For those of you that don't know Mike personally I'd like to share a little about him. Mike is 57 years old, he has been married for 38 years to my mom Vickie, has 2 adult sons (my younger brother and me) and 2 grandchildren. He has been an extremely hard worker his entire life providing for his family, at the time he was diagnosed he was the Quality Team leader for Topy America. He has worked for Topy for a total of 23 years, 18 years for the first time and then after a 5 year break working for himself he returned for the last 5 years. He has always been a loving and supportive husband and father but anyone that knows him will tell you his grandkids are the apple of his eye and to them no one can compete with “Papaw.”
Both my dad and mom were very hesitant and against this Go Fund Me campaign in the beginning as they have never asked or wanted to ask for anyone for help their entire lives, but after considering the road ahead I was able to convince them to agree to it. Unfortunately at the time of diagnosis, which is common with pancreatic cancer, Mike was already in extreme pain which has resulted in him not being able to return to work. Mike’s income accounted for 60-65% of their total income so without him being able to work they are having to not only meet their current living expense on 40% of the money they were but also having to pay for additional medical expenses as well. Mike did have short term disability however after taxes and paying for health insurance that is only bout 10% of what he was making per week. While my brother and I have/are helping where we can we know that the expenses are going to exceed what we are capable of assisting with.
To give you a little insight to his treatment; after being dissatisfied with the care, treatment options, or the outlook given from what was available locally we began looking elsewhere for treatment. After extensive research we decided to seek treatment at Vanderbilt University as they have an excellent Pancreatic Cancer Center and are one of the leading hospitals in Pancreatic Cancer advancements. While this level of care and treatment has been amazing it does come with added expense even with medical insurance.
The money raised by this campaign will go towards the medical expenses and travel to and from treatments at Vanderbilt University. Those expenses have already started to accumulate with multiple scans, doctors appointments, 2 biopsies (as the first one done locally was not performed well), and travel to and from Nashville. Additionally he had to go to the ER yesterday and as I type this Mike is currently admitted to the hospital to have his gall bladder removed after an infection caused by the complications from the cancer. Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive cancer and treatment must be aggressive and rapid so the urgency for this campaign is very high.
For those who don't know currently there is no known cure for pancreatic cancer only treatment to manage symptoms, pain, and to prolong life. While Mike knows that it’s going to be a hard fight he is determined to do everything he can to try and beat this. The good thing he has going for him is prior to his diagnosis and the current issue with his gall bladder he has been in great health, so the doctor said he is in very good shape to begin aggressively treating the tumor. Vanderbilt also has many clinical trials that can be tried as well to try if the initial treatment doesn’t provide positive results. From the initial consultation with the pancreatic specialist at Vanderbilt we truly feel that it is the best place to help on the road to recovery.
While it’s not easy to come to everyone for help in this situation the need is very great and urgent and we appreciate any contribution you could make no matter how small! I will do my best to keep the campaign updated as his treatment progresses. God bless you all and even if you can’t contribute monetarily please keep Mike in your prayers.