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The Kaunelis Family

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Hello! My name is Stacey Warren and I am a close friend of Derek's.  We grew up together in the same neighborhood. Back then, the neighborhood kids were all very close and hung out together daily. Over the years, we both started families and became busy with day to day life. Recently, we’ve been catching back up on the details we’ve missed, but I wish it was because of different circumstances. 

Derek (43), father of Brianna (16) and Dominick (13), and husband to Tina, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer with extensive metastasis to the bones. This is a very aggressive form of cancer without a cure available. Without treatment, Derek has been given less than 3 months to live. With treatment, the doctors at St. Joe’s are saying that could be extended to 1 - 3 years. If you know Derek well, you know his kids mean the world to him. He’s always had the goal of watching Brianna and Dominick graduate high school with honors. Dominick will be a freshman next year so Derek is praying for at least 4 more years. Because of his prognosis and the amount of treatment he will require, Derek has had to take a leave of absence from teaching his 4th and 5th grade split at Taylor Parks Elementary School. This was crushing to him as he poured his everything into his work and never imagined having to leave mid-year. Things are falling apart all around him, but he has a fighter’s attitude and is staying positive. Derek’s wife, Tina, is still currently working as a nurse at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She is able to take some days off, but her vacation days are limited and will run out in the near future. After that, they will be unpaid days. 

While waiting on health insurance approval for chemotherapy and radiation treatment to begin at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital of Ann Arbor, Tina and Derek have decided to explore some other treatment options as well, such as MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. They have only just begun researching other major cancer centers in the country that may offer different treatment options, clinical trials, or any little bit of hope. We live in a great country with some of the world’s best medical staff available. However, we all know how travel expenses can start to add up quickly. It would be a shame for Derek to miss out on an opportunity that one of these hospitals offered.

Being on an hourly paid single income is tough, but especially now, not knowing exactly what the future holds.  I know so many have been asking how they can help Derek and his family. I’ve received so many messages from people that have been positively influenced by Derek. Because of people like you, the Meal Train I started has been a huge success. I thought this GoFundMe could help relieve some of the financial burden and give you an opportunity to help in another way.  Derek, Tina, Brianna, and Dominick are an amazing family always willing to help others. Now is the time we can help them.  They have a rough road ahead of them but if anyone can do it it's Derek.  Any help is greatly appreciated and every dollar adds up.  Thank you and God bless!


  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Tami Tedley
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Gail McLeod
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Andrew Ricotta
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Daniel Fradette
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Stacey Ralph Warren
Livonia, MI
Tina Kaunelis

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