This is a very humbling position to be in. But through all this, I know what's most important to me is my family. And I need your help to protect them. We have helped many people throughout the years with the blessings God has given us, but now, my family needs your help.
My wife, Elizabeth, and I founded a company 11 years ago, Grunt Style, as I completely some of my duties in the Army. For years, I slept in my car, selling T-shirts out of the back of it, wherever I could across the country. We cashed in our retirement savings and put everything we had into Grunt Style. We were blessed and the company grew over the years into something special for the veteran and patriotic community. We hired hundreds of people. But then in 2014, Elizabeth was diagnosed with an aggressive for of breast cancer. The treatment was expensive, but an easy decision to combat it. And after 9 months of treatments of chemo, radiation, and surgery, she finally got a clean bill of health.
Years go by, and through the ups and downs of marriage, family, and running a business we are still making it. And in 2019, we decided to expand our family.
We got pregnant with twins!
Unexpectedly in 2019, we had an outside partner come into the business, which forced me to be removed from the CEO position and I lost control of the company that we started. Everything we had was invested into Grunt Style. But now we were left with no money, a minority equity, and just an employment contract. But that's ok, because I know what's most important to me now, my family.
Within a few months we got the scary news that we didn't see coming that threatened that: Liz's cancer had returned... and she was still pregnant.
She had many complications for months. Including need for multiple blood transfusions, anemia, gestational diabetes, a C-Section, and postpartum-preeclampsia. We spent a lot of time in hospitals together.
Through all this, things were scary, but on the 2nd of March, 2020, Ellie-Rose Nova and Eli Orion Alarik were the new brother and sister to our oldest son, Ethan.
The recent company transaction was still pretty fresh, when just a few weeks ago, we got the news that I was being terminated from the the company that we founded and built. We were devastated and shocked. We still are, especially since no reason was given to us. But the new leadership that came with the outside partners made their decision. This left us with no job, no income, no healthcare premium coverage.
Liz still has at least 12 more months of cancer treatments to go, which, unfortunately, because of my termination, has been interrupted temporarily. And then, a few days ago, we had another health problem dump into our laps with our 6 month old son, Eli.
Eli has a cranial deformity which requires special attention and equipment for the rest of this year and into the next. This is a little time sensitive as well, but still it's important to us.
I'm not here to complain about the cards we were dealt in life.
I'm not here to tell you to not buy from our old company, quite the contrary, there are good people there still.
I'm here, asking for your help, to help cover some of our health care costs over the next 12 months. The entire amount asked is for family COBRA coverage that we're now responsible for paying plus deductible.
We are proactively doing everything we can since we got the news of my termination. We're listing our house for sale and downsizing to a small rental. We stopped all of our extracurricular activities, and we're cutting our annual expenses by 2/3's.
I filed for unemployment while I look actively for work, and I'll do anything that can help feed and support my family during this time. There's no shame in any work that provides for your family.
We're doing everything, but still need your help.
I have no doubt that we'll be back on our feet someday. But that might take some time. In the meantime, what matters to me the most is my family. That's something that I hope can never be taken away. So please, if you find this story touching a human side of you, share this, and if you have been blessed with much, donate $5. You have my commitment that we'll pay you back, and it won't be soon, but we will always pay our debts. Thank you.
- Dan Cikota
- melissa fulghum
- Chris Walsh
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