In 2008, my mom, Donka, was diagnosed with stage IV invasive breast cancer. She was still in her thirties at the time... I remember the day she told me and my brother, Martin, 22, like it was yesterday. I can still hear the words "slim survival rate" and "this is not going to be easy" echo in my head. We never let ourselves appear weak in front of her because we knew that she needed every drop of strength and support she could get from everyone around her, but things were just really slow and really sad for a long time. Regardless, my mom is one of the strongest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing in my entire life. She struggled to hold her head up through countless surgeries, doctor's appointments, chemotherapy sessions, radiation sessions, and medications for years. She kept a smile on her face as often as she could and opened my eyes to bigger things in life. I remember being by her side, taking care of her to the best of my ability. Her diagnosis made me and my brother grow up and take on hefty responsibilities a lot quicker than we were supposed to. Unfortunately, we had never been on the greatest terms financially, either, and this often introduced fresh complications on top of the big bully here (the cancer...). Luckily, though, an army of close family and friends stayed by her side through thick and thin. Also, the care she was given by Karmanos and the Taubman Center at the University of Michigan was so beneficial. After a mastectomy, lymphadenectomy, and several years of treatment and healing later, my mom was cancer free. She was alive and slowly returning to who she was before this obstacle prevented her from being all that she could be.
Some new pain in my mom's back that began this summer of 2013 sparked some of her curiosities. The pain eventually became so severe that she could no longer be up long enough to fulfill the demands of her job. After trying to brush the problems aside as basic muscle and nerve pain for quite some time, some testing finally revealed the bitter, unbelievable truth... the cancer is back. This time, it has spread to her bones. This time, she doesn't want to endure the deteriorating, weakening effect of chemicals and radiation that kill healthy, vital cells along with the cancerous ones. This time, she understands how much courage and perseverance she needs to make it out alive. This time, there is no room for sadness. No room for weakness. There is only room for success. She keeps telling me it's okay to let it out and be sad, but there's no time for that. I want to see my mom's smiling face for more than just a little bit longer. I need her to make it through this. The first time around was a detrimentally life-changing experience for everyone in her inner circle, most particularly my mom herself. We can't lose. Not this time.
My mom is currently unemployed and faces challenges in her life every single day with basic tasks such as getting dressed and driving which should not take as huge of a toll on her as they do. I have created this website in hopes of informing those around me and those who do not know my mom and me about our current situation and our urgent need of help. Mama needs to make it to the Oasis of Hope Cancer Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico for alternative cancer treatments. She is afraid to undergo the radiation again, every time she hears the word it makes her cringe and I can see the pain it brings back to her. Life is not going to be easy for anyone at this point. However, sadness and weakness are not allowed. As a team, I know we can get through this. I know we can save my mom. This is the second time around... and I'm scared... but that fear is leading me to do everything in my power to save this beautiful woman. We did it once, and we're gonna do it again.
Thank you for your time, I appreciate it with everything in me.
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