Neil's Voice and Cancer Fund

This is my little brother Neil, now 53 years old, but forever 12 in my eyes.

On June 12th he was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. This is a rare form of adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that forms in mucus-secreting glands throughout the body, most often seen in the breasts, lungs, prostate, pancreas or colon. In this case, it appeared in the back of Neil’s throat. It is normally a slow-growing cancer, but it is unpredictable and can spread to the skull. Because of its rarity, there is little information available for determining a treatment plan.

Neil went in for surgery on August 7th. The surgery went well, but the doctor was unable to remove as much of the tumor as she had hoped. She was leery about taking out any more because damage to the nerves in that area could result in his speech and swallowing being negatively affected for the rest of his life. Because of this, the plan was to have the rest taken care of with radiation. (The tumor is slow growing, but it's moving up a nerve and it's heading toward his brain).

There is now a hole in his hard palate that goes all the way through to the nasal cavity. The doctor had hoped it would grow over and heal, but that is not happening. The options are to have reconstructive surgery (very invasive) or to have an obturator (similar to a retainer) that will plug the hole. The doctor does not want to do reconstructive surgery because of the danger to his speech and swallowing. The obturator is the most logical way to go, but it is also the most expensive, particularly since their medical insurance doesn’t cover it because it’s considered a dental appliance and dental insurance doesn’t cover it because they consider it cosmetic.

We need your help. Neil is as generous, kind and fun-loving as anyone you will ever meet. He is a terrific brother, husband, father, and grandfather. He and his wife are in the process of adopting a beautiful curly-haired 2 year-old boy. The obturator’s cost ($17,000.00) is beyond their means, but it would mean that Neil could continue to read stories to his grandchild and adoptive son. What’s more, Neil has been unable to work. He does have some disability insurance, which helps, but it only covers a portion of what he made before the cancer.

Going forward, the road is uncertain. Neil will undergo treatment every day, Monday thru Friday for 6.5 weeks. He is scheduled for a simulation on September 5th where he will have more MRIs, be tattooed and have a mesh mask created for all of his procedures. 

On August 25, Neil went back to the doctor because he was worried he had an infection in his mouth. He did not have an infection, but they discovered that the cancer is more aggressive than previously thought. Neil will probably need a second surgery to remove his lymph nodes.

The obturator alone costs over $17,000. We do not know how long Neil will be out of work, and we have no idea how much more his medical care will cost in the coming year. Neil's insurance deductables and his out of pocket costs reset on January 1st. Your donation today will go towards his ongoing medical care, and to partly cover the cost of living while he is out of work.

Please, help however you can.  Donate. Share. Thank you.

  • Mark Poss 
    • $50 
    • 58 mos
  • Kari Priebe 
    • $50 
    • 58 mos
  • Chrissi Dicochea 
    • $25 
    • 61 mos
  • Brandon Fritz 
    • $50 
    • 62 mos
  • Gabby Menaker 
    • $50 
    • 62 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

David Barnes 
Tucson, AZ
Neil Barnes 

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