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The Fighting Phoenix - Help Noel!

$89,182 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 592 people in 4 months
Created October 17, 2018
ABOUT NOEL
This October 2018 Noel was re-diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, multiple mixed germ cell tumors to be exact. She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer back in September 2017, four months after giving birth to her daughter, Leia. She celebrated her 30th birthday in the hospital last year; she will celebrate her 31st birthday in the hospital again this year. This time her prognosis is a lot scarier and she needs your help!


THE PLAN
After undergoing major surgery (a second time) to remove as many of the mixed Germ Cell tumors as possible in early October 2018, Noel has to move from Chicago to Indianapolis on October 24, 2018 for two months for treatment. She will be doing high dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplants at Indiana University Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Einhorn and Dr. Adra (Lance Armstrong's doctors).

Noel's treatment involves 20 days of consecutive in-patient HDCT (High Dose Chemotherapy) with a 5 day break, and then 20 days again of HDCT. This will be 10x stronger and more debilitating than her last bought with chemotherapy. The two chemotherapy drugs they plan to give her are Carboplatin and Etopocide. This will be at a very high dosage in hopes of obliterating the cancer that is still in her abdomen and saving her life.

Luckily, her surgery went better than anticipated. She was operated on (for a second time) by Dr. Lurain at Northwestern. Her chances of survival went from 15% to 70% in about a week's time after we met with Dr. Einhorn's team at IU. 

All that said, her family is extremely optimistic. Noel is extremely optimistic and strong. Everyone is geared up for the tough journey ahead with all of the faith in the world that Noel will overcome this and be cured from this terrible disease. But they need help...

THE FINANCIAL REALITY
Aside from this cancer recurrence being extraordinarily scary, Noel and her husband, Rob, are running into financial issues as both of them had to quit their jobs. Noel was an assistant store manager for a high end fashion consignment store and Rob worked in television production on the FOX show Empire. Therefore, they decided to launch this GoFundMe in hopes of raising money to help support them during this difficult time over the next three months. Rob will not return to work until the end of January 2019. 

WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?

rent.
The whole family will have to move to Indianapolis, but their landlords in Chicago (CA Urban Living) will not let them out of their lease. The cost of their current apartment is $3,175/month. They are all paid up through October but need help by November 1, 2018. 

This is their biggest cost. They were not expecting their landlords to not let them out of their lease during a life and death emergency. The lease goes until April 1, 2018. 

Furthermore, Noel's mother and sister are moving to Indianapolis with Leia to be close by. The cost per month is $3,000. 

Total = $18,525

(Update 10/19: Thanks to Nate Cooper and Eric Juster, we are likely going to get out of our Chicago lease November 1, 2018!!!)

food.
$200/week for groceries x 12 weeks is $2400. Noel's mother and sister are moving down to Indianapolis with Noel's 17 month old daughter, Leia, so this includes diapers and food for Leia.

Total = $2,400

health insurance.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois costs $1300/month (until Dec 25, 2018) then it will go up to $1500/month via Cobra.

Total = $4,100

medical bills. 
Out of pocket medical costs not covered by insurance will be at least $7,000.

Total = $7,000

car.
Their car payment is $259/month and insurance is $93/month. 

Total = $1,056

Grand Total = $33,081

*We decided to bump our goal to $50,000 after friends and family suggested we should. We are beyond grateful for all of your donations big and small. Thank you for sharing our story. It is working!*

**11/3 Update: we’ve decided to up our goal again to $100,000. Our new trajectory has a 42 week chemotherapy schedule (14 cycles). It’s a long road ahead. Thank you for your continued support!**


THE BOTTOM LINE
Noel is a loving mother and wife. She loves fashion, chocolate chip cookies, and all things Bravo. She's caring, intelligent, and gorgeous. Throughout all of this (this time and last) she's been a warrior. What saddens her most about this process is not being able to hold her daughter. Not being able to be 100% "mom" -- a job she was born to be. 

Her and her family are confident in this treatment plan and extraordinarily optimistic. Anything you can do to help them is appreciated, whether that be a donation or simply sharing this page on your social media channels. 

Please follow and tag @the_fighting_phoenix on Instagram or use the hashtag #thefightingphoenix so we can get the word out. This is Noel's personal IG page documenting her journey through this scary process; please look for updates on her treatment and recovery by clicking here:

https://www.instagram.com/the_fighting_phoenix/

Thoughts and prayers welcomed. Donations greatly appreciated.

