On November 6, 2017, my sister and brother-in-law’s lives changed in the blink of an eye. My brother-in-law, Rick, was diagnosed with Chordoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine. It is part of a group of malignant bone and soft tissue tumors called sarcomas. The diagnosis came just 4 days after my sister started her new job. The next several months were filled with medical appointments and panic.
They were given some hope when Rick was quickly accepted into a 3 month clinical trial in an attempt to reduce the large tumour (grapefruit size) in his spine. Part way through the trial they were told that the tumour had continued to grow and they would have to withdraw from the study. The news was devastating. They were told the next step was radiation. Rick is currently having radiation 5 days a week for 5 weeks at Princess Margaret hospital. This means driving from Burlington to downtown Toronto every weekday, which makes it impossible for Nikki to work full-time. Luckily friends and family have been helping with the driving. If all goes well with radiation, major surgery will follow to attempt to remove the tumour. This will involve reconstruction of the spine and months of physiotherapy to hopefully regain some mobility. He has a long road ahead of him with much uncertainty. Rick and Nikki are currently meeting with multiple surgeons to prepare for the surgery.
Besides the physical and emotional tolls, fighting cancer can be an enormous financial burden, which is why I have turned to GoFundMe to fundraise for Nikki and Rick, in order to help with the expenses for meal prep, house cleaning, transportation, parking, loss of income as well as care and programming for their adopted son, Spencer (7 years old), who has special needs and requires special accommodation.
Their life has been turned upside down since the diagnosis and I am also concerned about Nikki's health while she takes care of Rick and her son, as she herself has an autoimmune disorder. It all sounds like too much to be true, but we have learned very quickly that anything can happen.
We would be so very grateful for any tiny bit of support our friends and family can give to them so we can focus on Rick’s care and recovery.
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