Karen's Melenoma Battle

From Brian Shultes:

My wife Karen, age 56 was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma fourteen years ago.  At that time she was given five years or less of life and they told us to make final arrangements.  However, with the power of our savior Jesus Christ and the medical advances that have been made, she is still on her fight to beat this dreaded disease.  Fourteen years ago we worked extremely hard to get into a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston, Texas.  She received experimental therapies at the time which helped her prolong her life.  This came at a tremendous emotional and financial cost to us as our health insurance company did not cover the costs.  We were responsible for flights and lodging and she received treatment for a year and we were flying to Houston from Florida every three weeks.

Due to these treatments, she was cancer free for ten years, but four years ago, it reared its ugly head once again.  The melanoma spread to her brain and her lungs.  She has received numerous surgeries and  treatment over this four year period, and while her lungs are clear she has had eleven brain tumors.  Some of these tumors have been treated with radiation and immunotherapy drugs in conjunction with chemo drugs.  However, they still keep reappearing.

So with current treatments not working her doctor recommended a clinical trial that is being run at MD Anderson in Houston under his direction.  The goal of this clinical research study is to learn about the safety of the combination of three drugs in patients with wild type melanoma.  This three drug combination will be tested in patients with cancer that has spread to the brain.  The safety of these drug combinations will also be studied as the side effects are too many to list here.

Since this is an investigational study our insurance does not cover the financial costs associated with this study.  Therefore, we are responsible for our flights, food, and lodging from Tampa to Houston, as well as the administering of the drugs.  In addition, we need to make this trip every other week for two years.  We have undergone this treatment now for two months and our costs are running between five and six thousand dollars per month depending on how long she has to stay for each visit as that varies from treatment to treatment.

Our participation in this study was completely voluntary, but we felt that this was our only option to fight this.  Our hope is that she will be a pioneer in helping future melanoma patients with brain metastasis benefit from what is learned in this study.  That is why we are asking for your help in our journey.  We have been married for thirty-three wonderful years, and for the last fourteen years we have been fighting for her life.  It has not been an easy journey, but we are honored to fight this fight for her and others. 

Melanoma is a cancer that is forgotten many times, but it is deadly.  Hopefully this will bring awareness to this type of cancer so more monies can be used for research and treatments.

We would like to thank you in advance for your time and consideration with our initiative.  We have the best love which is the kind that awakens the soul, and makes us reach for more.  That plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.  My wife fights this battle for us daily, dealing with numerous side effects and needless to say worry about our future.  So please  consider helping us on our journey.


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    • $250 
    • 2 mos
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Fundraising team: Karen's Warriors (3)

Stevie-Lea Doyle 
Raised $2,040 from 15 donations
Palmetto, FL
Karen Shultes 
Brian Shultes 
Team member
Raised $3,350 from 14 donations
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