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Help Owen K.C. Stephens Fight Cancer

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See the tl;dr at the end for the 15-word version.

Hi, I'm Owen K.C. Stephens. I'm a tabletop RPG writer, developer, consultant, and publisher. I've worked on official products for four editions of Dungeons & Dragons, two editions of Pathfinder, and also the tabletop rpgs The Black Company, Call of Cthulhu, d20Modern, Dragon Age, EverQuest, Fantasy AGE, Gamma World, Everyday Heroes, The Song of Ice and Fire, Thieves World, and Wheel of Time. I'm also the co-creator of the Starfinder and Star Wars Saga Edition rpgs, and founder of Rogue Genius Games.

And, I'm fighting cancer. An actual monster, rather than an imaginary one, and I must kill it before it kills me.

I was diagnosed in March of last year, after being hospitalized for a pulmonary embolism. It turns out, the pulmonary embolism was provoked by a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, a blood clot in the leg). When I was put on a blood thinner, I began suddenly bleeding from places blood shouldn't be coming out of. That became a priority (I mean, duh...) and .... ah... "probing"... which led to discovering the DVT was provoked by cancer I've had for about a decade without it ever being caught.

Since then I've done 8 months of chemotherapy, tons of physical therapy, gotten 3 MRIs (well, 6 if you count do-overs due to trauma reactions and an extremely thorough radiologist -- I know the MRI machine well, I've named him 'Frank'), two CAT scans, more than a dozen consultations with surgeons, cardiologists, and urologists, and regular meetings with my oncologist every few weeks.

It's... it's been a rough year. And an expensive one. I'm a freelancer. I pay for my own medical insurance, and cover my own medical costs. And if I can't work, I don't make money.

I've done everything I can to stay afloat financially. I have a Patreon, and a Ko-Fi. Multiple sets of friends and colleagues have put together fundraiser game products to help, and set up special sales and bundles of games to cover some costs. I've tightened my belt, contacted charities, wrangled over every medical bill and expense, downgraded my daily living costs as much as I can, and sold off possessions. This has still drained my savings dry, and left me in ever-growing debt.

And now, I'm undergoing very expensive radiation therapy, coupled with yet more chemotherapy. We've poisoned my monster, but it survived. A council of wise elders called The Tumor Board (which sure SOUNDS like a supervillain group to me!), has determined we can't kill it with a blade. So, now it's on to unholy fire, as we try to fry it like a burrito left in the microwave too long.

If I can afford it.

So, this is my last shot to try to cover the costs of ongoing treatment after struggling to tread water for a year. I need to pay the bills for current treatment, and cover back debt, and not go bankrupt.

This GoFundMe is to raise funds for medical debt and ongoing treatment expenses. Every tiny bit of support helps, as does sharing the link to this fundraiser. The gaming community, and my friends and colleagues, have been amazingly supportive and uplifting, and I endlessly appreciate everything you have all done so far. Hopefully, one last push will get me over the finish line, kill the monster inside me, and let me go back to making games for people.

Thank you all, sincerely.

tl;dr - I make games. I have cancer. That's expensive. Please help if you can. Thanks.

(Yes, I know, that's only 14 words, and I said 15. Well, what can I say? I'm tired, and as much as I try to hit my wordcounts exactly, being one word off is pretty good, right? I mean, with 25 years professional writing experience I SHOULD be able to do a developing pass and hit 15 words with a second draft, but who does a second draft of a tl;dr? You'd almost have to suspect I got the wordcount wrong on purpose, just so I could inject some humor into an otherwise pretty grim situation. I dunno, that seems like a lot of work for a weak joke. But I'll be honest, it does SOUND like the kind of thing I'd so.)

(OH... Unless the 'tl;dr' itself counts as a word. Yeah, that's it! Fifteen words, perfect. Yay me!)



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Owen Stephens
Norman, OK

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