James O'Brien's Cancer/Medical Fund

James has been actively pursuing his acting career with a passion for the past 10 years.  Just as he was being offered some prime auditions and off broadway roles, he learned his young father had passed away suddenly in June 2016 at age 61.  After James returned to NYC, he began experiencing difficulty swallowing, which was attributed to stress.  During James's Christmas family visit, this difficulty was preventing him from eating what he desired.  Within the next week, he saw a gastroenterologist at Hopkins and 2 tests were scheduled.  The endoscopy showed a growth at the distal end of the esophagus, extending into the GE junction and the top of the stomach.  Within days, James had returned to Hopkins for an EUS endoscopy to stage his tumor.  Almost 6 months to the day after his father passed, James was diagnosed with adenocarcioma of the lower end of the esophagus, stage T3,N1,G2M0.  Within a month, James had to move back home, sub-let his apartment and commence an intense 6 week course of radiation and chemotherapy.  He has basic HMO health care coverage. He has already required numerous medications, hospital visits, and a multi-disciplinary team approach to his care.  Gaining and maintaing weight through treatment and to build himself up prior to surgery has been a struggle.  The emotional struggle of dealing with the sudden death of his father and the huge change of lifestyle has taken its toll.  He had to quit his jobs and is not earning any income while being treated. Throughout the time of his surgery June 2nd, through months of recovery, he will be working to adapt to the new surgical changes and re-built esophagus, stomach and a completely new way of eating. PT, OT, tube feedings and more will be necessay for the first few months.  He will need to be well-stocked with some prepared pouch meals throughout his return to NYC, for an idefinite period of time.  He is a brave soul to be facing these challenges with so much emotional and physical will and strength.  His mother has had to cut back her work hours to be with him since February and will have to take a short leave for the summer, as a caregiver.  Both James and Beth could use anything offered to offset James's high medical deductibles, expenses and many medical things not covered by insurance. This is a rare and deadly cancer that is the most rapidly- rising cancer diagnosis in the past five  years.  This is more common in men by 8 to 1.  The median age of onset is  45 to 65 years, so James is in a small subset of young patients.  It is rare, scary, uncomfortable and has an huge surgery component yet to come.  As the surgeon told James, "I am not only having to remove many things, but I have to re-build you a new digestive system."
We would like to activiate this page as soon as possible.  James wishes for any money that is not required for his recovery to be donated to the American Cancer Association with monies directed to better and earlier esophageal cancer diagnoses, better research and a push for a cure.  Thank you for your kindness and support.

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 27 mos
  • Olumide Komolafe 
    • $20 
    • 29 mos
  • Flic Wentzel 
    • $30 
    • 29 mos
  • Maria Alegre 
    • $40 
    • 29 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 30 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Marguerite Alexander 
Organizer
Ellicott City, MD
James O'Brien 
Beneficiary
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