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Widowed Mom and Sons Fight Financial Ruin

$76,408 of $170,000 goal

Raised by 243 people in 1 month
Created April 1, 2019
Widowed Mom and Sons Fight Financial Ruin

To those of you who have lovingly and graciously supported us, I am so sorry to report that things have become worse after AK’s passing.  AK and I both hoped and believed that he would be able to survive long enough to receive new treatments and beat the cancer…but it was not meant to be.

Having lost him, our two sons (Donovan 8 and Dylan 2) and I are facing very difficult circumstances.

I’ll get to the current developments in a moment, but for anyone who doesn’t yet know, my name is Milli. On the weekend of April 20th, 2019 cancer took the life of my beloved Anton Sands, known by his friends as AK. If you are visiting this page for the first time, please look back at my previous updates for more background on what has happened and thank you for reading our story.

The reality that AK was gone had not even set in before more bad news came.

It pains me to have to share this. I wish it were not the case, but I am being forced into bankruptcy and to sell off everything I can to cover mounting expenses.

As you might imagine, during the 6 months AK was sick, my main focus was trying to help him get the care he needed and take care of our sons. During these months, our business began to suffer.

AK could not do what he needed to do daily to keep the business going. Of course, we can never predict what life will bring us. As I mentioned in previous updates, AK was not a smoker, yet he was diagnosed with aggressive small cell lung cancer that quickly spread to his bones, lymph nodes and his brain.  The cancer ravaged his body and very quickly took his life. It was completely unexpected.

When AK started the business (selling high end dog food) he put everything into it. He was healthy, strong, worked 16-hour days and was determined to build a successful company. His confidence led him to take out two loans against the beautiful home we owned to fund the business and, he also had investors.

The business was hard work. AK brought in many different brands of food and every bit of profit that came into the company immediately went back to pay those brands and the investors.

But once he got sick, things started to fall apart. He couldn’t do the physical work and it didn’t help that we had to pack up and move across country for medical care and help from our family.

Soon AK became overwhelmed. Undergoing treatment took away his strength and left him in constant pain.  The malignant tumors that developed in and around his throat area robbed him of his ability to speak.  Without a much more than being able to whisper a few words at a time, he could no longer speak with people directly to raise the capital  needed to continue to run the business.

Shortly after AK lost his voice, he was hospitalized for what became the two last weeks of his life.  It was during this time that one of the investors became impatient and processed a 6-figure charge back on one of the merchant accounts that held a personal guarantee.  The unexpected chargeback, in effect, forced the company into bankruptcy.  

Unfortunately, as I have recently discovered, AK did not have enough capital but I know he had a plan… he had a work ethic and, with time, he could have made the company profitable… sadly, time was not on his side.

Now, not one day passes that I am not distraught at one time or another.  I haven't been sleeping much at all which has led to stressful days trying to care for our sons. They desperately need my time and attention and I’m doing my best.  But, at the same time, I must wade through a huge mess of financial and legal issues.  Trying to pick up the pieces of the company that AK had always handled on his own.

I have no choice but to own this responsibility but, it is like digging through a mountain of confusion. Trying to get all the documents and information AK had stored in digital form.  The passwords AK gave me for his files do not work. I never thought to check them before he died. I just assumed he would be fine. (If any of you know how to crack a pass Keepers, please message me).

Everything happened so fast.

Even though I know in my head that AK’s sickness and passing happened over a few months, in my heart and body it felt like one long, excruciating nightmare that just went on and on. Even now, when I know he is not suffering anymore, those of us left behind continue to be in anguish.

And I feel foolish, my thoughts silently scream “You should have been better prepared!”

But I had hope! Hope is what kept us both going through all of the tragedy, hope that we would emerge victorious and I resolve to have hope now. Hope that somehow the boys and I will get through all of this.

I don’t know what else to say. Before AK and I fell in love and started a family, I was a very independent, successful woman. When I became AK’s partner and the mother of our two children, my role changed.

Now I have to start over. But it is not like when I was younger.  Now I have a hole in my heart, an overwhelming amount of debt to dig myself out of and two beautiful boys who are also hurting and desperately need my time and attention.

Most days, I get up and try to tackle what I can control and trust God with the rest. But to be honest, I don’t know what to do to handle all of this.

At this point, my list of needs is long: 

-Get us packed up and moved to Orange County. 

-Down payment for our new rental in Orange County 

-Get caught up on credit card bills and medical coverage for Donovan, Dylan and myself.

-Pay the bankruptcy attorney for our business filing.

-Pay off the debts we still owe on the Pods.

-Lease a car.

