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Support Hans with Terminal Cancer

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Hans is not giving up and he needs our help.
 
Hi everyone,
 
My name is Ali and I’m trying to raise funds for my little brother Hans who’s been diagnosed with terminal Stage 4 Bowel Cancer at 28yrs old.
 
Hans has been battling this disease since July last year, undergoing a series of surgeries, chemotherapy, tests and scans at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. The journey has been extremely tough for him and those around him especially during the strict lockdown and hospital visitation rules in place for most of 2021 and early 2022 due to Covid.
 
The events that unfolded over the past year always had odds stacked against him with bad news upon more bad news. The surgery that was supposed to save his life ultimately ended in failure but still left him in ICU for several days followed by another 2 weeks in hospital.
 
To be told that he only had 12 more months to live hit us all extremely hard. He has always been there in my life and it seems so unfair because Hans is one of the nicest and kindest guys you’ll ever meet, and he certainly doesn’t deserve any of this. His life was only just beginning as he got married recently and planned to start a family. It’s heartbreaking to write this as it’s so confronting, but I want to get his story out there.
 
Since his terminal diagnosis, Hans quit his job to focus on his health, and his wife Gill has had to scale back from full-time work to casual work to spend more time together. Because of this, their incomes have been impacted significantly and whatever savings they have are diminishing as they continue to incur hefty medical bills on top of their usual cost of living expenses.
 
How you can help.
 
We all feel helpless that we can't do any more for him but we still want to do everything we can to help Hans fight this fight with cancer. So I’m reaching out to everyone who can help by supporting him financially during this extremely difficult time.
 
The $50k goal would help cover out-of-pocket medical expenses for the next 12 months. In addition, the funds raised would go towards ongoing alternative treatments with Integrative Oncology that complement or enhance chemotherapy to help slow or potentially reduce the cancer tumors that have metastasized throughout his body. This would also help alleviate the day-to-day discomfort experienced by the side effects of chemotherapy.
 
The truth is, not long ago, Hans was reluctant to start this campaign but after some convincing, he's finally acknowledged that a little help could go a long way. I couldn’t be more proud of him for being as strong as he is, even in the darkest of times, and I hope we can all rally behind him to show our support.
 
Any donation, no matter how big or small, recurring or non-recurring, would be a huge help, and we would be forever grateful.
 
Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.
 
Below encapsulates Hans’s story written by himself for those who want to understand the depth of the struggles he’s faced and is currently facing.
 
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Hi, for those who don’t know me, my name is Hans.
 
In January 2022, at the age of 28, I was deemed a terminal case with less than 12 months to live.
 
Some of our family and friends know the gist of what’s going on in my life right now, but probably not to the extent I’m about to share here.
 
In July 2021, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer. As you can imagine, it was a diagnosis I didn’t expect at all. It’s something you never think would ever happen to you until it does. I attended the emergency department multiple times, being sent home twice with no diagnosis or proper treatment plan apart from “come back if the pain gets worse” because I was “young and healthy”.
 
Unfortunately, the pain did get worse and right before being sent home a third time, they reluctantly prescribed a CT scan which confirmed a mass in my colon. They proceeded to do a laparoscopy the next day, which involved accessing my abdomen with cameras via 3 incision sites to check if the mass was cancerous or not.
 
My wife, Gill, and I waited anxiously before the doctors came to tell us the results. None of the nurses could offer any further information apart from that “the doctors would be with us shortly”. 3 doctors finally walked into my room at the end of the day to deliver the news - I had cancer. Not only that, but they found that it had metastasized to my peritoneum, which was another big blow. Unfortunately, this is a type of metastasis that is rarely responsive to chemotherapy because of the lack of blood supply to the area. The only option for a good prognosis was if I was deemed “operable” and if they were able to remove all visible cancer. Nevertheless, the doctor’s words that I could be “cured” was something we held onto desperately.
 
Since then I’ve had multiple planned and unplanned hospital admissions, surgical procedures, and as of writing this, I’ve already had 18 cycles of chemotherapy.
 
The original plan was for me to have chemotherapy before surgery (to try and shrink the biggest tumor in my colon and to prevent further spread), followed by surgery to remove all visible tumors, followed by more chemotherapy to try and get rid of any leftover circulating cancer cells. The goal was to get me to a state where I had no evidence of disease and hope that the cancer didn’t come back.
 
