Help Richard Fight Cancer!

Four and a half years ago at age 24, I thought I had beaten Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a blood cancer that mostly affects young adults.  After completing six cycles of tough chemotherapy and a month of radiation, I was given excellent odds of being in the lucky 80-90% who stay in remission.  My PET scans showed the disease was gone and I slowly got back to living a life that wasn’t all about medical appointments. During the next four years, I took classes, raised my son, got an apartment and started working as a Catering Captain at Zesty. I really enjoyed the work environment and friendly team, while memories of my cancer ordeal faded from everyday thoughts.

However, this year all of that changed when a blood test in my annual check-up was abnormal, even though I was feeling well.  After more tests, PET scan and biopsy, in April 2018 I received the devastating news that my cancer had returned. This time the treatment is far more aggressive and extensive. After completing four rounds of a different chemotherapy called BvB, a PET scan showed there was still an active spot, so now I am having to do another even more difficult chemo called ICE to get into remission.  As soon as that is accomplished, I will be starting an autologous stem cell transplant at Stanford. This is my best chance for beating Hodgkin’s once and for all. It requires a month of preparation for harvesting my own stem cells, a month of hospitalization at Stanford and then at least a few more months at home recovering, all during which time I will be unable to work.

This entire ordeal is very difficult financially as well as physically.  I was able to work part-time during the BvB treatment, but now with ICE, I can’t work because it affects your blood counts and ability to fight infection. I won’t be able to work again until I recover from the stem cell transplant.  I still have to meet my living expenses of being a single parent and keeping a roof over my nine year old son’s head. There are also many additional costs associated with being hospitalized down in Palo Alto while living in Oakland. Unfortunately, I was hospitalized for my biopsy during the few days we had to sign up for benefits and therefore won’t be getting any short-term disability through Zesty.  My state disability insurance will be very limited because I was a 1099 contractor during the “base period” used to calculate benefits. I would really appreciate any help you could provide to help relieve the financial part of this battle. Thanks to all who can contribute any amount while I face the greatest challenge of my life.

Donations

  • Gail and Lewis Rubman 
    • $100 
    • 13 mos
  • Kevin Meehan 
    • $150 
    • 18 mos
  • Jennifer Gibbs 
    • $57 
    • 18 mos
  • Sara Buscemi  
    • $50 
    • 18 mos
  • Diane Amato 
    • $50 
    • 18 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Bianca Knisely 
Organizer
Oakland, CA
Richard Straesser 
Beneficiary
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more