Help Deron Cloud Beat Cancer
Little did Deron Cloud know 10 years ago that he’d join the more than 60% of privately insured Americans with medical bills so high that they have to exhaust all of their savings to pay them...but that's still not enough!!! This fact was recently explored in an article in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/upshot/health-insurance-severely-ill-financial-toxicity-.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage.
Who is Deron? He is a pastor, devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and community activist (please watch the video for more details of his service to the community). While helping thousands, Deron has been fighting for his life. Here's the story of his battle...
How It All Started
In 2008, Deron suffered from an aortic aneurysm that almost took his life. He had a miraculous recovery and returned to full function with routine follow-up CT scans to make sure his surgically repaired aneurysm had remained stable. On one of these scans in 2015, an incidental finding was made. He had a concerning spot in one of his lungs that ultimately was diagnosed as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is one of the few types of lung cancer that is not caused by smoking (see here for more information https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/about.html). The great news: the diagnosis was made really early, even before he developed any symptoms. After undergoing more testing, it was determined to be Stage I (still only in his lungs with no spread to any other places in his body). A successful treatment plan was developed, and the cancer was now in remission.
From Stage I to Stage IV
Two years after going into remission, Deron received some bad news. On routine follow-up radiographic imaging studies, Deron was found to have a concerning spot in his lung that had grown since his prior study but was too small to biopsy. He was advised to wait 3-4 months and have another study to monitor the spot on his lung. However, before that time came, he developed what he thought were migraine headaches. He was seen by a neurologist and extensively tested but the headaches continued to get worse. On 7/26/17 while preparing to do the 10th anniversary of his "She's Fabulously 40 & Over" production, at the advice of a fellow pastor, he went to see his ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist referred him to a neuro-ophthalmologist and he worked all day to get an appointment with one of the top neuro-ophthalmologists in the country the next day. The doctor took one look into his eyes (considered the window to what is going on in the brain) and advised him to go back to the Emergency Department to have more testing done, including a spinal tap (a test where fluid is taken from your spinal canal to check for different diseases).
On 7/31/2017, the day before his 51st birthday, Deron received preliminary results of the spinal tap. His lung cancer was now metastatic because it had spread from the lungs to another organ or body part. In his case, the cancer had spread to the spinal fluid and the cells along the lining of his brain and changed his classification from Stage I cancer to Stage IV. At this point, he was told he could only have a year to live (or less). The silver lining in all this pre-birthday news was the fact that through genetic testing done during his original cancer diagnosis evaluation, he was known to have an EGFR mutation, a feature of the cancer found in less than 15% of patients with NSCLC. This made him an excellent candidate for a targeted therapy called Tarceva (see more information about Tarceva here: http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/Tarceva.aspx). Even better was the fact that he'd already gone through a lengthy approval process to get his insurance company to pay for the medicine when his EGFR mutation was detected. He was able to start taking Tarceva immediately and was discharged on 8/4/17. He was in the next phase of his journey to beat cancer. Although he was severely fatigued and still suffering from severe headaches, this dedicated SOLDIER managed to preach the 8:00 AM service on 8/6/2017!!
Time for a New Medication
For a time, things went seemingly well on Tarceva. Within 6 weeks, he was already starting to show signs of improvement on his imaging studies. While Tarceva initially slowed the progression of his disease (i.e., kept his lung tumor from getting bigger and his brain disease from worsening), he developed debilitating side effects and his radiographic improvement began to become questionable at best. His medical team then began the process to get his insurance company to approve coverage of Tagrisso, a medicine approved for cancer treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2017 then upgraded to the 1st line treatment for EGFR-mutated NSCLC in April 2018 ( https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2018/us-fda-approves-tagrisso-as-1st-line-treatment-for-EGFR-mutated-non-small-cell-lung-cancer.html). It was approved but came with a $15,000.00 per month copay for a 30-day supply. He, like most of you reading this, was of course unable to afford this and applied for a patient assistance program to help pay for it. After initially being denied and having to show excessive medical debt during a lengthy appeal process, Deron found out on 5/8/18 that he was approved for the program. By the grace of God, he could now start the life-saving treatment!
Almost immediately, his clinical status improved. His strength returned such that he no longer needed assistance walking to and from the pulpit to preach. What's more, he began to show what was thought to be radiographic improvement on an MRI done just prior to starting Tagrisso. On 8/8/18, he went for routine follow-up imaging. This time, his doctors did a CT scan with contrast which revealed a slight increase in his cancer activity which they couldn't say with certainty wasn't there 3 months prior. Since it was a different type of test it was like comparing apples to oranges. Despite how well he still looked clinically, due to the aggressive nature of Stage IV NSCLC, his doctors recommended increasing the dose of Tagrisso to combat any possible progression of the disease.
How Can You Help?
