Help Derek Fight

$24,454 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 352 people in 6 months
Help Derek, a 10 year old who is in 5th grade and just diagnosed with a brain tumor on November 6th and his family by donating what you can. 

Donations will help defray medical costs, travel costs to Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, Hotel Costs as they await acceptance into the Ronald McDonald House, lost wages (his mother has only been paid 2 days since diagnosis) and household bills and more. 

Derek loves Dell Rapids and is a friend to everyone he meets. He loves his family, baseball, comics, and his dog Jeter. He hopes to be a teacher when he grows up, he just needs the chance.

Derek underwent surgery to remove a tumor from the base of his skull Wednesday Nov. 7th. The tumor was malignant. Derek has been diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. He will start 6 weeks of proton radiation therapy at Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota (4 hours from home) December 3rd.  Derek is looking at a minimum of a year of chemotherapy treatment to battle his cancer.  Any help you can give is appreciated. 

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Update on Derek. 5/12/19

We got to come home today about 3:30.
He made it through this Chemo without getting sick, but man is he tired.
We're all just happy to be home. Be even better when the dog comes home tomorrow.
Thank you to all for the prayers, support, kind words, texts and visits over the weekend. Living in a Castle once a month may "sound cool", but it is trying. None of us sleep well, we worry about the house when we are gone, none of us sleep well and the food, gas, missed work for one of us post inpatient all cost money.
We still consider ourselves blessed that we are home more than we are in the Castle.

Donelle Gerlach is home with him the next couple of days as he is very susceptible to infection just out of chemo treatment. Just told him goodnight and he told me to make sure that I go coach little league tomorrow night even though he can't be there.
Dude's a champion.

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Update on Derek 5/11/19
Today was a pretty good day. Derek was SO proud of himself. He gained two pounds yesterday. 84 at check in. 86 today at weigh in. The chemo side effects were manageable today. The only big side effect was sleep. My goodness did the sleep knock him out today.
LaChelle and Allie Thiesse brought him comics, snacks and baseball cards today. They have been so good to him through all of this.
Kristi came to visit which was nice for all three of us.
Derek's eating today has been "okay". He knows what he wants to eat, but he just can't eat a whole lot, so we have plenty of leftovers in the fridge.
That damn Vincristine chemo got that fever up to 100 tonight. We have fought with that side effect on that chemo since Rochester. Donelle just came to the family area (where I sit at night since those two go to bed sooner than I) to tell me his temp is down to 99.2.
I have been so blessed in my life to make connections with amazing communities of people that have continued to bless Derek John. Certainly Church, work, the communities where I have lived and lifelong friends have given and supported us deeply.
But so many more have given and continue to support us.
Jeff Mann and I are eventually going to find time to sit in a chair at Vishnu Bunny Tattoo and get my #fightDerekfight Tattoo done The entire crew at Vishnu has been so supportive, as have Barry Putzke and the team at Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen. So fortunate to have Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. business owners that care.
The Comic book community continues to come through for Derek. They have sent books to him, provided drawings for #sketchesforDerek and sent many generous donations. Today two creators made very generous donations to help ease our burden, we were humbled by their donations.
Tomorrow morning (shhh it's a secret) Charlie Eccles and some of the Midwest All Pro Wrestling crew are coming to see Derek and brighten his day.
Jeff Thurn and Jerry A. Palleschi at ESPN 99.1 have been such advocates for Derek and spread his story.
Tattoo artists, Foodies, Comic Book Creators, Wrestlers and Sports Broadcasters may not seem to have much in common, but through my work with SiouxperCon I was able to make not only connections, but friendships with all of the above (and more).
But what has really brought them together (I believe) is the courage, grace and strength that Derek has shown in this battle. He just continues to fight, smile and face all of this with a maturity beyond his years.
He is my hero.

I hope to be typing this from the comfort of our home tomorrow. We shall see...

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Update on Derek 5/10/19
We got checked in to the Castle today and everything has gone very well. Derek has had 2 doses of Chemo today including his new one, Cytoxan. Lot's of fluids and anti nausea medication.
The team upped his appetite stimulant as he is done to 84 pounds. That one hurts. He just doesn't have much more to lose. His appetite is iffy at best and horrible at worst.
The chemo made him very tired tonight. He was excited that his buddy Sam Stevens and the Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey Club won the first game of the Clark Cup tonight and that his New York Yankees won as well. Anything that lifts his spirits I am all for.
We'll be here tomorrow for 2 more doses of chemo and then hoping to go home Sunday if he handles everything okay.
The hardest part of being here is the realization that there isn't a single thing Donelle Gerlach and I can do besides be here for him.
We can't fix the side effects of chemo. I haven't told him that one of the side effects of the cytoxan is hair loss. He is so pleased with his hair coming back in post radiation that I just can't bring myself to tell him. If it starts to fall back out we'll get the clippers out and shave it down and start over.
When here at the Castle I am humbly reminded of just how lucky we are to have such an amazing facility staffed with top tier caregivers. Sioux Falls is blessed to have this facility here.

As always thank you for the messages, prayers, love and encouragement. We are so blessed to have you in this fight with us.

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Long overdue update on Derek.
Derek is attacking his physical therapy like a beast. He told Donelle today that he can feel that it is helping because he could run a little today. The neuropathy is frustrating to Derek. He fumbles his pencil in school, he can't work all 10 fingers, he has difficulty bending limbs, his balance isn't the best and he has great difficulty running. But he doesn't let it stop him.
He has a busy day Thursday. He sees PT and OT in the morning and then that afternoon gets braces for both legs. This should help support the falling toes and weakening joints and keep his legs from turning in and dragging.
He is getting to school more regularly and staying for the full day most days. On his newest reports card he got all A's again.
We are all a little nervous about the next inpatient chemo dose on the 10th. This is a new chemo drug that they will be administering. Every 3rd cycle he will get this drug. It is a two day stay in hospital receiving the chemo and then flushing and hopefully home by Sunday night.
We'll battle through it all. Thursday they come in to tear open our walls because of course in the middle of all of "this" our old cast iron pipes have failed.
Head down and count our blessings. We have our son and we have you all.
Thank you to those who have given.
Share if you would and give if you can.
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Raised by 352 people in 6 months
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