upon examining her, the doctor discovered a large mass in her throat.  At this point she was struggling to breath so she was immediately taken to the hospital for emergency surgery where a temporary trach was put in place and is unable to speak. 

Over the next few days she had testing done that concluded that she has Localized Advanced Squamous Cell Larynx Cancer.  The first doctor told us that the cancer is at the base of her tongue, the voice box, and has spread to the lymph nodes in her neck. Due to the advanced stage she will need surgery immediately to remove her tongue and entire voice box with radiation to follow.  As this is a major decision, Jo Ann decided to seek out a second opinion.

A second oncology team from UF Health Cancer Center was able to see Jo Ann on November 14, 2017. They quickly accessed her condition and reran a few tests. They decided that surgery was not an option due to the size and location of the tumor. They recommended that they first try and shrink the tumor and then try and remove it.

With a plan in place the team began to prep her for the long road ahead:

1.      Have evaluations with each member of the Oncology Team.

2.      Have all teeth removed

3.      Placement of feeding tube

4.      Placement of Port

On January 2, 2018, Jo Ann began her Chemotherapy. As they decided to use an aggressive from of Chemo, they admitted Jo Ann in to the hospital for five days to monitor her closely. After being discharged, the next few weeks were hell due to the side effect of the Chemo.

On February 7, 2018, Jo Ann began her second round of Chemo, but this time see has able to wear a portable pump, so she could go home. Again, after disconnecting, the side effects took their toll on her. The team took another CT-Scan to see if the tumor shrank any.

On February 21, 2018, we received the news no one wanted to hear, the tumor was not shrinking but grew. Chemotherapy failed! Now we wait for the Oncology team to decide whether they will try Radiation and Chemo together 5 days a week for 6 to 8 weeks or surgery to remove her tongue and entire voice box.

Medical coverage limits many services, partially covers care and sometimes delays services due to justifications and approvals.  Jo Ann desperately needs immediate financial assistance to cover:

Additional In-Home Health Aide and Nursing Coverage

Alternate and/or complimentary TX options (holistic, experimental treatments etc.)

Standard expenses: housing, utilities etc.

Medical deductibles and co-payments

Travel-gas, tolls, and lodging costs

Pet care 

Thank you and God Bless.


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Jim Ritenour 
Orlando, FL
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