My stepfather is James “Yogi” McElhenney, a retired Air Force rescue helo pilot. Yogi has aggressive and terminal Stage 4 prostate cancer and Stage 3 bladder cancer, due to exposure during his military service. Unfortunately, the VA has denied funding for his multiple cancers, and he was recently refused MD Anderson’s experimental treatment by Tricare Insurance.
We would greatly appreciate any contributions for medical expenses and care. We want to continue to make his life wonderful and full of meaning and purpose.
Yogi served in the military for twenty-one years, first flying helicopters for special operations, and then worked rescue units such as:
He was also a weapons school graduate and instructor.
But just as remarkable as his military service is the impact he’s made on his family and friends. Yogi has become the ultimate role model of living life to the fullest, of charm and charisma, and learning what matters most in each situation.
Three years ago, our lives were shaken when Yogi was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer. The back pain Yogi had attributed to a voracious lifestyle and years of flying was actually due to tumors that had metastasized in his spine. The diagnoses was terminal.
This discovery was unnerving but we immediately began treatments. At first, it was almost easy. The tumors shrank enough that his back pain lessened. Yogi’s fortitude was astounding, as he never let the radiation or chemo treatments get him down.
We relocated to Florida for Yogi’s new job, and I began college.
Slowly but surely, Yogi got worse. The cancer spread. His immune system weakened to the point where minor cuts resulted in infection. The pain returned due to cancer cells growing in his bone marrow. His overall energy level plummeted.
Yogi medically retired from work.
In 2018, Yogi was diagnosed with a separate stage 3 bladder cancer. Although the oncologist told us both cancers are unconditionally due to exposure from his time in the service, the VA continued to deny his applications. Additionally, Yogi’s oncologist worked with MD Anderson to begin a triple-treatment including immunotherapy and two types of chemo, but Tricare refused to supplement payment because it was “experimental”.
The treatments that were administered caused Yogi to develop cataracts in both his eyes, and we recently discovered a tumorous growth behind one eye.
We continue to battle day by day, and make the most of the time we have. Yogi is loved dearly and has immense support. We are asking for any donations in order to pay for treatments, care, and medical bills.
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