Hello all, I am starting this fund to help a friend experiencing a battle with cancer to purchase a wheelchair accessible van.  Those of you who follow Derek Zmich Health Updates on Facebook know the story (If you're interested and not a member yet, please search and ask Michele Reilly Zmich or Derek Zmich to be added).

Derek Zmich was hospitalized on Christmas Eve 2017. He was having back pain and problems with balance and walking.  Since then doctors have diagnosed him with lung cancer (though a he is a non-smoker) with tumors in his spine, brain, and lung.  He has been in and out of University of Michigan Hospital.  His Health Updates page chronicles the ups and downs (plenty of both).  The one consistency has been the inspiring hope, positivity and support of his amazing wife, Michele, his family and his friends. 

I knew Derek in high school - we were in the same class at Junipero Serra High School in San Diego's Tierrasanta community.  He has to be one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever met.  His kindness and compassion translated well into his early vocation - where he provided help and support to others who were struggling with mental health issues.  Later his career moved toward leadership roles in health care analytics.  His cancer and its associated complications now have him in early retirement and on disability.

Derek, Michele and family have appreciated your thoughts and prayers on this journey.  Now I am hoping  that we, the friends from all walks of his life, can return the kindness and compassion.  Derek needs a wheelchair accessible van so he can return to some semblance of the freedom and mobility he knew as recently as last year.  I reached out to him with a proposal to crowdfund the purchase or lease of the van and I am happy to report that he gratefully accepted the idea.

100% of your donations (after GoFundMe takes its cut) will go toward the Zmich family's purchase or lease of a wheelchair accessible van.  Derek reports that he is currently more restricted in movement than before.  His wheelchair is now bigger and heavier than his last which makes it very hard for Michele and others to load/unload the wheelchair in the trunk.

The family plans to trade in/sell their current vehicle but the cost of the van will likely exceed that by quite a bit (check online - these vans are expensive!)

If anybody has a car dealer in their network who can help with a discount - even better!  Please comment below if this is the case.


  • Karole Foreman 
    • $50 
    • 33 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 33 mos
  • Jane Stephens 
    • $100 
    • 33 mos
  • John Spitz  
    • $250 
    • 33 mos
  • Lisa Hydrick Casillad 
    • $25 
    • 33 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Robin Chandler Carr 
San Diego, CA
Michele Zmich 
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