At the time of diagnosis, we had a newborn daughter and our son was a toddler. Watching my babies inspired me to fight, and 16 years later, I still am.
The decision was made after scans and biopsies to remove the affected parathyroid gland. This was the first stamp in the passport. We were optimistic that surgery had been the answer and Radiation was halted. Initially that decision seemed to be the right decision, and we were blessed with news we were expecting our third child. Cancer had a mind of its own when in 2013 my semi-annual precautionary blood work showed abnormalities. Scans showed the cancer was back, bigger than the first one. Once again surgery became the best option, a repeat stamp for the passport. It lasted about 5 hours and when I come to in recovery, I learned the tumor was much larger than anticipated and had spread. The plan was radiation, my second new stamp for the book. Initially 30 individual treatments over the course of 5½ weeks became 35 to expand the area covered. The cancer though had other ideas and was becoming aggressive so IV chemotherapy was added to the list of treatments on my passport for the journey making it the third stamp. Since then, I have been on different oral chemotherapy treatments on an almost daily basis. I get a CT Scan every 3-4 months and though the growth has not stopped, it has been slowed by the chemotherapy and at times tumor size is reduced. At that point a unique course of treatment was called for that could help identify the nature of the cancer. Once known, the right course of action could be taken. To this point I’ve had some specialized tests done out of province but none have identified the right treatment for me.
Recently my oncologist suggested an advance genomic test that is done here in Toronto to establish the genomic sequence of my cancer. In his opinion this test shows a lot of promise in helping cancer patients identify optimal treatment. The issue is that the test is not covered by OHIP, nor is it covered by my employee health plan. The oncologist ordered two tests: the first is $330 and the second is $6,500. After looking at support options from Foundation Medicine, I was given a “discount” on the higher priced test but the $330 one stayed the same. All in this would cost about $3500 assuming no tax.
While there is no guarantee this will help me on my journey, part of my desire to have this testing done is for my three children. Not only do I want to be around for as long as possible for them but I hope that, heaven forbid they ever have the same medical problems I do, that it would provide a good point of reference for doctors at that time.
At a time when passports are not being stamped, due to travel restrictions based on COVID-19, with your help, this test could prove to be a life-saving stamp in my cancer passport. As a father who dearly loves his kids, I am humbly asking for support for this test, Thank you, in advance, for considering this request for support
- Randy Holder
- Michael motz
- Claudio Curti
- Niki Playter
Organizer and beneficiary
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