Ryan Lohoff - GBM Brain Cancer Fund

$39,793 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 336 people in 15 months

"Hey everyone, how's it goin? Raise your hand if you don't know who I am and I look kinda weird?"

For those of you that know me well, that's my opening line when I teach.  My name is Ryan Lohoff.  I'm 34yrs old and live in Southern California.  I've grown up a dancer, performed professionally and have found my life passion teaching dance and inspiring younger generations.

I've traveled for larger convention events, individual studio choreography as well as teaching locally throughout the week. And if that wasn't enough, I've started my own professional dance company; beginning my transition into directing and choreographing dance for film. The passion runs deep haha!

I've been happily married for 5yrs to Brigid Lohoff...my beautiful, funny, talented and supportive wife. She's my best friend on this journey.  Together we live in Simi Valley, CA where we've owned and taught at Simi Dance Center for over 5yrs now. We have a handsome and hilarious little 3yr old boy with a daughter on the way!  I couldn't be happier and ready to experience the gifts I've been given and the life I've worked so hard to live.

Oh BTW...I now have stage 4 brain cancer with a median survival rate of 2yrs. Ouch.

Yeah.  That last line hits you out of nowhere, doesn't it? That's basically what happened to me back in January of 2017.  The company I work for, Hollywood Vibe Dance Convention, was hosting an event in Colorado.  I was teaching and judging...just like any normal convention work weekend.  It was exhausting but overall a great weekend.

While I was waiting backstage before our faculty show performance, I had a seizure.  After an ambulance ride to the hospital and a scan in CO, I flew home to CA for another scan and neurologist appointment. I soon discovered that I had a tumor. Gut punch #1.

The tumor was incredibly small and most likely benign. However, after 10 months of multiple MRI's and consults, it was determined, by a board of surgeons and doctors in Santa Barbara , CA, that I should have the tumor removed. It was in an easy location close to the skull, very small and had shown very little growth over the year. I'm young, so I should handle surgery and recovery just fine. Let's get it out before it causes more problems.

On December 1st, 2017...I had brain surgery.  After 6+hrs of surgery, I came out feeling just fine.  There's actually a video of me making some smart a$$ comment! For those of you that don't know me...I have a pretty twisted sense of humor!  The surgeons told us that everything went great. The tumor was fully removed and all indications were that it was benign.  ALL GOOD SIGNS!

I checked into the hospital on Friday, stayed the weekend and checked back out on Sunday.  Typical work weekend for me hahaha!  I went home and after only a couple days I was fully off pain meds.  I was healing up just peachy and before I knew it, 2 weeks had gone by.  It was time to get the staples removed and receive the pathology report on the tumor.

Oh hey there...just me, LIFE...gonna side swipe you again.  Remember that benign tumor?  Well, your tumor is not benign but instead, the worst brain cancer you can get...a GBM.  Glioblastoma Multiforme.  Oh, and did I mention this news came 5 days before Christmas?  Yeah...Merry Christmas?!?

I consider that moment, gut punch #2.  At this point I began researching my diagnosis, how to treat it, survival rates...you name it, I looked it up. Pretty sure I earned an honorary medical degree from the amount of researching I did on the internet.

After 7 weeks of research, clinical visits, oncologist meetings and waiting for treatment options to fall into place...on January 24th, 2018, I started fighting cancer back. It consists of a daily oral chemo pill, 5 days a week of partial brain radiation, supplements/CBD oils and a trial device called Nativis (nativis.com).  I also had an MRI that thankfully came out clear.

As of right now, I feel good.  But I'm also only 1 week into treatment.  I still have a way to go.   And based on what I've read about GBM's...this battle won't be an easy one.  I'm hoping for the best...but not ignoring the severity of the diagnosis.

As soon as I went public that I was diagnosed with brain cancer, I was very fortunate to receive a donation from the Dancer's Against Cancer foundation and Hollywood Vibe.  I was in total shock when this happened and I still can not thank them enough.

The dance community, as well as my local home community, has come together for me and I have people asking every day "How can I help?" or "I want to donate...what do I do?"  I know that I plan on beating the median survival rate of 2yrs and I have read stories of people battling this for 10+yrs.  But I have no idea how much all of this is going to cost and there's no way to even estimate a figure besides the current 1yr projections. 

For me...I hate the idea of accepting money or donations.  I've led a very priviledged life in my opinion and I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by those that love me.  However, I know that the initial donation is not going to be enough in the long run and it most likely is not even going to be enough in the short run.

If I plan on fighting this thing as long as I can, I'm going to need all the support I can get.  Honestly...it's not even for me.  I don't worry about me.  My wife, my son and my newborn daughter (expecting July 2018), will need the support. This is why I'm starting this GoFundMe. Because I'm realizing that this is bigger than me and in times like this, I need to accept the help if people are willing and wanting to offer it.

Whatever you would like to donate towards my current and future medical bills, please know that I'm forever thankful.  I'm going to continue doing what I do through my teaching for as long as I can, and enjoy every moment I get to spend with family, friends, my wife, and my children.

The amount of medical bills that I'm anticipating this year is overwhelming. Especially considering the fact I may get too weak to provide for my family. Knowing that we'll have help along the way is going to make that precious family time easier to enjoy and be in the moment :)

Again, thank you. I'll never be able to say it enough.
- Ryan

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Hey everyone,
I’m a little past due on this most recent update. Honestly it was a tiring week and I was being lazy LOL! But here are the most recent updates for you guys. I post updates to my FB "Brain News" group. If you want to follow there, everyone is welcome :)

As of last Tuesday, March 6th 2018, I completed my first and hopefully only round of radiation and chemo therapy! Woooo! I got a nice Windows 98’/Microsoft Word printed “completion diploma” and I get to keep my mask as a trophy. I don’t think Brigid will allow me to hang it above the fireplace though. Maybe I keep it by the front door so I can wear it whenever pizza is delivered. Have to think on it hahaha!