The last 3 years have been an emotionally and financially taxing experience. God's Love has been expressed through many acts of kindness and has carried Deron and his family through. Deron must undergo extensive and expensive medical testing every 3 months and at any point could be denied assistance paying the $15,000 monthly copay. He needs help raising enough to pay off his current medical bills and cover the copay for at least one month. Having to seek financial support in this way, and vulnerably share this process in such a public fashion is a truly humbling experience. We are standing in faith believing that there are people Deron has blessed across the nation and globe over the last 25+ years of ministry who are willing to provide a financial blessing during this time of great need. Whether you can give $10, $10,000 or more toward the goal of being able to support the mounting medical expenses and complex medical treatments he is undergoing, no amount is too small! In addition to making a voluntary donation, we also need your prayers for another display of God's healing power for Deron. If Deron, or this story, has touched your heart in any way, please donate any amount you can, and we'll pray that God blesses you for your generosity. We'll let you know how things go with his next round of tests and our search for other programs to assist cancer patients. If you happen to know of any resources we should try, please include that in your comments. Thanks, in advance, for your support!
As a member of Deron's village, you're invited to come out this Friday, January 18, 2019 as we continue to celebrate this victory. This event is a fundraiser which will allow you to make a one time donation or monthly donation ( https://deronsvillage.givingfuel.com/donation) which will help defray the costs of ongoing medical expenses and treatment. Our goal is to ensure that Deron and Jill are able to continue their service to the community without the stress of wondering if they will be able to cover his medical expenses in the event he is denied participation when he reapplies for the patient assistance program that is currently covering the $15,000 per month copay.
How can you help?
Consider giving today to ensure Deron's medical needs are met.
Consider providing monthly financial support to Deron. Every gift helps.
In addition to prayer, we ask that you'll come out and bring your family and friends. We believe that this event will be a blessing to everyone in attendance.
As a reminder, if you haven't connected to our Village formally, go to www.DeronsVillage.com to join the village email list. We look forward to seeing you on Friday at the City of Praise, 8501 Jericho City Drive, Landover MD - 7:00pm - 9:30pm. Doors will open at 6:30pm.
We thank God continually for your faithfulness.
We can't tell you how much we appreciate your contribution to help ensure Deron receives required medical treatment. Today, we'd love to share two updates with you:
1. We now have Deron's Village T-shirts available! You can order yours today on our new website, www.deronsvillage.com. When you sign up for our email list, you will receive a coupon code for $5 off your shirt. All proceeds will go towards helping Deron Cloud Beat Cancer.
2. FREE EVENT! We want to see your face in the place on January 18th for a trip Back Down Memory Lane! Do you have a favorite memory of Deron & Jill Cloud and your Soul Factory experience? Do you have a favorite production or message that has changed your life? Come out on Friday, January 18th from 7-9:30pm at the City of Praise in Landover, MD. (Doors open at 6:30pm)
We hope that 2018 has brought you many things for which to be thankful. We are thankful for you making a choice to be a part of Deron’s Village. Earlier this month, Deron posted a video on the Deron's Village Facebook page sharing how the medication and your thoughts and prayers are making a difference. The success he’s experiencing is due, in large part, to your willingness to sow into his health. Your kindness ensured he would have access to the medication he so desperately needs for at least 3 months. Thank you for your life-affirming gift! Check out the video https://www.facebook.com/deronsvillage/ (copy and paste if the link is not active) and take time to share this good news with friends and family.
By the way, there’s a special event (see flyer) coming up for Deron, that you won’t want to miss. Save the date!
First, we would like to thank everyone for their support and kind words! Deron has been overwhelmed with emotions by the outpouring of love from so many (please see uploaded video to hear it from him). We started this journey to help with Deron's mounting medical expenses, but realized quickly that this is not just about helping him financially. Deron is a fighter and wants to continue his work for the Lord!! The love and support you have shown is giving him the will to keep moving.
A few questions have come up since we officially launched this campaign that we'd like to take time to answer.
Is $50,000 going to be enough?
The original goal set allows Deron and his family to catch up on outstanding medical expenses including scans and laboratory procedures as well as plan for an upcoming January 2019 copay if his patient assistance approval is no longer continued (or denied). It will not be enough to cover his ongoing medical expenses. Your continued support is greatly appreciated and will help to give Deron the best chances of curing this cancer. #cancerSucks
Is there another way to give without paying the fees on Go Fund Me?
There is a 2.9% fee to process donations on Go Fund Me but the 10% tip that comes up when you give is OPTIONAL. All crowd funding platforms charge a similar or higher fee so we went with this trusted method of giving. If you'd rather send a money order or check (personal or cashier's), please make it payable to Deron Cloud and send it to PO Box 471354, District Heights, MD 20753 (NOTE: If you mistakenly gave a tip thinking it was the processing fee, you can contact Go Fund Me to ask if they can give you a refund for the tip amount.)
I'd like to continue the work to #helpDeronCloudBeatCancer. How can I get involved?
Stay tuned...a few members of Deron's "extended congregation" a.k.a. SOLDIERS 4 Life are in the planning stages of establishing a way for others in Deron's Village to get involved. We'll post the information in a future update as soon as possible.