So, here is the back story…
I was diagnosed in November of 2012 with a very rare type of cancer called Chondrosarcoma. Several operations were done to try and remove it but eventually it took my right arm and shoulder in May of 2014. The cancer has metastasized now. I currently have 15 active spots invading my lungs. When people notice me in public, they have no choice but to notice the physical loss that I have. Seeing anyone with only one arm will immediately cause anyone to ponder what happened to that person. What they don’t see is what I have gained through this experience. I recently wrote a letter to cancer the other week prior to knowing that this fundraiser was going to take place. I feel it is critical to share it with you all now. It went like this…
I must thank you. Thank you for everything you've brought me since being diagnosed. I've gained faith, a wife, new family members, new friends, and perspective on what life means. Most likely, I would not have any of those things without you.
I used to hate you because I realized I didn't know you. I learned a lot about you since you've become a part of my life. To hate you means that I hate myself because you are a part of me. You are made up of my cells. You just didn't know how to die off correctly. Guess what? I'm messed up too and I'm not sure how to die correctly either.
You have been my enemy for over 4 years now. You've taken parts of my body, my mind at times, and most hobbies that I enjoyed. I'm called to pray for my enemies, so I will start to pray for you. I pray that you will start to be understood more clearly. I also pray that you will one day find peace and rest as well.
I wrote that after receiving news that no one ever wants to hear. The experimental trial that I am on will soon be stopped because the cancer has grown past the threshold for the study to continue. Obviously, if it is still growing, the treatment is not working. I truly feel that I am already healed. I know that one day my body will rest inside this Earth whether it is in a couple of years or 50 years from now. We are all terminal. Death has a 1:1 ratio and no one has ever escaped its grasp. I’m healed because I know where I’m going after this. I’m going to a place void of pain, suffering, and death.
The reasoning behind this fundraiser is to open myself up to a very uncomfortable situation and ask for help from people. My pride is my biggest downfall. It’s time that I get out of my own way and allow people to help me and my family. We would be eternally grateful if you decide to help us and I can’t promise that I can ever pay it back. Help is not always monetary. We would love for you just to pray for us as we continue down this uncertain path. Prayer has kept me alive this long because the doctors believe that I should have been dead 2 years ago. There is no explanation on why the cancer is growing so slowly. I will promise that I will continue to pay it forward. I will continue to share my testimony and give a message of hope to people who feel swallowed up by their circumstances. That being said, if you would like me to speak to anyone, I am up for the opportunity. I openly volunteer to help anyone that I can.
With love and gratitude,
Brandon, Jordan, and Stella
- Bryan Gilbert
- Jennifer Thompson
Organizer and beneficiary
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