Warmly,
Noel's Family


B"H
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12/29/18

Hello Everyone!

As 2018 winds down and we prepare for 2019, I want to send a quick update on Noel's journey. And furthermore, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support over these last 3 months.

Health Updates first:

Today is Day 12 of Cycle 3 of Noel's chemo. My last update, she was just getting started. Overall, her body is accepting the chemo as best as it can and we are definitely heading in the right direction! During Cycles 1 and 2, Noel experienced some complications that hospitalized her for almost a week both times. But we made it through and she's doing well right now. Woohoo!

We will be starting Cycle 4 on January 8, 2019. My hope is that we stay out of the hospital until then! I know we can :-)

Ok now for the impassioned words about charity:

Your donations are a Godsend. They are a miracle. I SINCERELY cannot imagine this journey without having the financial security we have because of all of your donations.

When Noel and I read her CT scan report the night of October 2, 2018, my stomach dropped in a way that I hope no one ever has to feel. It is a feeling of absolute hopelessness, fear, and panic. And yet. The feeling got worse when I thought "holy shit, I won't have any money in a few weeks and then have to lean on my parents even harder than I already am...and the stress it will cause on everyone...and what about our rent and our babysitter? And our car? AH!"

This thought created deeper panic in me. As a young father who has a sick wife, all I want during all of this is some kind of control over the situation. Some kind of base level day-to-day control that I can own and say "ok, Rob, at least that's good." And you guys have provided that for me with your donations. I sincerely could not get through this without your help.

So, thank you. For those who donated $1000 or more, holy shit! You must really love us! Thank you so much. Sincerely. You know who you are. We see you. We love you. To the anonymous donors, thank you! We see you. To those who couldn't donate, but shared our story, thank you! Our campaign has been viewed almost 20,000 times. To those who have prayed for us, thank you -- your words are getting through! For those who donated $10, fuck yeah! Thank you! To those who donated and don't even know us, you guys are a special breed of human -- thank you!

Thank you all, sincerely. It means so much to me personally and of course to Noel and little Leia.

Happy New Year. Happy Health! I will continue to keep you guys updated.

Xo,
Rob
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11/13/18
Hey guys,

Noel has officially begun chemo! Her first day was Monday, November 5th, 2018. The chemo regiment she will be undergoing is a 14 cycle plan alternating between VAC (Vincristine, actinomycin D, and cyclophosphamide) and VTC (vincristine, topotecan, and cyclophosphamide). Big words, I know. If you've heard of these drugs, you know they cause challenging side effects.

Each cycle is 21 days. 14 x 21 = 294 days = 42 weeks = basically a pregnancy term.

So, we have an extremely long road ahead.

Since my last update:

We checked into Keck/USC Norris Cancer hospital on Tuesday, 10/30 as Noel was experiencing fevers for three consecutive nights of about 103. They since figured out the cause of her fevers and are treating her with several antibiotics; they found an abscess of fluid, tested it, and put her on antibiotics asap. We have also done several paracentesis operations to remove fluid from her abdomen and under her lungs (the most being over 4 liters!), and those relieve her pain quite nicely. She experienced some negative side effects from her pain medication in the hospital and we had a somewhat endless sleepy day that put us all on edge. All that said, after almost two weeks in the hospital, she came home on Sunday, 11/11. THANKFULLY!

Looking ahead, the 14 chemo cycles will take us to the end of August 2019. So, that means your continued support is seriously appreciated. If you post this update to your Facebook pages, Noel will appreciate it. She needs the emotional support right now to get her through this next chapter of overcoming her chemo symptoms. Especially helping with her appetite. Our hope is that the chemo will push her cancer into remission. Although rare, it has been done before with PNET/Ewing's sarcoma. We have definitely started a new chapter...but the road is long and uncertain.

I am not sure why this has happened to Noel. I will likely never know. But I will say that watching her go through this fight with cancer (for a second, scarier time) is shedding light on how the powers of love can heal. Every corner we turn, we are running into nurturing people. Our families are holding us up. Our friends are holding us up. I feel sorry for anyone who has been effected by cancer and did not feel supported throughout the process. If you know of anyone else experiencing any form of cancer, please reach out to them. Send them love in any way you can. It is felt and helps.

