Rick Bourdeau

I am Tracey Hendrickson. Our family is friends with the Bourdeau family and has been for over 10 years. We have watched our children grow together and at times helped eachother raise them! As a lot of you know it takes a village. I am now asking for our villages help. On March 14th, Rick was diagnosed with base of tongue cancer. He had noticed a lump in his neck while shaving in January. He went to the doctor and they initially thought it was an infection left over from a respiratory illness he had in December. After antibiotics didn't do anything, he went in again earlier this month. A CT scan showed a mass originally thought to be on his tonsil, along with a large and necrotic lymph node. Then began their whirlwind, unexpected journey. Tests, trips to the cities, PET scan have resulted in stage T1N1 base of tongue cancer. It appears it was caught early and his prognosis of curability is 90%. However, a team of specialists determined that surgery was not the best option right now due to that broken down lymph node. Instead, Rick will be starting 6-7 weeks of radiation along with 3 rounds of chemotherapy. Treatment will start in a few weeks after some prep and more appointments are done.

Rick is strong and has otherwise always been healthy. We are confident he will beat this and live a long life, but he has a tough road ahead. Doctors have told him to anticipate being out of work for about 6 months. Everyone handles the treatment differently, but neck radiation is very tough to go through.

Rick is a concrete worker in northern Minnesota. This means that his work season typically only runs until November, and then he collects unemployment in the off season. He will be missing most if not all of his work season this year, which will also greatly effect his unemployment eligibility next winter. So the family is facing a year of little or no income for him. Not many can plan for something like that! He does not qualify for social security disability as this type of cancer requires a medical leave of absence from work of 1 year. Even if he did, it's still not enough to pay the bills. (That is our understanding at this point). His union's short term disability is barely enough to pay for groceries.

Rick is the primary and only dependable income for his family of 5. These added financial pressures are putting large amounts of extra stress on the family. They hope to be able to stay in their home at least long enough for rick to get through his treatment and feeling better. Which is what their focus should be on. They have three children ages 16, 14, and 10 and the family really wants to keep the kids lives as "normal" as possible through this hard time.

Our fundraising goal may seem high, but this is to help replace loss of income, medical expenses, and living expenses. Amy will also be taking time from work (self employed) to be Rick's primary caregiver during his treatment. Any help that you can give will be greatly appreciated and will help this family worry less about finances, and put their energy into beating this awful cancer and getting Rick healthy again.

This is a family who will be paying it forward after Rick is healthy again. Spirits are high for a full recovery but they could really use your help. This was extremely difficult for Rick because he is usually the giver. I know from experience. This is a man after a long day of work helped my husband until 1 am in the morning put in hundreds of pounds of quartz countertop into our new kitchen and never asked for anything in return. There’s never a better cause than to help out a local family. Keep the Bourdeau family in your prayers, as many of you know cancer affects the whole family. 
Thank you very much


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Organizer and beneficiary

Tracey Kirsling-Hendrickson 
Duluth, MN
Amy Bourdeau 
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