Help The Hustrei's Fight Cancer

$49,307 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 386 people in 5 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. 

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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 “
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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
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Here is an update from Carly — once again shows her sweet heart and steadfast faith. They are also heading to UCSF for another opinion which is an update after this was written —

“ It’s 2019!!
Quick treatment update. We heard back from National Institutes of Health in Maryland.
He is most likely eligible for a clinical trial for surgical intervention. He will likely go to east coast for the screening eligibility (a few more procedures/imaging studies) to determine if he has an official yes to do the clinical trial.
Please pray for God to make our path clear on deciding if this is the treatment route to pursue. Otherwise he will stay on chemotherapy or consider immunotherapy at some point.
We should know more in the coming days...

As I write this the last few hours of 2018 are ticking away.

Reflecting on this year brings to mind lots of heaviness, sadness, and confusion.
When I reflect long enough though I can look back and see that God has been faithful...

I can see Branden’s face of excitement when I told him I was pregnant and
...his jaw drop when he felt Isla kick for the first time and
...his wide smile as he laid eyes on our daughter for the first time and
...I can hear his soft voice as he tells Isla “your safe, Daddy’s got you” as he soothes her back to sleep.

In these early moments of parenthood I see God in all of it.

I can hear Gods voice in the toughest moments telling me “be still, your safe, Daddy’s got you!”

I put my confidence in Gods faithfulness that has been so evident this year.

“The Lords loving kindness never ceases, his compassions never end. They are fresh EVERY MORNING; your faithfulness is abundant. “My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself, so I will put my hope on him.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

With the new year often comes a new year resolution, a firm decision to do or not do something.

Thats 365 days of consistent commitment in the midst of changes, twists, turns, ups and downs.

The diet, the workout, the trips, the plans wont keep the tides from rising and the winds from changing. You can bet that storm will come and when it does what will be your anchor? What will be there to hold you in place and keep you safe?

“So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:31-34)

I ask you to consider a new day resolution.

I pray that you would join me in remembering our need for God with each new day. That “today is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!”(Psalm 118:24)

The “new day” resolution has been choosing to be GLAD in all circumstances and knowing it is well because of Gods UNFAILING AND STEADFAST LOVE.


But of course if you decide to cut out donuts and take up running, good luck! Work at it as if your working for the Lord!

“Whatever you are doing work at it with enthusiasm as to the Lord and not for people!!”(Colossians 3:23)

All the best to you and your family in 2019!

The trio,

Branden, Carly and Isla
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My husband and I were lucky enough to spend the last 4 days with the Hustrei's. I clearly have no bias, but can I say that they made the cutest little girl on the planet!

As everyone who has known them through this journey can attest to, their faith and grace throughout the experience has been truly inspiring.

Unfortunately, the past Monday they received more hard news. Read an update from Carly below.

" Branden went in for surgery to have his tumor removed.

When they went in with the cameras (through small incisions) to evaluate just before taking out his stomach they found spread in the abdomen.

For this reason they did not remove the stomach.

Surgeon told us it is considered inoperable now and progressed to stage 4.


When plans change as we know they always do, how do we respond?

Branden and I are confused and we don’t understand, but we aren’t asking why.

I remember Gods truths in all this.

I know that God is sovereign. He is a God of miracles and he is a God who loves his children.

We continue to PRAY BIG PRAYERS knowing God is able. He is the ultimate physician.

We also know our humble place before him when we bring our requests to him and we trust his plan is for our good.

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
Who knows enough to give him advice?
And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”

Romans 11:34-37

And please know- we are thankful over and over for all your support in this time. You have all done above and beyond. In prayer and all else, Gods provision is tangible in you.

From our Family to yours,

Branden, Carly, and Isla ❤️"

This next week they will be traveling for second opinions on the best treatment plan moving forward. The biggest blessing at this point would be to receive approval to obtain care outside of Kaiser at a specialized cancer facility given his case is now more complex. Wit this change, I have raised the goal to help with their travel and medical expenses. Please feel free to share with friends and family for further prayer warriors and donations if you are able.
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$49,307 of $60,000 goal

Raised by 386 people in 5 months
Created September 16, 2018
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