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Helping Erin, our warrior!

$58,760 of $42,000 goal

Raised by 431 people in 21 months
Created November 10, 2017
When first meeting Erin and Copeland McKinley, big beautiful smiles, bright energy and kind, warm hearts strike you first. The last thing you would guess is that this young couple is battling serious health issues. Two years ago, within 6 months of each other, Erin was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at 35 years old and Copeland, at the age of 32, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Now Erin’s cancer has returned, and this young, previously healthy, newly married couple is facing the unimaginable.

Erin’s initial diagnosis came in late 2015 at the same time the two became engaged. She had a colectomy in early 2016 that appeared to have removed the entire tumor. A follow-up colonoscopy in October 2017 showed that the cancer had returned, leading doctors to re-diagnose it as Locally Recurrent Rectal Cancer (LRRC). A PET scan also showed a cancerous lymph node in her pelvis confirming that the cancer had spread and that this is now a Stage IV cancer.

Chemotherapy treatment began in late October, and Erin will receive chemo every 2 weeks for the next 6 months. Pending an assessment to see how the cancer responds to the chemo, radiation and surgical intervention may occur.

Before beginning treatment, Erin went through an egg retrieval process. Chemotherapy and radiation to the pelvic area can cause genetic changes in oocytes, so before starting the chemo process, it is often recommended to retrieve the eggs to have the option of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) down the line after cancer treatment. Several healthy eggs are now safely frozen.

Simultaneously, Copeland, now two years since his MS diagnosis, is managing his symptoms and working to avoid relapse. After three failed attempts at medication regimens, Copeland has finally found an infusion medication that works for him and the disease appears to be under control. The last MRI showed no disease progress and a previous lesion is now undetectable! That said, the infusions are expensive and although insurance covers a percentage, coupled with the MRI costs, Copeland’s out of pocket costs are significant.

If you’ve never dealt with a serious illness, you might not know that for every doctor’s visit friends hear about, there could be a dozen others they don’t. Between scans, specialist visits, second opinions, blood draws, medications, egg retrieval, and infusion and chemotherapy, the cost for this care quickly accrues. The future also holds possible surgery, recovery needs, the IVF process, travel costs associated with second and third opinions from the top medical providers and cancer centers, and missed work as Erin has had to take a leave from work during treatment and Copeland occasionally has to take breaks as well.

Erin and Copeland face a long and difficult road ahead. Their doctor believes that given the nature of Erin’s cancer being recurrent, curing this cancer will be a challenge. She expects Erin’s results to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to curing metastatic cancer.

As their family and community, we benefit tremendously from Erin and Copeland’s boundless love and energy. They make us laugh, lighten our hearts, listen to our troubles, and shower us with their unparalleled attention. They’ve both given their lives to attending to the wellbeing of others and now we want to attend to theirs by easing this financial burden on them.

Any donation, large or small towards their $42,000 fundraising goal will help alleviate the financial pressures Erin and Copeland are facing. Together, through the efforts of many hands, we can give them the ease of mind to focus their entire energy towards health and recovery.
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Hello everyone,

Most of you have been following closely and already know this, but for those who don't, we wanted to let you know that sadly Erin's treatments are no longer working. She has told the story in her own words with a video beautifully made by her friends Zack and Jackie.

You can see the video on the new GoFundMe set up to help support this next phase of Erin & Copeland and her family's journey together:

www.gofundme.com/f/helping-erin-our-warrior-2

Thank you for all your love and support. It means the world to so many of us who adore Erin.

Love,
Annie
(Erin's friend)
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Dear Friends,

We have an update about the latest phase of Erin's treatment:

The good news is still great: the treatment is working! The cancer is shrinking and the tests keep coming back affirming we're on the right path.

The difficult news is that this stage of treatment is incredibly challenging and Erin is battling. Radiation sucks. She has second degree burns and is experiencing a great deal of pain, often a 10 out of 10. It's difficult to manage that much pain, which sometimes clouds the vision of the goal of cancer-free living after this hard time.

She has 6 treatments left after today, which will end the day after Memorial Day. (They don't do treatments on weekends or holidays.) The hopeful news is that the symptoms will plateau (perhaps already have!), and there is an end in sight for this phase.

What can you do?! I'm sure that question just rang through countless minds.

Send encouragement to our fierce fighter! Whatever that looks like to you, from wherever you access your optimism. She loves cards - who doesn't like checking the mail and finding drops of love there?! Maybe send over a text. Flowers. Cat videos (no real cats though, Copeland already told us no) ; ) Jokes, Stories, Bitmojis, Real Pictures. You get the idea.

Please also send over healing energy, prayers, mojo, good vibes, positivity, visualizations, manifestations. Whatever you got on the healing front! The shipping is free on those, so keep them coming. : )

Copeland could also use some extra loving to replenish his energy. I'm sure we can imagine how much it takes to be present and help Erin through this difficult period. He's also up for offers to get him out for adventures.

They will not be able to respond to most messages, please don't take it personally. Rest assured, it will buoy their spirits!

Visits are on hold while she gets through this stretch. They are also good on food right now.

Thank you all for your support, it means the world to them.

Love to you all!
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A note from Erin:
Hi everyone!

After a month's rest from chemo, I just got another round on 4/2 to fill the gap of time between now and when I start my 5-week radiation treatment plan (4/16). Radiation is Monday-Friday along with taking a low-dose of chemo in pill form, just to keep things going. After radiation, my body will need to heal for a month or so before my surgeon is able to go in and take this cancer out for good!

During my month off, I was able to visit the snow twice, spend time with family, friends and enjoy feeling better! I just got my most recent CEA tumor marker number and it has gone down from 3.7 to 1.9. I could hardly believe my eyes. Things are looking up. Even on the hardest days, I am now able to look ahead and believe that our plan for a cancer-free life is in my near future.

I meet with my surgeon on 4/13 and will update you all if I get any new/important information. In the meantime, I'll just be here, taking the best care of myself and taking it one day at at time. Thank you for you ongoing support and love. I wouldn't be where I am today without you all!

All my love,
Erin
Me 4/9/18 feeling good :)
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Hi everyone!
Erin is currently receiving her 8th round of chemo and things couldn't be going any better. The battle has been long, but she still fights with the heart of a warrior. After this round she will undergo a few scans. That will allow the Surgeon to determine if she's ready to undergo surgery and Uncle Joey that cancer and "Cut ✌. It . Out !" Your support has been the bedrock we've built this fight upon. Thank you. What a wonderful feeling to see results and know that treatments are working and every day we are closer to Erin being free of cancer. Still not good enough news for you? Ok. Remember those CEA levels we've been tracking which gives us guidance on how well the chemo is shrinking the cancer tumor? Yeah, the one that started out at 157. The same test we were so excited about getting as low as 17 and then 11. We just received notice that yesterdays lab result is 6.2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BAM!!!! We are so happy, so encouraged and so thankful to see these results. Thank you for continuing on this journey with us. We are winning this battle and we look forward to your continued support and love each and every one of you so very much.

Love,
Erin and Copeland
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$58,760 of $42,000 goal

Raised by 431 people in 21 months
Created November 10, 2017
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