After about a month of feeling progressively more and more ill, inexplicably losing the majority of his platelets, my uncle Dean was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer. Burkitt's Lymophoma was destroying his blood, and destroying it fast. How fast? He started chemo about 10 hours after receiving the diagnosis, and was told he would have otherwise only lasted another 3 days. Burkitt's Lymphoma is the most aggressive cancer known to man, it turns out.
The good news: it's entirely curable. The 10-20% of patients who don't make it are generally those who found it too late. While he was misdiagnosed for nearly two weeks before finally being transferred to the VCU Massey Cancer Center, his prognosis is definitely optimistic. That was three weeks ago. He's surivived round one, and cleared for round two on Thursday!
The bad news: He needs to stay as stress-free as possible to survive the chemo. The goal of this campaign is to raise enough money to keep up with the insurance payments, pay for meds, get him to and from treatments, keep them both fed and cared-for, and help them have some semblance of a life to look forward to after this nightmare is over. It may only take until August!!! (just 8 rounds of chemo), and that is the hope we all are holding onto!
Together with his wife Lesa, the aunt who helped raise me and most of my cousins, they have owned and operated a very successful small business for the past 30 years. At times, they employed up to 20 people in downtown Richmond - giving good employment opportunities to those in the community. In recent years, as with the rest of the economy, the shrinking number of work orders has meant a shrinking of that business, and they were down to just a few essential people. Without Dean - "Dean-O" as many affectionately call the burly fishing and motorcycle enthusiast with the heart of a teddy bear - there is no work for anyone. And without income, he and Lesa are preparing to lose the home they built along with the shop our family has spent the last week packing into some very generous free rental space.
From extremely modest means, my parents, aunts and uncles have worked hard their entire lives, and take great pride in their trades. To have to pack up shop is one blow, but the financial burdens they are facing are now potentially a threat to his very recovery.
WITH YOUR SUPPORT, you will be helping Dean beat this curable disease. YOU will be sending a message that a life of generosity is rewarded with generosity. And YOU will be SO VERY APPRECIATED by our family, who have been doing all we can do to keep his spirits up and bills paid. He's got 6 months to go before he can start considering what to do with his new lease on life. Until then, help us keep him optimistic that that day will come.
ps. If you would like to help out in any other way, or to donate externally from this website, please feel free to contact me ("contact" button next to my face above). We also now have paypal set up: [email redacted]. To those friends and congregations who have already pulled together to offer your support, we sincerely thank you!
For more on Dean's story, you can watch the video below:
- Cindy and Bob Abbate
- Maria Rasmussen
- Jeff fastige
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