In July of 2019, Barnegat Animal Clinic receptionist, Bonnie Price, received news that would rock her to her core. Her husband, Wayne, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Squamous Cell Lung Cancer. Bonnie started working for BAC over 10 years ago and she and Wayne have been beloved members of our BAC family ever since. She is known to the owners, her co-workers, clients and patients as a compassionate no nonsense woman with a heart of gold. Bonnie and Wayne met over 40 years ago on her birthday. From the moment they met they felt as though they had known each other forever. They have been best friends since that night. Wayne drove one of the original monster trucks which was a 57 Willys that he had built from the ground up with his sidekick and best friend, Bonnie, always at his side cheering him on. They married 3 years after their first meeting. After 9 years they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Katelyn. It was a difficult pregnancy that left Bonnie sick and on bed rest from 6 months on. Wayne cared for Bonnie 24/7. From the first moment Wayne held his Katelyn in his hands, she has been his angel. Bonnie says they have the most incredibly awesome relationship.
Wayne is one of those people that never gets sick. Then he started losing weight and having difficulty swallowing. Bonnie went to the doctor with him for his initial appointment and their lives have been forever changed since. His tumors were pressing on his esophagus causing the swallowing difficulties. The doctors dis not want to wait for biopsy results; they wanted to start chemotherapy and radiation immediately. Every day they waited to start treating Wayne was a risk to his survival. This is then they hit the first roadblock with insurance. Insurance was insisting on waiting on results of the biopsy before approving the start of any treatments. Bonnie refused to watch her husband die before her eyes waiting for approvals from insurance. She fought the insurance company before they finally relented and approved the start of treatment.
Bonnie searched and fought to give Wayne every chance. She found a protocol used in the original Keytruda trial pertaining to squamous cell lung cancer. This protocol was only approved for this type of cancer months prior to Wayne's diagnosis. This was all possible because of his oncologist, Dr. Paul Chung and Wayne's amazing team of doctors, including Dr. Corey Langer, the director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. After 2 cycles of the Keytruda protocol, Wayne and Bonnie got amazing news. Scans showed that Wayne was beating numbers in the original study; his tumors had shrunk by over 50% across the board. Not only that, one of the largest tumors was now destroying itself. Unfortunately, their joy was short lived when Wayne was admitted to the hospital a week later with pneumonia. His pneumonia was only the tip of the iceberg. With the damage to his esophagus from chemotherapy, radiation, cancer, and an undiagnosed fungal infection, Wayne developed a large fistula in his esophagus. This fistula was draining infection and fluid into a cavity in his chest. The doctors felt Wayne was not strong enough to survive surgery to fix the fistula. After being in ICU/CCU for over a week, Wayne was strong enough to have surgery and stents were placed in his esophagus. A few days later the doctors were able to determine that Wayne had a fungal infection throughout his GI tract. Medications were changed and Wayne is now currently back at home.
Even though Wayne is home, he requires 24/7 care. Wayne has not worked since early July and Bonnie has worked about 2 weeks in that time. They are unable to keep their family home and are trying to get it ready to be sold so they can move into a home they can afford. They are struggling to pay all of their bills and there is the looming medical bills coming in. As much as we at Barnegat Animal Clinic miss Bonnie, we want her to be able to be at her husband's side, fighting for him and being his ray of hope. We are hoping to raise $20,000 for Bonnie and Wayne to get them through Christmas. We are hoping to get them ahead on their mortgage, other bills, and be ready for upcoming medical bills. We want Bonnie to continue to be at Wayne's side, fighting for him every step of the way.