-Pay daycare for our youngest for the month of June.

-Pay trustee for our business 

-File back taxes owing to the IRS for our business.

My humble plea continues to be if you are blessed to where you can help relieve some of our financial stress, it would greatly appreciated 

All of the funds that have been donated so far have been used to pay bills that were months and months behind because AK was not able to work.

We gratefully thank you for helping to share our story with your friends and family.  Any support you can give us is greatly appreciated.

With love, Milli ❤️❤️

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On Tuesday, April 23, 2019 we buried my soulmate AK (Anton) Kevin Sands at Mount Sinai Memorial Park and Mortuary in Burbank.

It was a beautiful and colorful ceremony with many in attendance who had known AK for years. It was a very vibrant and cheerful ceremony....something that AK had requested for his funeral service.

At the ceremony our son, Donavan, was the first to read a love letter that he wrote to be buried along with his father in the casket. I was so proud of him.

Afterwards, we celebrated AK’s life with friends and family at our home.

Now, a week later, the harsh reality is settling in - we no longer have the man that took care of us. The man that would do anything and everything to protect and provide for us.

I am now a single mother to our two beautiful boys. We have to downsize and sell most of our furniture. We have until June 15th to move out and are planning on moving in with a friend until I can find a small, affordable rental home.

AK took pride designing and furnishing our home and he loved art. Most of our furniture is HD Buttercup & Restoration Hardware so if you are in Los Angeles and need some furniture or art, please let me know.

My humble plea now is, if you are in a situation or place where you can help relieve some of our financial stress, I would greatly appreciate it.

All of the funds that have been donated so far have been used to pay bills that were months and months behind because AK was not able to work.

If you would be so gracious as to keep sharing our story with your friends and family, and any support you can give is greatly appreciated.

With love, Milli ❤️❤️❤️

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Help Dad Fight Rare Aggressive Lung Cancer


My heart is breaking as I write this about my life partner and soul mate. 

AK Sands is a devoted husband and loving daddy
to our two small children, 8 and 2. In early September, AK went to the doctor for pain and symptoms that seemed like a viral infection.

Little did he know that his life…that all our lives…were about to be turned upside-down.

The medical examination revealed fluid around his heart and lungs, and he was ushered off to the ER.

That ER trip launched an almost 3-week long medical rollercoaster ride. AK was hospitalized and over the next couple of weeks, he underwent two separate procedures aimed at draining the fluid around his heart. When he was finally released, he went home expecting things would start to improve, but he didn’t get any better. I was worried and insisted that he go to a different hospital. It was there that doctors did another evaluation and a biopsy.

On September 27th, 2018, after many days in the hospital and two procedures, the biopsy came back showing advanced stage, small cell lung cancer… also called SCLC.

SCLC is the rarest form of lung cancer. It is extremely aggressive and because it spreads so rapidly, it is essentially considered incurable. If you know anything about it, you know it predominantly affects smokers… but AK has never smoked.

When the doctors gave him the news, he was told he had 6 MONTHS TO LIVE…

HE’S BEAT THAT BY 4-DAYS… AND COUNTING.

As you can imagine, the last 6 months have been grueling.

AK quickly lost the ability to work and had to resign from his job.

With no ability to earn an income, the out of pocket medical expenses and other bills began piling up, and our family’s savings quickly dwindled.

One of AK’s closest friends took on the task of packing up our family’s belongings and moving us from Florida back to LA California, so we could be near other family for support.  (This friend did all this in the midst of caring for his own ill and elderly father).

Where Things Stand Now

Shortly after we arrived back in California, AK was again rushed to the hospital at UCLA and had to undergo an emergency lung procedure. It quickly became very hard for him to play with our kids and help around the house.

Currently AK is mostly bedridden. He’s had extreme weight loss and is a mere shadow of his former 180lbs. He suffers from severe breathing problems that make it hard to do the most basic things, like shower and even walk.

To date, he’s been hospitalized 6 times and suffers with lot of systemic (all-over body) pain. The cancer spread to his neck lymph nodes, which has put pressure on his vocal cords and caused him to lose his ability to speak. This was a heavy blow, because that made it extremely difficult to communicate, especially with our 8-year-old son who is continually asking whether daddy will be around when he grows up.

Just a few days ago, (as of this writing) on March 29th, Ak found out the cancer spread to his neck and brain. He has started emergency radiation to deal with it.

In spite of the seemingly insurmountable odds, AK is fighting to defeat this!

AK is currently undergoing aggressive treatments at City of Hope National Medical Center and has been striving to get into clinical trials wherever possible. Unfortunately, he was rejected for a CAR-T cell therapy trial because of an existing autoimmune condition.