Leia is doing great by the way. She's settling into Cali life very well :-)

Xo,
Rob
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10/29
Hey GoFundMe Fam,

We are settled in Los Angeles! We took a private jet from Indy to LA last Friday. It was quite an adventure. We traveled with Noel’s mom, dad, sister, Leia, Noel, myself, and 2 cats! Thankfully we made it in one piece.

We met our new gynecological oncologist, Dr. Yessaian, at Keck / USC Medical Center. We like the team and the facilities. Noel’s blood count was very low (likely due to the heavy travel day) so she spent Friday night in the hospital and received 3 bags of blood. She returned home Saturday afternoon and the rest of the weekend was honestly great.

As we get settled in life on the West Coast there are many things I am grateful for. For one, the weather is magical. Every day we wake up and expect sunshine. There’s no reason to expect anything else. Leia plays outside in the back yard every day wearing nothing more than a diaper and sunscreen.

I am grateful for my in-laws for opening up their home to us (again) and providing comfort unlike anything we could have achieved in Indy. I am grateful for my mom who made Indy as joyful as possible; taking care of Leia while Noel and I were in the hospital.

I am grateful for the Serta mattresses that were gifted to us by Monique! They are making Noel sleep soundly.

I am grateful for the oncology team at IU (Dr. Adra specifically) for being so incredibly reachable during this entire ordeal. Unanswered questions are the scariest part of all of this and I never felt in the dark or silenced or unable to communicate with Noel’s IU oncology team.

Furthermore, I am grateful for Noel’s returned strength. She is dealing with a lot of changes in her body and still making jokes and putting a smile on my face. Her kidneys are doing well. She’s eating as best as she can and drinking Blue Frost Gatorade like a champ.

The road ahead is LONG. There isn’t a final destination in sight aside from the obvious: full recovery. We are dealing with a type of cancer that is so rare that patients don’t have many options. So our best option is to take one day at a time. To support Noel with love, laughter, occasional chocolate and CBD lotion massages. And to stay hopeful and pray for a miracle.

She will finish the oral Etoposide in 4 days. Then we will do a CT scan in 2 weeks from now to see where the tumors are at. At that point, we will likely go for a more intense chemo (depending on her health/strength) called CAV/IE. Additionally, in about 4-6 weeks we will have genetic testing back which may lead to additional treatment options.

All that said, your continued financial support is appreciated as we aren’t sure how long this journey will take. But we are up to the task!

Thank you on behalf of Noel, Leia, and I for all of the donations, texts, messages, calls, and prayers. They are seen, felt, and heard. We love each and everyone of you and pray for all of you to have continued health and happiness.

All our love,

Noel, Leia, and Rob
Sitting in the backyard enjoying the sun
Leia on the private jet
Kelly, Leia, and Chase buying plants
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10/23
Unfortunately, we did not get great news yesterday. The Encology team at IU believes these are Primitive Nueral Ectodermal Tumors (PNET) that mutated from germ cell tumors. They are very hard to treat/maintain and even harder to cure.

That being said, Noel and all of us are staying strong and optimistic. Luckily we have the strongest person in the world on our team; Noel. She will beat this.

We’ve planned to move Noel back to LA by the end of this week. She will undergo oral Etoposide treatment for 10 days and thus lose her hair and be at higher risk of infection due to low white blood cell count. Hopefully the Etoposide will slow the growth of the tumors.

She will likely be transferred to USC Keck Medical Center. We are open to any clinical trials at this point. Thank you for all of your financial support. It has been an insane 3 weeks since all of this began on 10/2.

The bottom line is our family is strong. Noel is strong. We have support coming in from every direction. We have doctors looking in Noel’s case at all of the major cancer institutions in the US and Israel. I have faith that we will all come out on the other side stronger.

To end on a high note since this update isn’t the best: Leia is doing incredibly well.

-She said the words pumpkin, building, and hat.
-She’s hugging and kissing when you ask bc she’s such a love
-She spent 2 hrs yesterday with Noel and we played in the family room while watching Dory.
Leia in bed with momma.
We wrestled in bed for an hour
Staying positive bc of this little one.
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$89,182 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 592 people in 4 months
Created October 17, 2018
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