Help The Hustrei's Fight Cancer

$53,507 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 411 people in 7 months
Created September 16, 2018
If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting the Hustrei family you would soon realize the sweet, amazing people that they are. Several weeks ago they received the devastating news that Branden has been diagnosed with stage 3 gastric cancer at the worst possible time since their first child is due in a few weeks. Our hearts are broken for them as they have been given such hard news during what should be a joyful season.  


Branden is a firefighter paramedic and is unable to continue working as the cancer has progressed and chemotherapy has started. Branden will continue chemotherapy for 2 months, then will have extensive surgery to remove the tumor and his stomach, and then continue with another 2 month round of chemotherapy. During the middle of all of this Carly will be due to have their first child and unfortunately, her contract does not provide paid maternity leave. During this hard time the last thing we want them to be worrying about is finances. The goal for this Go Fund Me is to allow Carly to have the freedom to stay home with their little girl and care for Branden as well as pay for some of their medical expenses. 

I cannot think of a couple more undeserving of this heartbreak or more deserving of our support. If you have the pleasure of knowing them in person I am confident that you agree. Carly is the ultimate host and will make herself uncomfortable to make sure that everyone else in the room is comfortable. Branden is the type of man who will drop everything to help a friend or acquaintance in need. They both chose professions to help others, but right now they need our help. If you are unable to give financial support your prayers are equally appreciated. 

+ Read More
Learning to Surf

We went to Aptos with both our families this weekend.
Lots of praying. Lots of reflecting and lots of tears this weekend.

Ups and downs.

After much prayer, Branden and I had peace about revisiting the clinical trial surgery as our first option and then Monday this door was closed. We heard back from the surgeon who told us he is not eligible.

We decided on radiation and low dose chemo starting today to try to help with obstruction problem (esophagus narrowing). The radiation could make it worse or it could make it better. This is risk we are willing to take at this point.
We may consider the alternative medicine in Reno as we go along but waiting for test results.

The chaos of emotion feels like the waves.
The fear, the anxiety and worry build
The emotion crescendos like the loudest and highest point of the wave
Comes crashing down.
Then flows to shore.
A peaceful landing place for every wave on the shore, a stillness, a fleeting moment of quiet.
This is my favorite part of listening to the waves.
The calm that predictably follows the chaos.

So as we ride the waves, we know they will lead to shore.

Learning to Surf,

B, C, and I
+ Read More
From Carly. As always, this shows her sweet heart and Branden’s fighting spirit.

“B was admitted to the hospital last Wednesday due to continued weight loss and malnutrition. All I can say is there were lots of twists and turns during our hospital stay that we are still navigating through.

The endoscopy he had while in the hospital showed tumor progression and they consider that the immunotherapy is not working. Although we will know more after PET scan today.

The tumor is very tight especially at the entrance of the stomach and seems to cover over the stent they placed two months ago.

His pain and nausea has been better managed since switching the medication regimen in the hospital and I am hopeful he will continue this way.

In all he spent 8 days in the hospital due to multiple procedures for nutrition and attempts to open esophagus with another stent. The stent placement was unsuccessful.

They were able to finally place a feeding tube into his nose into the esophagus and into the stomach, which is essential as he can only get very little food down on his own, mainly small amounts of liquid. They had to monitor him for a few more days to get to “goal” feedings.

We may pursue local radiation for narrowing in the esophagus to help with symptoms. We will find out more this week.

We aren’t sure what the next steps are, but God knows and we will keep going.

For now we are glad to be home, Branden especially.

Yesterday we spent a day at home together as a family and it was glorious. B spent almost the whole day awake and alert and playing with Isla. My heart was singing songs of joy in the midst of pain.

You know what though, in all this I have been honored to witness my husbands heart.

Tough as nails.

Strong as the wind.

Unwavering faith.

Despite the toughest trials he has endured...

He encouraged me today!

He reminded me to have my chin up!

Here is what he said.

“You know Car...

I can see God’s provision time and again. I have witnessed Gods love in our lives...

So when people ask us how we are doing, my answer is simple.

I can see God’s blessings in everything!
After all we are on the winning team. No matter how the game goes remember God wins. So I’ll say, put me in coach I’ll give it all I got.”

When you pray, pray for his heart to continue in this way, to stay strong knowing God is at work.

In Him there is victory,

B, C, and Baby I”
+ Read More
From Carly:

“Medical update. Branden will be starting immunotherapy tomorrow. We don’t know much else.

The last scan two weeks ago didn’t show much of a change and still no evidence for disease spreading, but it’s difficult to assess with the available tests.

He has been somewhat intolerant to the chemotherapy so this is one of many reasons for switching to immunotherapy for now for the next 1-2 months and then reevaluate.

Oh and Branden has enjoyed some food. Still with pain, but he can eat it now. Subway and a burrito are a few of the many items.

Two weeks ago the chemotherapy hit him hard.

However, this week his energy improved enough for some outings.

