44516496_157820215913930_r.jpeg44516496_1578202176186553_r.jpeg44516496_1578202197719807_r.jpeg44516496_1578202217920933_r.jpeg44516496_1578202244897199_r.jpeg44516496_1578202258725445_r.jpeg44516496_1578202278719530_r.jpegIt is with a very heavy heart that I share the devastating news that my mom and my best friend, Darla Blake, has been diagnosed with lung cancer - Adenocarcinoma in her right lung.  As some of you know, I helped her move from Palm Springs to be closer to me in Ensenada, Mexico, this past October due mainly to financial challenges and other health issues she was having.   She was diagnosed just a few weeks before the move and until now has not shared this with more than a couple of people. She feels ashamed and embarrassed to have to ask for help, but financially she has no choice. We don’t have any family members who can help us out…it’s just the two of us.  Although she has worked so hard since the age of 16 and given help to others so many times in her life, she never planned for her own retirement in case of a devastating illness such as this…how does anyone plan for this?  My mom has spent her entire life being of service to others and giving back. She worked with her international therapy dog, Lola in Hospice care for many years and this was one of her greatest joys.

Unfortunately, doctor’s appointments and treatment were delayed because she had to find new insurance (which is not very good) for San Diego and she had to find all new doctors.  She has now found a new treatment team at UCSD, Moores Cancer Center. The good news is after 13 CAT Scans, MRI’s, PET scans, Lung Punch Biopsies, Brain Scans, etc. – the Cancer has not spread beyond her lung.  Of course, we will not know if the lymph nodes near her heart are involved until after her surgery. However, she has a very long and expensive road ahead of her and her out of pocket costs will far exceed what she can afford (she lives solely on Social Security like so many Americans in their 70’s).  She has already racked up thousands of dollars of medical expenses from the above-mentioned tests and scans, deductibles, medical visit co-pays...and that number will only continue to climb as she receives treatment for the Cancer. 

My mom is a very proud woman and raised me to be the same.  She did not want me to start a Go Fund Me campaign for her, but I convinced her to let me do it.  Opening up and being vulnerable about her diagnosis, her pain and her financial challenges is not an easy thing, but we no longer have a choice, so I am reaching out to our friends and loved ones for help in this most difficult time.

I am assisting her as much as I can, but I, myself just had hand surgery  and I’m having to take a month off from working on facial clients.  We have already seen her pulmonologist, her oncologist and her cardiothoracic surgeon and are putting together a game plan for treatment.  It will most likely be a serious surgery where they cut out most of her right lung, possibly followed up by radiation. It is a long and difficult surgery due to where the Cancer is located. She will be in the hospital for 5 - 7 days and in terrible pain.  They will be removing lymph nodes near her heart to be sent to pathology along with the tumor.  We will not have those results until 7 – 10 days AFTER the surgery.  A lot of things are still up in the air in terms of her future treatment. Our goal is to raise $30,000.00 if possible.  Anything you can give is so appreciated.  If you are not comfortable donating via the Go Fund Me platform, you can donate via Pay Pal using the friends & family option to [email redacted] or contact my mom directly at that same email or via private FB message.

If you are unable to donate, I ask that you please share this with other friends, so we can get the word out to as many people as possible.  We also ask for your prayers and your support during this time.  We both thank you with love and gratitude from the bottom of our hearts!

Shawn Blake & Darla Blake

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