Rick Doan's road to recovery

Imagine one day you’re making plans for the future, for your retirement years with your life partner.  Part of that vision is seeing your children grown, off to college and starting their own lives while you two are living in a nice little 3-bedroom house on two acres with a wrap-around porch where you can sit in a swing while sipping sweet tea, retelling the same old fishing stories over and over again.  Sounds like nice life goals, right?  But then, the next day comes and you get word from your doctor that you have colon cancer.

That is precisely what has happened to Rick Doan, his beautiful wife Christy and their 4 children.  Those who know the Doan family know them as an honest, hard-working, pay it forward, wonderful Christian family.  Those who do not know them will just have to believe me when I say, they are those adjectives and way more.

My husband, Bobby Barnard, and I know Rick and Christy through working at Indiana University East in Richmond, Indiana and have become blessed enough to call them our dear friends.  When Rick and Bobby met at IUE, Bobby was the sick one with kidney failure and all that while, Rick was there for him through it all.  Now it is our turn to be there for him and his family.

Last year Rick was just not feeling well and decided it was time to visit the doctor.  The words he heard were none any of us wants to hear – You have colon cancer and need surgery to remove some of your colon as well as chemotherapy treatment to stop the cancer from growing.  Off to surgery he went and onto the treatment he began.  And because I work with Rick too, I saw him almost daily when he was at work going through this.  You would NEVER know his trials or the burden he was bearing.  His smile and cheery personality always lights up the room.  Never does he wear his diagnosis on his sleeve, but rather he stands on his faith and strong belief that God is in control.  Many people do not even know that Rick has cancer.  He is not one to put himself into the spot light but rather uplift others so they can shine.

Several months went by and, as you can imagine, he was feeling like crap from the chemo but grateful to have his good days to spend quality time with his family.  Unfortunately, when the surgery was fully healed and the chemo treatments came to an end, the scan did not provide the results we had all hoped and prayed for.  In November of this past year, the doctors told Rick and Christy that the cancer had metastasized to the liver and lymph nodes.  Some discussion was had on what would be the best treatment.  With limited options, they chose to have a liver resection done.  So just 20 days before Christmas of 2017 Rick was back in surgery having 60% of his liver removed and several lymph nodes.  The surgery itself seemed to have went well according to the doctors but recovery was a bit harder than Rick had anticipated.  The surgery required his belly be cut diagonally from the top side clear to the hip area, quite a large incision.  He attempted to come back to work early because money was tight and getting tighter as anyone can imagine.  Then just last week at a follow up visit his liver numbers were not looking as good as they should be, actually declining and the doctors at Reid referred him back to IUHealth for further testing.  On Tuesday, January 30, after some testing they discovered there was a blockage in the bile duct.  From what is still unknown as the biopsy is not back yet.  The GI doctor ordered an ERCP stent with the intention of it opening the duct allowing for passage.  Unfortunately, before the night went away Rick suffered a pancreatic attack which cause him excruciating pain and caused him to be re-admitted to IUHealth for pain management. 

This road has been nothing but bumpy for the Doans.  With each day there still seems to be that big, ugly question mark of “what’s next.”  All through the surgery recovery, doctor visits, sick days from chemo, Rick has been missing time from work of course.  Although IU is extremely generous with its paid leave benefit, there is only so much available before you run out and FMLA has to kick in.  FMLA is wonderful at securing your position but when you miss work, it does not pay you which in turn makes it very difficult to pay the bills.  And Christy, of course, is having to miss work at her job at Reid hospital so that she can be by her husband’s side whenever possible. 

Like I said in the beginning, the Doans have been blessed with 4 amazing children.  The eldest, Mitchell, is in college.  Sarah is next, she is a brand-new college student who started her first year at IUE this past fall.  Grace is still in high school, just turned 17 as a matter of fact!  And Christian, he is their youngest and of course still at home.  Imagine yourself carrying the burden of caring for your wife, 4 children, and all the while struggling to keep your mind straight and set on healing.  How is one to heal with the burden of the mortgage, car payments, insurance deductibles, college educations, food, electric, gas, on and on and on?

Now just imagine.  Five days from now, you and 999 other people donate $10.00 each!  How wonderful for the Doans would that be?  More importantly, how wonderful would it be to relieve some of the stress that Rick is feeling because of the missed paychecks?  He would be able to turn his focus back to gaining his strength and off of paying the mortgage.  Can you help?

We are taking donations though this GoFundMe as well as any gift cards, or checks made payable to the family.  The Doans have stepped up and helped those less fortunately in their community time and time again both financially and emotionally, now is the time for us to step up for them.  Will you help?

If the link works, below is a clip from a testimony Rick gave on his journey and what it means to him.
  • Anonymous 
    • $40 
    • 52 mos
  • Rachel Johnson 
    • $15 
    • 52 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 52 mos
  • Tim Uhte 
    • $10 
    • 52 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 52 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Trish Barnard 
Richmond, IN
Christen Doan