The Need

This unexpected diagnosis has been devastating to AK and all his family.

As a devoted husband and father, in the midst of all his suffering, AK is more concerned for me and our two young boys than for himself. 

Anyone who knows AK would tell you he is a loyal friend and a hardworking man. We have strived to always be loving and generous to people. These are among the values we hold dear. The values we want our children to have so that they are compassionate and will step up time and again to help those in need. It is extremely hard to admit that right now, we need that same, compassionate support ourselves.

It is hard and humbling to ask, but we are urgently requesting your loving support to immediately help with all aspects of AK’s hospital bills, round the clock care, expensive autoimmune disease meds, and to help the family. A donation of any size would go long way. We are so grateful for you taking the time to read this. Thank you for any support you can offer, including sharing this story with your circle of influence.  You are greatly appreciated…and if you are the praying sort…please keep us all in your prayers.

With Sincere Gratitude,
Milli Sands

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+ Read More
Widowed Mom and Sons Fight Financial Ruin

To those of you who have lovingly and graciously supported us, I am so sorry to report that things have become worse after AK’s passing. AK and I both hoped and believed that he would be able to survive long enough to receive new treatments and beat the cancer…but it was not meant to be.

Having lost him, our two sons (Donovan 8 and Dylan 2) and I are facing very difficult circumstances.

I’ll get to the current developments in a moment, but for anyone who doesn’t yet know, my name is Milli. On the weekend of April 20th, 2019 cancer took the life of my beloved Anton Sands, known by his friends as AK. If you are visiting this page for the first time, please look back at my previous updates for more background on what has happened and thank you for reading our story.

The reality that AK was gone had not even set in before more bad news came.

It pains me to have to share this. I wish it were not the case, but I am being forced into bankruptcy and to sell off everything I can to cover mounting expenses.

As you might imagine, during the 6 months AK was sick, my main focus was trying to help him get the care he needed and take care of our sons. During these months, our business began to suffer.

AK could not do what he needed to do daily to keep the business going. Of course, we can never predict what life will bring us. As I mentioned in previous updates, AK was not a smoker, yet he was diagnosed with aggressive small cell lung cancer that quickly spread to his bones, lymph nodes and his brain. The cancer ravaged his body and very quickly took his life. It was completely unexpected.

When AK started the business (selling high end dog food) he put everything into it. He was healthy, strong, worked 16-hour days and was determined to build a successful company. His confidence led him to take out two loans against the beautiful home we owned to fund the business and, he also had investors.

The business was hard work. AK brought in many different brands of food and every bit of profit that came into the company immediately went back to pay those brands and the investors.

But once he got sick, things started to fall apart. He couldn’t do the physical work and it didn’t help that we had to pack up and move across country for medical care and help from our family.

Soon AK became overwhelmed. Undergoing treatment took away his strength and left him in constant pain. The malignant tumors that developed in and around his throat area robbed him of his ability to speak. Without a much more than being able to whisper a few words at a time, he could no longer speak with people directly to raise the capital needed to continue to run the business.

Shortly after AK lost his voice, he was hospitalized for what became the two last weeks of his life. It was during this time that one of the investors became impatient and processed a 6-figure charge back on one of the merchant accounts that held a personal guarantee. The unexpected chargeback, in effect, forced the company into bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, as I have recently discovered, AK did not have enough capital but I know he had a plan… he had a work ethic and, with time, he could have made the company profitable… sadly, time was not on his side.

Now, not one day passes that I am not distraught at one time or another. I haven't been sleeping much at all which has led to stressful days trying to care for our sons. They desperately need my time and attention and I’m doing my best. But, at the same time, I must wade through a huge mess of financial and legal issues. Trying to pick up the pieces of the company that AK had always handled on his own.

I have no choice but to own this responsibility but, it is like digging through a mountain of confusion. Trying to get all the documents and information AK had stored in digital form. The passwords AK gave me for his files do not work. I never thought to check them before he died. I just assumed he would be fine. (If any of you know how to crack a pass Keepers, please message me).

Everything happened so fast.

Even though I know in my head that AK’s sickness and passing happened over a few months, in my heart and body it felt like one long, excruciating nightmare that just went on and on. Even now, when I know he is not suffering anymore, those of us left behind continue to be in anguish.

And I feel foolish, my thoughts silently scream “You should have been better prepared!”

But I had hope! Hope is what kept us both going through all of the tragedy, hope that we would emerge victorious and I resolve to have hope now. Hope that somehow the boys and I will get through all of this.