We found that after 8 cycles of chemotherapy (first line for this type of cancer), I had no significant response to the treatment. They did another laparoscopy only to find that the tumours that were seeded around my peritoneum had spread some more.
 
It felt as though the 4 months I spent on treatment was in vain. This now placed me in the grey area of operable vs. inoperable. But because of my young age the doctors decided to give the full surgery a go after a month break from chemotherapy (which was necessary prior to surgery).
 
The full surgery is called Cytoreductive Surgery with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy. It’s basically a big surgery where they remove any organ that has been affected by the tumors: usually peritoneum, omentum, spleen, appendix along with large colon, sometimes parts of the small intestine; some women have a full hysterectomy as well, just to name a few. They also put the heated chemo into the abdomen and shake you around for an hour and a half in the hopes that the chemo kills microscopic cancer cells that usually cause reoccurrence. As you can imagine, it’s a big surgery and recovery was expected to be at least 6 months for most people before they can reach their “new normal” functioning, whatever that may be with all those missing organs. As described by our previous surgeon, it’s like being hit by a bus 6 times over which is why it’s actually called “MOAS” in the cancer community: Mother of All Surgeries.
 
By the time they tried the surgery in January of this year, the surgeons weren’t able to remove much at all as the cancer had spread like wildfire in areas they deemed too risky to touch (around major blood vessels of my liver and my heart).
 
I was on my own due to COVID-19 visiting restrictions, in a significant amount of pain and quite sedated in the intensive care unit when the doctors walked in and informed me of the outcome of the surgery. I was basically told that I now had terminal cancer, and a cure was no longer on the cards. The surgery had failed.
 
My treating team’s goal went from “we can cure this for you” to “we can keep you comfortable for your remaining months”. They wanted to start me on the second-line chemotherapy to try and slow the growth of the tumors. They also gave me an ileostomy as they had anticipated the main tumour would grow, eventually causing a blockage in my colon. They started encouraging things like a bucket list, and perhaps delaying chemo so I have some time off from the side effects. I was also referred to the palliative care team straight away so we had some support in maintaining my quality of life as much as possible.
 
Despite the full surgery not going ahead as planned, it was the toughest recovery yet out of all my hospital stays as I was struggling both physically and mentally. It was a very slow recovery with many complications. My pain was not under control despite being on high doses of pain relief. It also took everything out of me to even just take a few steps, and the sight of having multiple tubes coming out of me was daunting. These were only a few of the difficulties I had during this hospital admission. Mentally, I was distraught.
 
To be told you’re dying at the age of 28 was an incomprehensible feeling. The doctors were hesitant to provide me with a “timeline” but respected that it was something I wanted to know. Unfortunately, the best they could come up with was 10-12 months, maybe more or maybe less depending on how the cancer reacts to the second line chemotherapy.
 
This is something that my family and I have yet to “come to terms with” and probably something that we will only be able to do to some extent, and never completely.
 
After a long and painful recovery from the failed surgery, I’ve resumed chemotherapy again at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (a place that has become our second home). I receive some medication at the hospital every fortnight through a port in my chest and connected to more medication to take home for another 48 hours after which a nurse then comes to the house to disconnect the pump.
 
For the rest of the week, I’m basically recovering from the side-effects of chemo. For me this includes severe fatigue and nausea, neuropathy which has numbed the tips of my fingers and the sole of my feet (likely permanently), skin problems and hair loss. I’ve also developed blood clots in my lungs which I now have to be on medications for. That’s been our routine since August last year apart from when I’ve had to take breaks from chemo before and after surgery. Thankfully, this chemotherapy continues to work to keep the cancer from spreading further as far as my scans currently show. We live from cycle to cycle and scan to scan, as we know that the chemo can stop working at any moment.
 
In saying all that, this is why we decided to start this GoFundMe campaign.
 
I’m not ready to leave this earth yet.
 
There’s just so much more living I want and need to do.
 
Before all this, Gill and I were doing well in our respective careers, we were planning our wedding (which we actually brought forward by a few months during my chemo off-week last year) and planning to build a bigger house in anticipation of having children in the future too. We still have so many things we want to do and experience together.
 
I still want to live the best life that I can despite my prognosis.
 
I made the difficult decision to resign from work so I can focus on my health and living my life without being limited by work commitments. Gill has also switched to casual work and is working much less to be with me throughout chemo week and to be much more flexible for when we plan activities and trips away when my body is up to it.
 
