Then, in 2012, the unthinkable happened to this big-hearted man: He was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Oligodendroglioma.
Bob was 39. His son, Alex, was 15 .
“My head was exploding all the time. I was seizing and puking,” Bob recalled. “But when I could think, what I really thought about more than anything was how I could take care of my son and my mom, who has COPD.”
So here’s the good news: Since Bob’s first surgery and treatments in 2012, he’s made a remarkable recovery. In only five years of admittedly arduous rehab – and he’s a big strong guy – he’s been cleared to work part-time, and is also looking into educational and especially volunteer opportunities with his church.
There’s been some progress in treatment of oligodendroglioma. It’s largely considered incurable, with recurrence likely and requiring more aggressive treatment each time. Thankfully, treatments with somewhat livable side effects, like steroids, can help keep recurrence at bay. It’s helped Bob a lot.
Predictably his tumor is still growing, and there’s another surgery in his future; but right now, managing the old debt so he can keep his car and other basic necessities will help him track toward the service-oriented recovery he needs.
And that’s the bad news.
While the 2012 attack occurred he was uninsured. Without the ability to work during his five-year rehab, he’s still saddled with crippling medical bills still outstanding from his two-and-a-half week stay in the ICU, chemotherapy and radiation. His current part-time wages, which you can imagine are not very large, are being used to pay those bills to an unlivable degree. In fact, the debt is threatening even the car that gets him to the part-time job that pays those years-old bills in the first place.
Between us, we’re not sure how Bob could have paid that medical debt during his five-year rehab. He couldn’t work. But Bob is the grateful sort who doesn’t shirk his responsibilities. He even lives with his mom to reduce costs for them both. We hope that by learning more about Bob, you’ll find it in your hearts to help him.
“I’m getting there, but I’ve got a ways to go,” he admits. Which is a tough thing for him to say. He’s never been known for patience. He’ll admit that too. Bob is driven by faith, family and community to give back as much as he can, whenever he can, however he can. He knows that serving others will help.
Which is to say, Bob is thinking more about how he can help others – not himself. “This experience has changed me completely,” he said. “I need to help others for as long as I can. I need the basics to do it.”
“Then all I need is to get there.”
Your gift will make an immeasurable impact on Bob, his family and his community. Be sure to check back weekly for updates on your impact.
Know that we thank you for your generosity and kindness. It’s people like you who bring the world together, one person at a time.
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- Chris Antosiewicz
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