I don’t know what else to say. Before AK and I fell in love and started a family, I was a very independent, successful woman. When I became AK’s partner and the mother of our two children, my role changed.

Now I have to start over. But it is not like when I was younger. Now I have a hole in my heart, an overwhelming amount of debt to dig myself out of and two beautiful boys who are also hurting and desperately need my time and attention.

Most days, I get up and try to tackle what I can control and trust God with the rest. But to be honest, I don’t know what to do to handle all of this.

At this point, my list of needs is long:
-Get us packed up and moved to Orange County.
-Down payment for our new rental in Orange County
-Get caught up on credit card bills and medical coverage for Donovan, Dylan and myself.
-Pay the bankruptcy attorney for our business filing.
-Pay off the debts we still owe on the Pods.
-Lease a car.
-Pay daycare for our youngest for the month of June.
-Pay trustee for our business
-File back taxes owing to the IRS for our business.

My humble plea continues to be if you are blessed to where you can help relieve some of our financial stress, it would greatly appreciated

All of the funds that have been donated so far have been used to pay bills that were months and months behind because AK was not able to work.

We gratefully thank you for helping to share our story with your friends and family. Any support you can give us is greatly appreciated.

With love, Milli ❤️❤️
+ Read More
On Tuesday, April 23, 2019 we buried my soulmate AK (Anton) Kevin Sands at Mount Sinai Memorial Park and Mortuary in Burbank. It was a beautiful and colorful ceremony with many in attendance who had known AK for years. It was a very vibrant and cheerful ceremony....something that AK had requested for his funeral service.

At the ceremony our son, Donavan, was the first to read a love letter that he wrote to be buried along with his father in the casket. I was so proud of him (letter attached).
Afterwards, we celebrated AK’s life with friends and family at our home.

Now, a week later, the harsh reality is settling in - we no longer have the man that took care of us. The man that would do anything and everything to protect and provide for us.

I am now a single mother to our two beautiful boys. We have to downsize and sell most of our furniture. We have until June 15th to move out and are planning on moving in with a friend until I can find a small, affordable rental home.

AK took pride designing and furnishing our home and he loved art. Most of our furniture is HD Buttercup & Restoration Hardware so if you are in Los Angeles and need some furniture or art, please let me know.

My humble plea now is, if you are in a situation or place where you can help relieve some of our financial stress, I would greatly appreciate it.

All of the funds that have been donated so far have been used to pay bills that were months and months behind because AK was not able to work.

If you would be so gracious as to keep sharing our story with your friends and family, and any support you can give is greatly appreciated.

With love, Milli ❤️❤️
+ Read More
To all of my friends, family and you dear, generous people who have given your prayers and support out of the love in your hearts, I have sad news to report.
Yesterday, as many people were celebrating Passover or Good Friday, I was working to get AK home from the hospital so he could begin receiving hospice care.
We could not bring him home by car ourselves, it required an ambulance ride.
I rode in the back alone with him and I held his hand as tightly as I could the entire way. I couldn’t really tell if he was holding mine. There was no strength in his grip. Then, at one point he surprised me and squeezed my hand…bringing it up to his face to gently kissed it. That was the one and only time I felt he actually acknowledged me.
It was around 10pm when we got home, and the hospice nurse was there to assist in getting AK inside and settled. For the next hour or so, I didn’t leave his side. I kept hoping for some kind of responsiveness from him, but he was just too worn out. I then went to put my youngest son to bed and it was midnight and then I fell asleep next to him.
About an hour later, the hospice nurse came in and tapped me on the shoulder, gently saying “I am so sorry.” As soon as I heard those words, I ran over to the AK’s bed, tears gushing from my eyes and held him and kissed him. He was warm…his eyes were closed, and he seemed very peaceful…but he was gone.
He went peacefully.
As I write this, I have not told our sons yet.
Our oldest has been crying every day. In the ride to the hospital 2 days ago, my he said “Mom. I want to learn more about the human body. I want to read about it, and I want to find a cure for cancer. I want to study DNA and find a cure for cancer, because I don’t want other kids like me or their parents who are suffering from cancer to go through this.”
I don’t know how to tell him. How do you tell an 8-year-old boy these things?
I can tell him things he already knows. I can tell him how his daddy was such a tender heart.
How he always wanted to make sure we were taken care of.
How we were his most important priority.
How his daddy had such a gentle, caring soul.
But I can’t tell him what will happen now. I don’t know myself. Our hope and prayer has always been that we would find something, anything that could stop this disease in it’s tracks and give AK another chance. I never gave up hope and neither did AK. He fought to the end.
But this is life. Sometimes, even our best efforts and our prayers do not change the outcomes. I do know and believe that all your prayers not only brought us strength but gave us precious time and encouragement.
My request now, is if you can, please continue to pray for the boys and me. As you may have guessed, our business has taken a back seat for many months. In fact, it is only making enough money to compensate the single employee who is doing the bulk of the work.
I do not have any income at the moment and our bills are stacking up.
My immediate plans are to move into a smaller more affordable house.
We have already returned AK’s car and I am going to down size mine to get something more affordable.
Right now, I am doing everything I can to save money and pay off what I can.
I will post more information soon in regard to AK’s final arrangements.
Your previous generosity is so, so very, desperately appreciated. I can never, ever thank you enough. And for those of you who continue to support us. God bless you. Thank you. I have a very uncertain road ahead of me and so many things to figure out.
❤️❤️
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Thank you so so much everyone for your love, care and support during this difficult time! ❤️❤️

