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Jacob Kaplan-Fighting Angiosarcoma

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Worst Birthday Present Ever:
I got Cancer for my 21st Birthday

My name is Jacob Kaplan and I was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Angiosarcoma. I am a Junior at Princeton University, studying computer science.

A few days before spring break in mid-March 2017, I had been having some stomach pain, but I did not think much of it at the time.  I was also dealing with being unable to walk due to a broken ankle that happened to have occurred at the end of February.  I flew back to school from Los Angeles after break (yay, back to work and stress), and continued on with normal life there. By that following Wednesday night, my stomach was hurting even worse, so I went to the campus health center. They examined me and thought it might be my appendix, so they sent me to the local hospital. After sitting in the E.R. waiting room for at least 3 eternities I was finally taken back to an actual room to be seen. After waiting even longer, I was finally seen by a nurse. She examined my stomach, called another nurse pretty urgently, and they proceeded to call over my doctor. After everyone had their fill of examining my stomach (who knew my stomach was so popular), I was put on an I.V. and an ultrasound was taken of my stomach. (Boy, would I have been surprised if a baby was giving me all this pain)

The ultrasound showed nothing, and so I was then taken for a CT scan (cat scan) by four in the morning. They had told me I may have gallstones, but I was really hoping I would be in purrfect health. Now is when I quit with the jokes as it is the time in that night that I lost the ability to do so myself.

After reviewing the CT scan results, my doctor came in to share some bad news with me. While they did not find any evidence gallstones, they instead found a mass in my abdomen that they believed to be a tumor. I informed my family, and my dad immediately booked a flight and flew out that morning. I was admitted to the hospital and went through more CT scans, an MRI, and a biopsy on Thursday. Most of the scans showed the same thing, that I had a large growth on my liver, and other small lesions throughout my chest and abdomen. Without the results of the biopsy, they could not give me a specific diagnosis. With the help of my dad and girlfriend, who came to support me in the hospital, and after, I was able to pack up my room, and have some time to return to campus to say goodbye to my friends. That Saturday was my 21st birthday, so I was planning to drink at this big party my eating club (similar to a co-ed fraternity. Instead, I was on a bunch of pain medication, so the best I could do was ask my friends to do a couple shots for me as I explained the situation to a few of my closest buddies before I headed home. I left Sunday morning to fly back to Los Angeles to be with my family for whatever treatment I would need.
Tuesday, April 4th 2017, possibly the worst day of my life, I received the actual diagnosis of my condition. I have stage 4 Angiosarcoma, a very rare cancer that is less than 1% of 1% of cancer diagnoses.

I am undergoing chemotherapy, and it seems to be helping, but this is a cancer for which there is no cure. I am hoping to get to a point where there is no evidence of the disease but I will be battling this for the rest of my life.  I am going to fight this cancer and plan to return to Princeton to finish school and get my degree in Computer Science. When I return I will properly celebrate my 21st birthday, even if it’s a little late.

In the meantime, I am receiving my treatment from one of the best Sarcoma specialist, but he is not part of our family health plan. We have chosen the path of the best possible treatment rather than the most affordable. Many oncologists have no experience treating Sarcoma because it is so rare and seeing a doctor who has made it his life’s work to focus on Sarcoma is imperative.  This, however, will make the financial side of my treatment a tremendous challenge for my family. I am hoping those who read this will help in any way possible to alleviate some of the financial burden my family is facing.

If the funds donated exceed the cost of my treatment any excess funds will be donated to Angiosarcoma research. Due to the rarity of this type of cancer, there is not much funding available to furthering its investigation, and so with the generosity of those who read this, if possible I hope to able to give back and help those also afflicted with this type of cancer, as well as furthering research to hopefully one day find a real cure for this disease.

Thank you very much for your kindness and support.


  • Jen England
    • $25 
    • 6 yrs


Jacob Kaplan
Los Angeles, CA

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