As a result this week has been filled with beautiful moments.

It has been a breath of fresh air.

Truly God has refreshed our hearts in a season that seems so exhausting.

It may have been simple.

Just a few coffee shops and quiet moments and lots of prayer, but it felt like a vacation.

As I look back all I could think was.. THIS WEEK WAS GOOD!!!

It makes me think of Gods smile as he looked upon his creation, everything that he had made and he was pleased and he saw that it was GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

God takes delight in us, in his beautiful creation.

In his deep compassion he has made beautiful things out of the dust, out of the chaos and mess.

He is refining us.

Do you ever look back and just smile in the same way on those beautiful moments when you think- “it was oh so GOOD!!!!”

Not great, not perfect, not planned, not expected, not easy, and maybe not wanted... but it was GOOD.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8-9

Praying that you would witness Gods goodness in your life and experience his peace as a result.

In Faith,

B, C and I “
+ Read More
Forgive me, but I'm a few updates behind...copied below are from Carly.

" This week has been one of the most difficult weeks of our lives.

Branden has been recovering from the stent placement a week ago. The procedure caused significant pain and other side effects this week which were difficult to manage.

He has been able to get down liquids and some solids the last three days and this has been a victory!!

Please pray for his nutrition to continue to improve as a result of the stent.

Pray that God would heal his body and protect his heart and mind as he continues to persevere.

Branden and his mom are headed to the east coast this week at National Institutes for Health for screening procedures where they determine if he is eligible for an operative intervention- HIPEC (still considered clinical trial). Please pray for their travels. Pray for safety for his surgery scheduled on Wednesday (screening laparoscopy) and discussion with the surgeon for the major surgery which is TBD if the screening surgery goes as planned.

As a wife, mother, and caregiver it has been one of the most difficult seasons for me as well. It has also been a season of the most growth.

In the hard days we seem to be the worst version of ourselves. Both Branden and I can be irritable, frustrated, and hurtful to each other in these moments.

When the to do list piles...

The laundry needs folding
The diaper needs changing
The doctors appts need scheduling
The house needs cleaning
And so forth ....

I stop and take a breath.

I am quickly reminded of Gods grace.
I am reminded that God is with me in all of the chaos, both the big and the small.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9
So I continue to have Grace upon Grace because God pours his Grace upon Grace on us."

SECOND entry "The sweetest sounds" Jan 28, 2019

Branden had a long trip to the east coast. Lots of tests and freezing weather.

The most recent CT scan does not show any tumor outside the stomach so this is a good sign, but doesn’t tell us much about the spread outside the stomach. We basically have to monitor symptoms alongside scans as we go along.

The staff at NIH was amazing (per Branden and his mom!). I had the chance to listen in on the consults over the phone and felt the same.

The recommendation is to start immunotherapy and then revisit surgical intervention later if needed. In addition NIH is performing additional genetic testing for Branden. This is “research” based genetic testing and waiting to hear results.

Meanwhile, we have plans for the last round of chemotherapy tomorrow and then will likely switch to immunotherapy in conversation with the oncologist here at Kaiser.

The stent is helping Branden to eat. Answered prayers. He enjoyed his first warm “gooey” cookie in months and he was thrilled.

Please keep Branden in your prayers for strength to endure!
It is a blessing to be reunited as a family after Branden was gone all week.

Isla had lots of smiles and giggles for Daddy. In fact her first official laughing session was with Branden the night he returned home.

When Isla laughs it is with full abandon. These are the sweetest sounds my ears have heard.

She has no restraint or heavy weight on her heart.

Her smile is wide, her lungs are full, and her eyes are squinted.

She is filled with every ounce of JOY that moment brings and so my heart just as quick is filled with this joy watching them laugh together.

In that moment I shed tears over these two precious gifts.

I am reminded of Gods promise for a time of laughing and sweet sounds that will never fade.

“When the LORD restored the well-being of Zion, we thought we were dreaming.

At that time we LAUGHED loudly and shouted for joy.

At that time the nations said, “The LORD has accomplished great things for these people.” The LORD did indeed accomplish great things for us. We were HAPPY. O LORD, restore our well-being, just as the streams in the arid south are replenished. Those who shed tears as they plant will shout for joy when they reap the harvest. The one who weeps as he walks along, carrying his bag of seed, will certainly come in with a shout of joy, carrying his sheaves of grain.”
Psalms 126:1-6

I hope you are reminded of the harvest that we will reap if we remain steadfast in Christ Jesus.

Branden, Carly and Isla
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$53,507 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 411 people in 7 months
Created September 16, 2018
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
Jennifer Rodenberg
13 hours ago
anna roppolo
16 hours ago
Kendra Kern
17 hours ago
Wendy Jorgenson
21 hours ago
Jackie Conarro
1 day ago
Liz stafford
1 day ago
Angela Zara
5 days ago
Christopher O'Brien
7 days ago
Eric Hadden
11 days ago
15 days ago
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.