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Sam's Brain Fund - Family Travel & Other Expenses

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Hi everyone,

My name is Susie and I'm Sam Clark's partner.

Initial Hospitalization:
We’ve had a bit of a scary situation unfold. The basics are: on Friday morning, 2/17 Sam had a seizure with me at home. He had another one in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. We were taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Bushwick. They found a tumor on his brain on the MRI results.

We were then transferred to Lenox Hill Hospital which has an incredible neurology department. Sam is now under the care of a neurosurgeon who specializes in tumors. His name is Randy D’Amico (look him up!) and he is the best of the best. Sam could not be under the care of a better medical team. He is going to have surgery to remove the tumor from his brain on Monday, March 6th.

He was able to opt to come home in the meantime, so we have been back in Williamsburg since Sunday night, 2/19 where we are taking it easy until the surgery.

Brain Surgery:
The tumor is on his left temporal lobe just above his ear. The surgeon will have to do the surgery while Sam is awake so he can ensure that none of the important parts of his brain are damaged, particularly the speech center which is just beside the tumor. Sam will not feel any pain during this part. He’ll be asleep when they open up his head and close it but awake during the surgery itself.

Post Surgery Treatment / Future Prognosis:
He will then spend 1 full day in the ICU where they will wake him up once every hour to test his neurological functioning. He will then spend likely 1-4 more days in the hospital before they are able to release him and he will likely be able to go right home. It'll be a pretty quick surgery recovery luckily.

Post-surgery treatment will be dependent on what they find during the surgery and how the surgery goes, but will most likely involve radiation or chemotherapy. There is also a chance that he may possibly need speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or inpatient or outpatient rehab, though the doctor thinks it is unlikely he will need those this time.

The neurosurgeon said that there is a small chance he is wrong - that this is not a tumor but potentially MS. I never thought I'd be saying this, but MS would be amazing and best case scenario. We are still hopeful that this is a possibility, but unfortunately, what is most likely according to Dr. D'Amico is that this is a glioma which is brain cancer. If it is as he suspects, he will remove as much of the tumor as possible during the surgery on March 6th, though will likely need to leave a bit of a ring of it there to ensure that none of Sam's speech functions are affected because we all know Sam is a talker and we can't be messing with that.

If this is indeed a glioma, as the doctor suspects, the good news is Sam has a great medical team and this is treatable. The bad news is, a glioma is definitely terminal and will never go away completely no matter how much treatment Sam receives. The doctor has estimated that with treatment, the average life expectancy for Sam will be 10 about more years. It could be less, it could be more & medicine and neurological oncology are constantly having breakthroughs in treatments. Personally, I'm optimistic for more than 10 more years, but realistic that it may be less. I'm so sorry to deliver this news to you. It's quite heavy. I will also say that on the Friday morning this all began, I didn't know if I'd have another moment with Sam, so we are cherishing every day and will continue to do so.

There is still a chance that the doctor will open Sam up for the surgery and there will not be a tumor, but instead a lesion which will indicate MS which does not give us an expiration date and has an entirely different course of treatment.

Where the Donations Will Go:
We first want to say that luckily so far all of Sam's medical expenses are covered by his insurance, so as of right now, we do not need any financial assistance with medical bills. This may change and we will update our financial goal here if that happens.

With all of this being said, Sam's family all live on the other side of the world, in Australia. Travel expenses are thousands of dollars per person for flights and I want to make sure that the cost is not a burden or a factor in any of their decisions regarding whether to come to NYC to be with Sam during this time. We are fairly certain we have housing covered for them when they come, but in case that changes and we do need to source lodging, that will likely be costly.

Aside from helping fund Sam's family get here, we are alright financially so feel a bit peculiar posting this page, but are not too proud to say that we see a world where unforseen expenses may come up that we could use the help for. Cab costs are already adding up, as we're trying to avoid Covid, Flu, & Norovirus prior to surgery by not taking the subway too often if we can avoid it.

If you do not have the means to financially contribute, please don't, but if you have anything to spare it would be so appreciated.

Other Ways to Show Support:
  • If you aren't already subscribed, we will be continuing to post updates about Sam's health and this surgery on the CaringBridge Website I created linked here:
  • Please don't hesitate to reach out to Sam or me directly. Folks have expressed that they're worried about being a burden and I am here to tell you that you will not be a burden and it will be so appreciated. Feel free to add me on social media or ask Sam for my cell # if you want to connect, even if we don't know each other. We are taking this moment by moment and doing ok all things considered, but it's only because of your love and support.



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Fundraising team (2)

Susie Gannon
Brooklyn, NY
Samuel Clark
Team member

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