Metastatic Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Brain Cancer
Late Stage - Weeks?
What's at stake?
Dion Richardson of Lynchburg, Virginia has late stage cancer that metastasized in his liver and probably originated in his lungs. There were no warnings or lingering coughs. No indication that something was tragically off-course. In 4 weeks it went from "I feel bad" to "You are incurable, get your affairs in order".
I’ve shared his story in hopes that it will touch someone, maybe more, and that as a community you can help him and his family. If there was ever a family in need of a mircale they are it. They are worth your time and your heart.
That one word describes how I came to know, become friends with and eventually love Dion ('DOY-uhn') like a brother. I met him over 14 years ago when I was desperate and literally at the end of my rope. I had lost my share of a company I helped found and was ready to throw in the towel.
The litigation was nasty. I needed someone who would listen, take a leap of faith and really look at the law. By chance, a friend of a friend had met Dion in court (Dion beat my friend) and was so impressed with him that he threw me Dion’s name (probably to just get rid of me). With no other options, I set out one Tuesday and took that serendipitous drive to Lynchburg, VA that He put into my life.
The outcome of my legal case is immaterial....but won. Crippled. Forced to shut down. Dion maneuvered our side into a position of bargaining power, just as he said he would do, and his beliefs, convictions and optimism were seared into my mind and soul forever.
We became close during the legal battle and over the years have become best friends and talk almost daily, sometimes more. He's got 15 years on me in age but we're kindered souls and he's that positive spirit everyone needs in their life.
Knowing that I don’t have much time left with him makes my heart break for his family and their loss; it devastates me that I’m loosing a dear friend. He would give you the shirt off his back and would never flinch if needed. Once he literally dropped what he was doing and drove 8 hours to help me. He didn’t pack. He didn’t even grab a toothbrush. That’s a friend.
I’m just one of the many lives he’s touched and shined his jubilant optimism. Dion is ‘that’ guy that believes in his faith, his Savior and that he is simply the effect of His cause. Dion often tells me, “Brutha man, everything happens at the exact time and exact place it’s supposed to.” He has been a beacon of hope and faith for so many through the years - now he and his family need some of that same hope.
Hindsight often softens the rough edges of reality and it's never fair that the ones we love are part of the bigger plan, but Dion, his family and his friends are all praying for a miracle.
Dion admits he “uses his body like a tool” and we could all do more preventitve medicine, but nothing justifies or explains the speed of his sickness and the depth of its trajectory.
About 4 weeks ago Dion came down with bronchitis. Thinking nothing of it he grudgingly took antibiotics and felt a little better. Not one to wait around, rest or remain idle he was soon on his back fixing his car ("Why pay a mechanic when I can do it?"). Elbow grease, determination and go-go-go – that’s Dion. He thought he must have strained his stomach muscles because they were so sore the next day he couldn’t sit up
This pain didn’t subside and concern grew exponentially with his discomfort...and then his pain hit 11 out of 10. As his friend I felt helpless being so far away and though he’s tough as nails, his pain had him on the floor, doubled over. Despite the pain, he was certain it "was nothing" (Yeah. Sure buddy. I can see the entire outline of your liver poking out of your side. I'm sure it's nothing.)
Despite this pain Dion just took it like it was his job. "J, it's out of my hands and I'm simply the effect of His cause". I honestly think he took some comfort those days knowing he was doing what was asked of him. It’s like he was saying, “OK, wow – this hurts. A lot. Thank you Lord, is there anything else you’d like of me today?”
I didn’t have a front row seat and Dion’s constitution can sometimes render him stubborn, but his family and I banded together on this one. Finally, like a scene from Mission Impossible, we got him to the doctor and while we feared for the worst they prayed for the best.
It's probably nothing, right?
“You have liver and lung cancer."
"It’s incurable. "
"Get your affairs in order.”
No one can prepare to digest those words. You don’t even say them out loud at first because the mind has a hard time verbalizing such horrendous, tragic honesty. Dion’s family just celebrated the wedding of his oldest daughter this summer and he bounded with pride, energy and enthusiasm. Up until 4 weeks ago healthy was the status quo; but in 4 weeks he has deteriorated so fast while absorbing tremendous amounts of pain.
Like any family patriarch Dion has worked tirelessly his entire life to provide and support for his family. Dion and and his wife Karen have raised three amazing, bright, respectful, smart, honest, and loving kids who will set the world on fire. If riches were doing things right, being there for kids, guiding your family spiritually and doing what was needed then they are the richest in the land.
As an attorney, however, Dion chose a nobler path then say billion dollar torts. Dion has served the community of Lynchburg and all the surrounding areas for almost 20 years representing those in need as a court-appointed attorney. The toll, however, in working with kids, commitment hearings and seeing families torn apart isn’t for everyone and his commitment to the area is a testament to his love for everyone.
Dion and his family would never voluntarily ask for assistance and their pride runs deep. Therefore I've created this campaign for his family asking, praying, hoping that people are out there that want to help. The deluge of doctors, CT scans, MRI's, hospital stays, medicine, bills and his inability to work have them on the precipitous of a financial crisis.
Dion’s condition and level of health should have him in the hospital, but due to the additional costs to his family and hospital they’ve decided isn’t worth it. He checked out, voluntarily.
He’s now home but requires full-time help and either his wife needs to stay with him, or try to find a job. This is the reality of a dying loved one and things we take for granted instantly become luxuries. Due to the waiting period from Obamacare last year, Dion is still 1 month out on health insurance so they have no health insurance and there is no life insurance or disability.
If he doesn't try cases, he doesn't make money so all income ceased over 6 weeks ago. Keeping the lights on, basic food in the fridge, things to ease Dion's pain - those are the essentials that are in limbo.
Dion will not be able to undergo any real treatment due to the aggressiveness of the cancer, his condition and weakened state. The oncologist was shocked he hadn’t exhibited symptoms any sooner due to his ravaged liver. He is unable to sit up and his consciousness is sporadic throughout the day, leaving his wife and children to cherish what time they have left while unsure how they will take care of him with no source of income. They are selling their phones and other items around the house as the last 4 weeks was brutal on their savings. Selfpay at the doctor's office is modern day robbery.
What can you do? What will you do?
I ask that anything you give, offer, part with, sell, donate....anything that can help their family eat, pay the basic bills and keep their house payment just 2-3 months behind. Their immediate needs are funds for medicine, utilities and food.
Stroke a big check and be ‘that guy/that girl’.
Give any amount.
Re-gift a gift card.
Or send .25 cents, seriously.
It adds up my friends. Do something to help this family cope with loosing a husband of over 40 years, a father that hung the moon, a friend that defines friend, a man convinced of his faith and a relentless litigator for the ones that truly needed it.
Do something, please.
Save Dion and his family.
I’ve never written a plea for help and hope that the honesty inspires some to help. Even if you don’t donate to Dion, search for someone in your area that needs help. Reach out – offer something. It could be as simple as watching someone’s dog while they get a round of chemo. The little things help families cope with a dying loved one and this has opened my eyes and heart immensely. If you have any questions please ask.
- Gail Richardson
- Tom and Julie Regan
- Karen Brown
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