Thankfully we can now spend more time together but as a consequence, our incomes have been significantly impacted and what little savings we have left are diminishing.
 
I could go on and on about all the difficulties we’ve faced because it is endless and ongoing. But we really wanted to provide you with some real context as to why we’re asking for your financial help.
 
It’s been a really difficult decision for us to agree to something like this because we know others are doing it tough too (especially with the current state of the world). But we would really appreciate any help, whether it’s a once off or a reoccurring contribution of any amount to help support us in my battle with cancer.
 
We’d like to be completely transparent with the related costs and where we’d like to use any funds raised. We are planning to spend the contributions from here for any ongoing health-related costs, as well as ones that may unexpectedly come up as my condition changes.
 
The funds would go towards alternative treatment options to try and reduce the debilitating side effects of my chemotherapy and also to try and slow the growth and spread of the cancer if possible. Unfortunately, these are quite costly given they are not covered by Medicare and only partially covered by the extras in my private health insurance.
 
We’ve outlined a few costs below for your reference. These are just a few of the costs involved at the moment and will continue to change as time goes on. We will continue to provide updates regularly through this GoFundMe page so that you can see how your contribution is helping me in this journey.
 
We are currently engaged with an integrative oncology clinic working with their naturopath and nutritionist. So far we have spent around $2,800 in the last month and a half alone. These costs include fees for the initial consultation, the treatment plan, follow-up consultation and prescribed supplements.
 
We’re waiting to do a test called RGCC to see how responsive my cancer is to certain treatments (chemotherapy, immunotherapy and alternative options) which costs $3,800.
 
I’m also yet to start weekly acupuncture which will have its out-of-pocket costs too.
 
We’d also like to engage with an integrative GP at another integrative oncology clinic so I can access prescriptions to certain medications that may have shown some effect in slowing tumour growth. We anticipate to spend around the same per month at this clinic in terms of their consultation fees and treatment planning. There are certain therapies we’d like to seek as well such as IV Vitamin C which costs around $600 per week. We would also like to look into hyperthermic and hyperbaric oxygen treatment which we anticipate to be even more costly.
 
There are also costs in relation to managing my ileostomy and of course maintaining my private health insurance as well (we decided to get private health insurance so I can access chemotherapy at St. John of God in Berwick after the 12-month waiting period. The drive to Peter Mac is quite arduous every fortnight and we’re usually caught in peak hour traffic both ways).
 
Ongoing costs in terms of alternative treatments is likely going to be several thousand per month unfortunately, but we’d really like to give it all we’ve got.
 
Lastly, we’re liaising with a surgical team in Sydney who are willing to at least review my case and reconsider if surgery really is not an option; or if it is, if they would be happy to do it for me. The team is led by a well-known surgeon for his true aggressive approach to treatment with this type of metastasis. If I am considered for surgery to extend my life, and we are comfortable with the potential effects to my quality of life, there will be costs related to this. This will likely be for flights, accommodation for an unknown period of time and any out-of-pocket hospital related costs.
 
We plan to spend what’s left of our savings and current income on paying for our ongoing living expenses like our mortgage, bills and groceries. We’d also like to use our savings for my bucket list - like our trip to Bali, and raising a puppy together that we’ve wanted for the last couple of years. I don’t think we’d be able to do all of this without your support. As much as we hate to ask for help, we’ve acknowledged that we need it at the moment.
 
If you’ve read this far, thank you.
 
If you’re unable to provide financial support, please help to raise awareness in regards to young-onset bowel cancer. If you have any family and friends (or even yourself), who does not feel quite right in terms of health, please encourage them to see a doctor and advocate for themselves strongly. In hindsight, my cancer may have been picked up as early as 2 years ago had I fought for better follow-up from my GP.
 
We’d also be appreciative if you could share this campaign to your family and friends in case there are others whom we don’t know who are able to and wanting to help out.
 
Please know that we appreciate any support that is offered from the bottom of our hearts.
 
We will forever be grateful.
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Donations 

  • Chin Lau
    • $600 
    • 2 yrs
  • Poly Tzimourtas
    • $200 
    • 2 yrs
  • Reginette Biano
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Zena Lythgo
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
Donate

Fundraising team (4)

Ali Su
Organizer
Lyndhurst VIC
Hans Su
Beneficiary
Gilliane Malona
Team member
Lynette Chong
Team member

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