VCU Grad with Rare Tumor

After seeing an oral surgeon for a tooth extraction in early August 2018, my boyfriend Michael was diagnosed with an Ameloblastoma in his lower left jaw. Ameloblastomas are rare tumors of tooth developmental tissue, and while it is uncommon (less than 5% of clinical cases) for them to spread to other nearby parts of the body, they are locally aggressive and consume the facial bones they emerge in.

(An Initial X-Ray of Michaels tumor. Other images coming soon.) 

Most kinds of ameloblastoma don’t respond well to radiation or chemotherapy and have a high rate of recurrence after surgical removal. Because of this high recurrence rate, Michael’s surgeon has recommended that it be removed with a 1-2cm margin of healthy tissue. With the current size of his tumor this would mean lifting a large section of his jawbone, 4 teeth and the surrounding gum, and rebuilding it with one of his fibulas (Michael has bonafide bird-legs so finger’s crossed he even has enough bone to make a jaw 2.0 out of). He would lose all sensation in the lower left half of his face and undergo extensive facial reconstructive surgery as well as postoperative speech and muscular therapy.

There is a chance that the tumor can be shrunk somewhat via a technique called decompression treatment, which if successful could allow it to be removed without severing the nerves in his jaw. Michael will be receiving his first decompression surgery on Sept 4th, which will involve the removal of the gum that is currently covering the tumor. It is unclear whether or not this technique will work in Michael’s situation, but we’ll be updating this page whenever we have new information.



Michael is facing some seriously high medical costs as he did what many seemingly healthy 22 year olds do when faced with purchasing insurance; signed up for a catastrophic coverage plan with a high deductible. Additionally, no surgeons qualified to care for Michael’s situation are within his current network, so he will be paying for everything out of pocket at least through the new year. We are truly facing the unknown in terms of his medical bills.


Any help in handling this financial burden is immensely appreciated.

  • Melanie Wheeler 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Cynthia Eftis 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Cynthia Eftis 
    • $50 
    • 36 mos
  • Alex Flood 
    • $25 
    • 36 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 36 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Jada Carpenter 
Organizer
Richmond, VA
Michael Barber 
Beneficiary
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