My name is Jeffrey Haring, I first found myself ill on May 22 of 2011 at the age of 36 and told that I had inoperable oral cancer and to get my affairs in order because I probably wasn’t going to make it. I was told I had Squamous Cell stage 3 Tongue cancer. This required major surgery which included removal of two thirds of my tongue.
There were complications which resulted in a second surgery 2 or 3 days later, because the tissue samples after the first surgery failed to show clear margins. They again said I may not survive the anesthesia. I was devastated and afraid. Not only for myself but for my wife and son as well.
Even though being told I would not speak post-surgery, I was able to train myself to talk going so far as to do a commercial for Upper Delaware Cancer Center.
Having survived I believed I was “cancer free”. However this past summer in July I was advised that the cancer had returned and was even more aggressive than before.
On September 13, 2017, after much consultation I underwent surgery at Mount Sinai, which included removal of my entire tongue and everything underneath it, all lymph nodes, 2 cm of my esophagus, as well as a tumor about 8 cm long.
The surgical team then reconstructed a tongue (flap) using muscle tissue from my right leg. Currently I cannot eat or swallow, but even though being told I would be completely unable to speak, I am able to talk even though its garbled, for which I am very thankful and grateful.
After the latest surgery I was advised that I would require both Chemo and Radiation (post surgery ) as the doctors told me that if I didn’t, they were almost positive that the cancer would return a third time. Since that consultation I am now aware that since I had received the maximum dose of radiation I was now at risk of permanent damage from the upcoming radiation treatments also being advised I cannot receive Chemo.
I lost my mother to cancer when I was 17, and remember all of the emotional pain suffered by the family and those who loved her. I feel guilty knowing that outside of my own suffering I am causing that emotional turmoil and pain to those that love and care for me. Most of my life and especially since mom’s passing I’ve always made a concerted effort to try and not burden others.
I am now unable to work and have lost my income. It is hard and difficult to ask for help, and I am grateful for that which I receive. If I am blessed with donations the funds will go to help with saving my home and paying toward medical co-pays and procedures. Thank you!
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- Thomas Weed
Organizer and beneficiary
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