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Move Mountains With Megs

$10,790 of $11,000 goal

Raised by 134 people in 3 months
Created July 29, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Megan Clark
The story begins in October 2016 as my sister, Megan Clark (fondly known as Megs), was traveling to Missouri with our mother to participate in one of the many art shows across the Midwest that supported her family. Megs forged a career out of inspiring those around her with art and beauty. This particular show was preempted by a trip to the local emergency room with severe abdominal discomfort. She was released from the ER with a suspected gall bladder issue.  Three and a half months AND eight ER visits later, Megan was transported to the University of Iowa Hospital in January 2017 when she underwent emergency colon resection and was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. 

This picture of Megan and her boys was taken in December 2016, just a month before her cancer diagnosis.

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Following her initial diagnosis, further scans and testing determined that cancer had spread to her liver indicating stage 4 colon cancer. She began 12 rounds of chemotherapy, with a pause between round 4 and 5 in May 2017, for liver resection surgery to remove the cancer tumors.

Megan's incision following liver resection surgery. She asked Dr. Chan to intentionally put her tattoo back crooked as this is now part of her story!

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Following surgery, Megan shaves her hair into a mo-hawk facing chemo head on!

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Over the next four months, Megan continued to face forward with a smile and determination to conquer cancer!

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In September 2017 she rang the "victory bell" celebrating her final round of chemo. 

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One month later all tests indicated no evidence of disease! Megan continued to embrace her simple life in small town Iowa, creating art and solo parenting her two boys, AND celebrated her 40th birthday in January 2018! 

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In April 2018, tumor marker indicators jumped to levels higher than her initial diagnosis and a CT scan indicated a softball size tumor on her right ovary. Doctors determined that this was likely a drop of the Colon Cancer and HIPEC surgery was performed on June 4th to remove the tumor and apply high doses of chemotherapy directly to the culprit areas. 

The incision from the HIPEC procedure ran from her sternum to pelvic area.

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By the time surgery was performed, the tumor was the size of cantaloupe.  

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The surgery was considered a success!

Megan enjoyed the Sigourney 4th of July Parade with her boys!

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On July 19th, Megan returned to University Hospital for a routine follow-up CT scan. Unfortunately, the news was unexpected and devastating. 

In Megan's words, posted on Facebook, July 21st:

"So, I've sat here thinking about all of the answers that I don't have & if not having those would make this post harder to write.

But, I need you to know, because I need your support - now, more than ever.

I had a routine CT scan on Thursday. I was expecting to pass with flying colors.

I did not. I was in shock.

The cancer is now in my lungs. There are "numerous" lesions in my lungs. I don't know how many. I just know they are "small" - but, they are there.

I was told that I would have to go back on chemo. A different type than what I originally was on. Because of that, I will lose my hair. All of it. All of it. All.

I was also told I will be on chemo for the rest of my life. I will never not be on chemo. Ever again.

As of now, I do not know if this is operable. I actually don't know anything more than what I am trying to explain.

I do know that Mayo Clinic in MN is searching for a Clinical Trial that I may qualify for.

I am devastated. My family is devastated.

I am processing everything. And, I am seeing this a bit more clearly, than yesterday. But, it will take me a minute to find my determination, again.

I will get there.

I will not give up.

Ever."

Megan's post July 24th:

"I had an appointment today & walked away after high-fiving my surgeon, even more empowered.

I saw my CT & all (or should I say many) of the lesions that are invading my lungs. They are tiny. So, I couldn't actually see all of them. I did see 2 (one in each lung) that are small. Dots, really. But, mean mean dots.

We are not sure if the lesions have recently appeared or if they were microscopic at the time of my original diagnosis & skirted by unaltered by the original chemotherapy regimen. Because of this, the type of chemo is different this go around. The new chemo will cause my eventual complete hair loss (it may seem trivial to some - it's just hair - but, until you are faced with this, don't dare judge). I am not okay with this, yet. But, I will get there. And, if I must lose my hair, you better believe I will own my look - hairless, wigs, hats, scarves, everything. I will do this with the same energy that I do most everything in my life & I will have fun with it!