Still very little side effects with the exception of fatigue. I say my ONLY round of radiation…but there’s a constant nagging thought that sticks in my mind and reminds me what disease we’re dealing with. So I’m HOPING this is my only round of radiation…fingers crossed! Last week was a little rough on my stomach. I think mixing the last few treatments with long flights, time change, airport food…pretty much wrecked my system. It wasn’t until the end of the week that I started to feel better. But…”It got betta” (Monty Python, Holy Grail, Black Knight) hahaha!

A little over a week ago I had a meeting with an expert doctor (originally from UCLA) who is fighting tumors and cancer with medical cannabis. He is involved with and follows trials in Israel and other eastern nations. Those clinical trials are showing great promise and are already in Phase 3 of completion! He claims to have literally seen tumors shrivel up, turn into black flakes and die. It’s nice to have someone who knows what’s going on in the world. Unfortunately, not to get political but…the USA has issue with medical marijuana and has prevented a lot of research over here until just recently. Thanks merica’! Really helping people out by preventing research. ***cough***sarcasm***cough***

On a quick side note, Dr. Frankel is a pretty amazing human being. Ruxin came along with Brigid and I on this particular appointment. As we’re waiting in the lobby, Dr. Frankel comes around the corner and immediately starts to play with Ruxin. Making him giggle, tickling him, talking to him. Then the Dr looks at Brigid and I and says…

“I have 7 grandchildren of my own. I’m assuming he’s the patient? I like to have fun with them out here so that when we go back into my office it’s not so scary.”

At that moment I realized, the Dr thought we were there seeking help for Ruxin. He didn’t realize it was for me. Later on in his office he explains that he see’s a lot of children and parents every day, looking for help. I give him so much respect. I couldn’t imagine coming to work and seeing children day after day, with an illness like mine. Desperate parents looking for anything to cure their sons and daughters. That moment put a lot into perspective and hit me pretty deep. I’m beyond thankful it’s not my son and that it’s me going through this right now. It was a heartbreaking bitch slap of reality, to be blunt.

Ok…no more side note…back to MY visit with Dr. Frankel. The most recent addition to my treatment is a prescribed quad-dose, cannabinoid pill. In other words: 10mg THC, 10mg CBD, 10mg THC-A and 10mg CBD-A. Good news is that the 10mg THC is the only psychoactive ingredient and is a minor situation. Not gonna lie…it’s kind of intro level with my own personal experience in the past. Thankfully I’ve already got a “tolerance”…tee he he :) I couldn’t imagine being one of those children having to jump into this kind of treatment for the first time. Or even adults! The other cannabinoids aren’t psychoactive and so there was no adjustment needed. I was able to start full dose immediately, which is 3 of these pills a day. Again, with my stomach issues last week and then adding this on top of it…there was a little upset and just an un-easy feeling. After a couple of days, I’m used to it and the pills are just added to my daily regiment of meds.

In the meantime, I now play the waiting game. At some point within the next 2 weeks I’m anticipating a follow up with the radiologist, oncologist and clinical trial. I’m also assuming that I’ll have my first MRI once the radiation therapy calms down. Apparently it continues to work for a week or so after the treatments are done. Hmm…science lol. I’ll also be starting the cycle of 28 days off chemo, 5 days ON intense chemo. By intense chemo, I’m talking about taking twice the dosage I was originally taking. I’m expecting there will be some nausea, indigestion, upset stomach…you know…everything from the Pepto commercials hahaha! But it’s only for 5 days and then I’ll be off for another 28 days. This cycle I believe, is supposed to go for the next 2yrs. As long as my scan comes back clean, which I believe it will, then we’re good to go until another follow up scan every 2 months after that.

I think that’s about it on the medical updates. Quick family and work update while I’m here :) Yes…Brigid is still pregnant and it’s going great. I mean…it’s going great for me haha! She’s getting kicked from the inside out! Ruxin just had his 3rd birthday and we went to the zoo. He also is officially potty trained thanks to the remarkable weekend wizardry of my wife and the great potty gods! I think he’s a little late to the potty-train, but he’s definitely on board and even wakes up in the middle of the night telling us he has to go potty…instead of wetting the bed! *Insert slow clap here*

At the moment, I’m in Houston traveling with Hollywood Vibe still. The convention season has been going great. I’m also looking forward to teaching at the studio again starting this upcoming week. And since I’ve been feeling better over the past couple of days, projects and work ideas are flowing full stream right now. I’m excited to dive into some stuff and get going again. Ideally with the next 2 months of solid health, I’m wanting to make the most of that time until the next MRI scan. The show must go on as all creative performers know. So that’s what I’m gonna do…just keep on going!

Thank everyone for all of the continued support. Love to all of you!
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I'm floored. I honestly don't know how to accept the amount of support I'm receiving. It's very overwhelming...all I know how to do is say thank you and that doesn't come near expressing my gratitude.

This campaign had only been up 1 day and already it was close to meeting it's goal of $25k for year 1 estimated expenses!

I was trying to be conservative with my goal amount...and didn't realize that this much support would come back :) I've increased the campaign to give more room for people to continue contributing.

I'm actually clearing out some medical debt from the past year with the donations that have already come in. Every little bit is helping more than you'll ever know.

Thank you and love to all of you,
-Ryan & Family
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$39,793 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 336 people in 15 months
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