There is a verse that talks about love.
I wish I could remember it all, but the part I do remember say love is patient and kind. That it perseveres, never gives up and overcomes all.
Love never fails.
It sounds so good, doesn’t it?
I try to think of good things. I smile, but it’s hard to keep a brave face. You see, the last few weeks have beautiful and hard.
Today especially, when the doctor at St. John’s walked into the room and told us that there is nothing else they can do for him and that he wasn’t going to make it. Our hearts dropped and we hold each-other tight and broke into tears. Just as that was happening, I got a phone call from team of oncologist doctor in New York that AK is approved to try a new drug called Leronlimab(Pro 140). There has been studies in lung and brain cancer. It shows that it stop the metastasis of the cancer. AK is expected to received it with 48 hours from this morning. I’m praying that this new drugs will do it’s miracles and AK conditions will turn around.

Seeing the outpouring of your love, kind words, prayers and of course your financial support.
It has meant the world to us.
The goal has been to stabilize him and continue the aggressive chemo to fight the cancer.
And so many times, it seemed AK was doing better. But then something else would happen and it was back to the ER.
He’s faced lung infections, suspected blood clots, repeatedly having to have fluid drained.

Horrible abdominal pain, and pain all over his body. Undergoing the radiation on the 12 tumors in his brain. It’s just been one thing after another.
 
AK is in constant pain, it’s very difficult to breath, sleep, eat and he is oxygen machine dependent.
And truthfully, in the middle of all this, there are moments when I feel guilty. 
Even ashamed. It’s hard to explain but I will try. When AK was home a few weeks ago, we all watched a movie together in bed.
The boys and I fell asleep. Of course, AK didn’t. He sat there, in pain, watching us. 
 At some point, he sent a text to a friend that said he was “on cloud 9.” Can you believe it? 
That is my husband. In the middle of his agonizing ordeal, he finds moments of bliss because he loves us.
I wonder if the boys dreamed of anything that night?
Did they dream about their daddy not being so thin and weak?
Did they dream about him being able to again lift them and play with them?
I mean, why wouldn’t they dream that? I do.
And I guess that is why I feel guilty. 
Am I being selfish for thinking that?
All of this time in and out of the hospital has reminded me of how many people are hurting. 
Not just my family.
I always knew that, but it just is more real now. And I feel sorry to be reaching out to you again under these circumstances. 
Especially after all you have done to help us already. And I am more grateful than I can say. There are no words good enough to describe it. But at this time, even with what all our friends and family have donated, our medical bills are piling up we are still very far from our goal. 
 
When I look at the number of people who have shared the story, I am humbled. Over three thousand shares!
 
I was thinking. If every one of those 3,000 shares got the attention of just one person who could give $50, we would have reached our goal. That would give us such encouragement and make this just a little less stressful.
 
I am humbled and grateful to all of you and I am in awe of the love you have shown.
That is what reminded me of that saying. Because LOVE truly is what never fails. 
 
LOVE is what makes strangers take their hard-earned money and donate it to ease the suffering of another person, even when they are not even in a financial position to afford it.
 
So, thank you for what you’ve done. And if you are in a situation where you can help again, bless you! 
And if you can encourage others to help, it will relieve so much of our financial stress. 
 
It is hard for me to ask this. I’m much more comfortable helping others rather than asking for help. But AK is my love and my soul mate. The hero of my heart and the hero of my sons. So, what kind of a partner would I be if I did not pour my heart out to ask for help?
 
That’s all. Thank you, please keep sharing with friends and family and any support you can give is greatly appreciated. ❤️❤️❤️
 
Love,
 
Milli
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Created April 1, 2019
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