Help Mom of 3 young boys to beat breast cancer

$6,095 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 84 people in 2 months
I am Krisa Culala Oppenheim, a proud wife to a dedicated husband and father, Noah, and mama to 3 amazing boys - Eli (6), Ben (22m) and AJ (3m). This is my story.

On March 12, 2019 at 1:30 pm, I received a phone call that would forever change my life. My doctor's first words were, "Krisa, are you alone? I have bad news. You have metastatic breast cancer". 

But I'm only 34. I just had my second baby 3 months ago. Why? How? How much time do I have? I'm gonna die. What about my kids? They need me. I need them.  I couldn't cry. I was too confused and terrified. NO, this can't be real. And when I finally broke down, it was brief. I had to think fast.

I've been complaining of a persistent sharp breast pain on the left side for almost 3 months. I thought it was a residual mastitis infection from December. It was at AJ's baby well check-up that I finally said something to the lactation consultant who then referred me to a breast surgeon. One look at it and she immediately sent me off to Radiology for further imaging and possible biopsy.

It was then a whirlwind of events. My doctor immediately ordered all the tests, scans, lab work, biopsies etc. Thankfully the cancer has not spread past the lymph nodes in my armpit. It's the triple negative kind , stage 3c- aggressive and hard to treat. They were going to start me on chemo ASAP.  Sixteen chemo cycles are on my chart, and the first infusion was last March 25th.  During the infusion, it felt like my brain was on fire.  No wonder the hair follicles get fried and why chemo patients look deathly. After all this, surgery and radiation are down the road. My head's spinning from all of this.

Nine months prior, an aunt of mine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Later I would find out that another aunt was battling breast cancer as well. One of my aunts urged the rest of the family, myself included, to undergo genetic testing. As it turns out, my paternal side of the family is plagued with cancer. We've lost several aunts, uncles, grandma's and grandpa's to the big C.  Recent genetic testings of some family members reveal that we carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. The BRCA genes are the "tumor suppressors" and are responsible for DNA repair. They're the guardians, the gatekeepers. While not all genetic mutation is harmful, the one in our family is pathogenic and aggressive so cancer is almost guaranteed to anyone who inherited this harmful mutation. It's like we lack the "software" needed to repair extensive DNA damage therefore resulting to cancer.

While the standard care of chemo-surgery-radiation can "put out the fire" immediately, it's only a band-aid solution that comes with serious and toxic side effects. Since my repair mechanism is down, recurrence is almost very likely to happen in just a few years. I can't spend the rest of my life waiting for the next dreaded phone call that the cancer has returned. There must be something out there that will give me decades more to live and not just a few years into the future.

Noah has been my rock since then and more so now. We've cried and prayed together. He and the boys are the reason I could still smile even when so many things hurt at so many different levels. He's been scouring the internet for possibilities, for something closest to a cure we can find.  There are Cancer Vaccines, Immunotherapy, Gene therapy. There is HOPE.

After a consultation with a small private clinic in Texas that offers Immunotherapy and Gene Therapy, I was convinced that I've found a better and more effective treatment that can augment the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. Simply put, these treatments engage the body's own immune system to fight cancer as well as deliver a "patch" so the body can repair the cancer-causing gene. I lit up at that moment and felt joy that I've found HOPE.  This seems to be the answer to my prayers. But there is a major roadblock - Immunotherapy and Gene Therapy can't be paid through insurance. It will all come out of our pockets. 

Please help me with my fight against cancer.  The treatment comes with a very high price tag and none of this can be paid by insurance. For now, we're estimating a treatment period of 6-8 months. Below are the estimated costs from the clinic.


I'm knocking on the hearts of families, friends, friends of friends and even strangers to help me with my cause. I can't give up on my boys. I want to stick around long enough to watch them become men. I wish to babysit my grand kids. I long to grow old with Noah. And more importantly, I'm determined to find a cure not just for myself, but for my kids and everyone in my family.

Your help is greatly appreciated. My family will be forever grateful. Every donation takes me closer to a brighter and longer future. I am healed. May God bless you. 

Take care of yourself as well. Health is wealth. Will keep you posted. 



Philippine donations can be directed to my mother's local account. Details below:

Account name: Selfida Culala
Account #: 146002007775
Bank: Chinabank (Naga branch)

Thanks once again.
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$6,095 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 84 people in 2 months
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