I will have my port put back in the morning of the 9th & will have my first chemo treatment, with this new regimen on the afternoon of the 9th.

I do not qualify for any of the current Mayo Clinic trials. So, that option is out - for now.

There was a bit of talk about possible targeted radiation treatments. So, we'll see about that & what comes of it, if anything.

It is what it is, my friends.

And, we will fight like hell.

This is MY life & I will live it!"

How can you help?

As Megan begins chemotherapy next month her biggest concern is supporting herself and her two boys. Megan has always taken pride in being self-sufficient. Over the past year and a half she has been able to continue provide for her family through her website ( www.vongart.com) and Amazon Handmade Marketplace ( www.amazon.com/handmade/VonGArt) along with some generous support from family and friends. If you know Megan personally, you know how incredibly grateful she is for all of the generosity and support she has received from near and far. 

In an effort to ease her stress, thus allowing her to fully focus on the tremendous fight ahead, we are seeking generous financial support to cover her monthly expenses. Fortunately, the majority of her medical expenses have been covered and are expected to be covered with the upcoming course of treatment. The $9,600 fundraising target will cover her budgeted living expenses, including travel to and from treatment in Iowa City, over the next six months. 

We will be sharing additional "helping"  opportunities is the next few weeks via updates and Facebook as the details fall in place. 

This is one of Megs most recent pieces. Will you join Megs in moving this mountain?

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A quick update from yesterday, October 16th, as posted on Mom's Facebook:

Megan and I are up in Rochester, MN at Mayo Clinic for a consult and evaluation. They did bloodwork and a CT scan yesterday and the doc consult is now. Just met with nurse practitioner and got some great news! Both of the larger tumors in her lungs have shrunk significantly! The lymph node in her neck is approximately 50% smaller and the one near her pancreas is no longer visible at all. And the CEA tumor marker is still dropping and is now at 4.8. CHEMO is WORKING! Thank you to everyone for your support and prayers! The battle continues but the warrior is winning!
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Thank to to everyone for their fantastic show of support in reaching our initial goal $9,600 to cover Megan's frugal monthly living expenses for six months!

We are extending the goal to $11,000. This will help cover additional expenses and provide a reserve in the event her recovery extends beyond six months, which is likely. You all have no idea the great encouragement and peace of mind this provides to Megan. Your financial support allows her to focus solely on fighting this fight and loving her boys without worrying about how to pay the rent or buy food.

To support this effort, Meg' friend Casey will be participating in two marathons this weekend (October 20th) and has offered the challenge that if we reach the goal of $11,000 by Friday morning (October 19th!) he will shave his head prior to the race:

"The showing of support Megan Guenthner Clark has received to reach her funding goal has been remarkable. However, this doesnt have to stop here just as her fight continues. She is roughly $1250 short of $11,000. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my hair...its the brunt of many jokes to not touch Caseys hair. If we can help Megan raise $11,000 by Friday morning I will buzz my head before we set out on our double marathon weekend journey. My hair will grow back...but Megan’s battle against cancer is perpetual. The challenge is on!"
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Megan started chemo today!
She's looking fierce with her new port in!

Here's her Facebook update for the day:

My new port is in & the chemo is now, running through my veins!

Please, send positive thoughts that this chemo will work & kill these lung tumors!

I’m fighting with everything in me! But, there’s plenty of room for company!

I sure do love y'all!

I am attaching my Go Fund Me link. I know, I know. It is annoying, sharing such links. But, as uncomfortable as it makes me, I really do need the help, financially. Please continue to ease this weight upon my shoulders. You are absolutely amazing to me!

Positive thoughts, prayers, juju, sending love & light, etc. To me a positive thought is a positive thought & such wishes are priceless to me! Don’t stop believing’! Hold on to that feeling!

Please donate (if you are able) & share. You’re welcomed me to use my words, if it helps. I know, sometimes it’s hard to donate when someone doesn’t understand the reason behind a campaign.

Thank you, for loving me & believing in me.
I will find a way to beat this. I will.
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$10,790 of $11,000 goal

Raised by 134 people in 3 months
Created July 29, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Megan Clark
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