Rob Reilly Cancer Recovery Fund

As some of you may already know, our mutual friend Rob Reilly is a contender for "worst 2020 experience." He was laid off in March, had to sell his house, and then, just as he was getting back on the job market, learned that he has Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer (genetic lottery), currently inoperable due to one of the masses being entangled with arteries. Yesterday (December 15th) Rob started chemo to shrink the tumors enough to reduce the risk of surgery. Surgery will then be followed by more chemo. We estimate he is looking at 6 to 12 months of intensive treatment. The impact on his ability to work is not yet clear.

Economically, this could not have hit at a worse time. He is at an extended stay hotel near Kellogg Cancer Center but needs to move to an independent apartment ASAP to reduce COVID-19 risk from immunosuppression (already high due to asthma). Luckily, he still has COBRA health insurance and access to great doctors, but it is expensive and his reserves are dwindling fast. He does not have enough cash on hand to make it through the winter.

So, we are asking if his friends can help him through this frightening time. His ex-partner (my dear friend Alison Kohn, who is also unemployed right now) has found a modest apartment that Rob’s family will backstop. We are in the process of applying for what public assistance might be available, but the timing and amount is uncertain. Reducing the economic stress of this situation will greatly improve Rob's chances of recovery (he also had a major blood clot [DVT] and hypertension due to the tumors).

With housing, food, medical expenses, and transportation, Rob's expenses will be about $4000 a month for the next six months, so we are hoping to raise at least $24,000. 

If you are in the Chicago area and you have a reliable used vehicle you could lend him, or can offer owner-financing for, that would also be a big help.

Thank you for coming to the rescue in the spirit of mutual aid. I don't make this request lightly, but I know that Alison and Rob would do the same for me (for us) if our positions were reversed.

Feel free to contact me if you have other suggestions or resources that you think might help.


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  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 7 hrs
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 10 hrs
  • Bachner Kevin 
    • $100 
    • 13 d
  • Miruna Zamfirescu 
    • $100 
    • 14 d
  • Mark Rubin 
    • $200 
    • 18 d
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Shannon Dawdy 
Chicago, IL
Robert Reilly 
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