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The Fighting Phoenix - Help Noel!

$93,316 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 637 people in 9 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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6/11/19

Hey GoFundMe Fam,

First off, thank you again for all of your support over these last 8 months. We are still fighting along steadily and I want to share a brief update on where Noel’s treatment is at.

The high dose Ifosfamide that Noel was on these last couple of months provided Noel with some of her best days energy wise. She’s been spending A LOT more time with Leia than she was back in December or January, which makes both of them and me happy lil campers. Her and I have gone on several dates, which have been major highlights for me — she even ate Butter Cake at Nick’s with me, which if you don’t know what that is — you’re missing out on spoonfuls of heaven. Noel goes out with her shaved head like a boss. And she looks amazing. No one rocks a shaved head like her :-)

Onto Medical stuff:

Last week, Noel received PET and CT scans to see where things are at. Thankfully, the 8cm tumor from March in her lower right pelvis has virtually disappeared! Noel underwent 28 cycles of radiation and the report was so positive that they thought she had surgery to remove it. Really great news. However, they did spot a couple new growths by her liver and bladder. Luckily, these are under 2.5 cm in size so we are going to hit them with a new chemo regiment hoping to show a decrease in size and stop any new tumors from growing. There is potential for more radiation but we aren’t entirely sure yet. Noel began her new chemo regiment yesterday, which includes Irinotecan and Temodar. She will be on it for five days straight, then two weeks rest. Thankfully, it’s all out-patient chemo so no sleeping over at the hospital!

Overall, we feel like we take two steps forward, then one step back, then two steps forward again. I feel like we are heading in a positive direction. We don’t have an end date as you can imagine. If the new chemo regiment works well and her tumors decrease in size and don’t repopulate, then likely a de-bulking surgery will be in the next month or two. If we see some new growth, then we will shift chemotherapies again and be stunted another couple of months before surgery.

But that’s not stopping Noel from planning some post-treatment trips or getting Leia into Summer camp. As for me, I have been freelancing a little bit developing some tv shows. Always hungry for more work! I think the plan is to freelance until Noel’s treatment is done and then look for full time gigs. But I am always open to learn more about any opportunities, so don’t be shy.

I will do my best to update my dear GoFundMe fam in a few weeks after the chemo regiment has really gotten hold of the tumors. Thanks again for your continued financial support, prayers, and Butter Cake…I mean love.

Xoxo,

Rob, Noel, and Leia
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3/26/19

Hey guys,

Noel is home after a week long trek in the hospital. Unfortunately, we had some upsetting discoveries during her pre-op PET scan on March 13th. An 8cm tumor was found in her lower right pelvis, which did not show up on the January 24th CT scan. That being said, our doctors postponed surgery for the immediate future and we are preparing for radiation treatment to begin on the large tumor.

Furthermore, Noel is no longer on VTC/VAC alternating chemotherapies; she has switched to high dose ifosfamide on a 14 day drip with 14 days rest. She just finished Days 1-7 in the hospital, and will do Days 8-14 at home. Side effects are mostly fatigue, so we are keeping things mellow at home binge watching Sex and the City and Marie Kondo.

All that said, WE ARE STAYING POSITIVE! Noel's determined in her fight and the radiation specialist is confident he can shrink the larger tumor while our oncology team looks for positive results with high dose ifosfamide chemo.

The plan moving forward is to get Noel started on radiation around April 15. It will be a six-week process and she will get radiation treatment every day Monday-Friday for about 15 minutes. Once the tumors get back in control and show signs of shrinking again, she will get surgery to remove the remaining tumors.

As for Leia and I and the entire family, we are all doing well. Our families have been extremely supportive throughout this process and I have to especially thank my mom, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law. Without them this journey would seem impossible, but thankfully we are getting through it!

And as for Noel, she had some of her most energetic and lovely days before starting this new chemo. It was the longest she had gone without chemo and her feistiness and incredible sense of humor shined bright. She is a warrior and I am so proud to call her my wife and best friend. Her determination, strength, and positivity are truly astonishing. It's hard for me to tell her how amazing I think she is so I am putting it out there here. If you get a moment this week, please tell her in your own way too!

I will update everyone again soon. Thank you for your continued support!

Xo,
Rob
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2/20/19

Hey guys,

I apologize that it has been over two months since my last update. We settled into a regiment with Noel’s chemo so time has really flown by.

I am happy to say Noel is continuing to head in the right direction! She’s had a couple very promising CT scans showing that the majority of the original tumors are no longer in sight! This is a huge development.

Furthermore, Noel will be getting surgery on March 21st to remove two small tumors the size of your thumbnail that has not responded to the chemo. Our doctors have celebrated the chemo response thus far however, so our hopes are high!

All that said, Noel started doing some strength training at home with our family’s yoga instructor. She’s gained about 12 pounds back and is the most beautiful cancer patient I’ve ever seen.

What’s ahead:
-Cycle 6 chemo VTC (going on now 2/19-3/11)
-10 days rest
-Surgery to remove tumors (3/21)
-3 weeks rest
-Cycle 7, 8, and potentially 9 chemo (roughly 4/9-6/10)

So we still have until middle of June to go. But it’s better than end of August! Also, we are about to have are longest break from chemo since Noel began treatment, which we are very excited for.

On the fun side of things: I’ve noticed more and more smiles coming from Noel. Although she’s still in pain everyday and totally exhausted, she really is getting better. I truly see it. We are deep into this season of The Bachelor and her nausea has subsided a little bit so we’ve been watching the newest season of Top Chef.

Leia is doing wonderful. She’s talking, walking, instagramming. All of it. I am still not working full time but have some freelance work coming up, which is very exciting. The time I’ve gotten with my daughter is truly priceless.

Thanks for reading this! I’ll try and update more often. And please continue to share Noel’s journey on your socials. We are $10K short of hitting our goal, which literally blows my mind. My sincerest thanks for all of your financial support as we navigate this storm.

My best,

Rob
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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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$93,316 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 637 people in 9 months
Created October 17, 2018
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