The Helmer's Family heartbreaking cancer journey started on October 22nd 2017. Their lives had been normal up until then. Greg was a loving husband and father. They enjoyed family dinners and movie nights. As soon as the weather began to warm Greg was out on the trails hiking.Greg’s dedication to his wife Marti is inspiring. For years Marti served on the volunteer fire department. She was constantly leaving at a moments notice and at all hours of the night and day. He would always say “love you, go change the world”. When there was a structure fire he would head out to the scene with Emily held high so she could see her mom fight fire.
Greg is a writer who has shared his love of words with his daughter Emily. He would often send in letters to the editor relating to the voting issues, for the fire department and supporting the police department obtain a drug dog.
Greg and Emily would spend hours talking politics and finding better ways our, city, state and federal government could be run. Emily’s freshman year in high school, she had the opportunity to take classes at Miami University here in Ohio. Greg rearranged his daily schedule to make it happen. His dedication to driving Emily to and from the Miami campus helped her earn her Associates Degree last December at just 16 years old.
This beautiful way of life changed the morning of October 22nd. Greg had not been feeling well the night before so they passed on a camp fire at a friends house. Marti had gotten up to make coffee. Greg walked out into the kitchen and Marti’s heart dropped. Greg was yellow. She had him put his shoes on and they headed to the emergency room.
The whole way there Greg was concerned about the cost. You see, Marti had just changed jobs and they did not think they had medical coverage yet. She had signed them up for a temporary insurance but they were not sure what it covered or even if it covered anything. Turns out the insurance only covered minimal costs.
At the hospital the biggest fears possible were facing them. The ER doctor explained that Greg had a mass on his pancreas. Marti fell apart. Having been in fire and EMS services for 15 years she knew what this meant.
Greg’s organs were shutting down and he was admitted to the ICU. Again Greg asked about the cost. He did not want to leave Marti with huge medical bills. To calm him Marti told him that everything was covered. (but the expenses were far from covered).
He was moved to the Cancer center on Marti’s 42nd birthday where it was confirmed that Greg had Pancreatic Cancer. Two days later they were informed that the cancer had spread to Greg’s liver. He spent two weeks in the hospital where he started chemo.
Before long it was Thanksgiving and the bills had started to roll in. Most bills that Marti opened only 10% of the total was covered by the insurance. Before Christmas bills had reached $100,000. The stress was mounting. Greg was unable to work due to the side effects of the chemo. Marti’s salary could maintain the regular bills and most of the medication Greg needed but not much else.
Just before Christmas they performed another scan to see if the chemo was working. To their surprise the tumor had started to shrink. Marti knew that it was worth ever penny of the cost.
In January Greg needed a new stent placed in his pancreas. He became very sick after the procedure. His cancer marker number began to climb. After a month of climbing cancer markers the oncologist decided to order another scan. The scans delivered bad news. The tumor had grown.
Greg and Marti were not ready to give up. So they spent the next two months looking for second and third opinions. Unfortunately, the opinions were all the same, the tumor had become resistant to the chemo. Radiation was also not an option because the tumor had grown over the stomach and intestine.
Greg has since had two procedures to deaden the celiac pelixis (a nerve sack) that causes so much pain. So far it has reduced pain by 50%. Unfortunately hospice has been called into assist with Greg’s final care. The Helmers family would greatly appreciate your help to cover the medical expenses.
Marti and Emily would like to focus on spending their remaining time with Greg with as little stress as possible.
- Guy Blanton
- Shelby Perkins
- April Cunningham
- Andrew Blanton
Organizer and beneficiary
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