My sister, Mary Pharr Erickson, was just diagnosed with a cancer of unknown origin. She is only 32 years old and fighting for her life. Her journey started three years ago with a battle with infertility. After a variety of specialist visits and OB/GYN appointments, Mary was diagnosed with a rare form of endometrial cancer in March, 2019. This diagnosis was surprising because endometrial cancer typically only happens in obese or post-menopausal women. We have no answers as to why or how she got it. After multiple surgeries, procedures, and hormone therapy, Mary was cleared of the cancer in October 2019. Two weeks later, Mary was pregnant! Mary and her husband, Jae, welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Gwendolyn Ruby Erickson, on August 5th, 2020. It was assumed that the cancer was gone, and no follow up appointments were made to ensure this was the case.
Fast forward to late October, and Mary was feeling nauseous and had fevers for two weeks. It’s 2020, so doctors were passing it off as Covid and wouldn’t see her until she got a test. She was so tired, achy, and nauseous with fevers in all temperature ranges. Mary went to Urgent Care Sunday, November 1st and took a Covid and a flu test (knowing she didn’t have it). She also explained that her liver seemed to feel large. The doctor performed a CT scan and an ultrasound to look further. Well….it’s not Covid, it’s cancer…again. The CT scan showed tumors all over her liver, some in the lungs, one near her appendix, and swollen lymph nodes. New symptoms sent her to the ER on November 8th, and she spent 5 days at the hospital getting IV fluids and medicine to get her blood chemistry back to normal. Liver and endometrial biopsies were inconclusive as to exactly what type of cancer Mary has, so the samples were sent to the experts at the Mayo Clinic to determine where the cancer originated from. While she waits, a series of chest x-rays, an endoscopy, and a colonoscopy were performed, all resulting in no new information. As of November 12th, we still don't know the type of cancer or the site of origin! Knowing the site of origin is critical because it dictates which treatments will be effective at fighting the cancer. This has been one unlikely scenario after another, and the unknowns have been especially hard to deal with. We're just hoping the Mayo Clinic or an upcoming PET scan can shed some light on this and Mary can start chemo ASAP.
Mary owns a wonderful small business, but all of the festivals and shows have been canceled this year due to Covid. These festivals are her main source of income. Jae is taking time off work to take care of Mary until she gets better. Mary deserves the best care in the world right now, and some of the treatments and facilities are not being covered by insurance. Medical bills, specialist visits, and out-of-network care bills are about to start piling up. We want to start this fundraising now so we can help them stay on their feet. They are already overwhelmed with stress from fighting cancer and taking care of their sweet baby girl. We are asking for donations to help take away some of the burden on Mary and Jae. Anything you can give would be something we could never show enough gratitude for but would forever be thankful for. And please also continue to pray for this fighting family! We will update this page as we learn more!
Thank you and God bless!!
- Jessica Schell
- David Leach
- Rachel Martel
- Koryn Holden
Organizer and beneficiary
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