Disclosure: This post was sponsored by GiveForward,
but the story you're about to read is my own.
This June will have been 7 years since I lost my dad.
My dad was diagnosed with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)(cancer) in 1999. At the time, his oncologist had no clue what this even was, much less even begin to know how to treat it. We lived in a small town and he was referred to oncologist after oncologist. He tried chemo but hated the effects. He had a 13 year old daughter and a 7 year old son who were begging him to come play, after all. He wasn't given very good odds because of the rarity of his disease. Thankfully, this didn't stop him.
My dad wasn't the kind of guy to sit back and just let this happen. He started looking into medical trials and over the years was matched up with trials in Philadelphia, Boston and Santa Monica. He underwent several new-fangled surgeries (like being injected with a chemical that 'lit up' his cancer cells, very futuristic at the time) and at one point was traveling for treatment a cycle that sent him from Seattle to Boston on a rotation of once every 4 weeks, twice a month and then back to once every 4 weeks. Imagine the toll it takes on a healthy person to fly that often; and then imagine how a cancer patient feels.
Through his perseverance in trying to find a cure my dad lived with his disease for 9 years. I only know of one other person who has surpassed that time. My dad's battle is the symbolism behind my tattoo. During his travels for cancer treatment he took it as an opportunity to see parts of the country that he normally wouldn't have seen; and took my brother and I on several of those trips.
He couldn't have gotten to where he did without the help of others. As a state worker he was gifted vacation hours by his co-workers so that he can travel for his treatments. When he was in Boston he stayed with a family that made their upper floor available for cancer patients who came to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He connected with Angel Flights, where pilots volunteer their time and plane to fly medical patients where they need to go; in my dad's case from Seattle to Santa Monica.
GiveForward is an online fundraising website and one of the easiest ways to raise money for a loved one in need. You can start a fundraiser in a few minutes and spread the word through social media easily. This can be employed to help a patient cover the vast amount of expenses they incur during their treatment. Giveforward has helped over 1,000 cancer families raise over 9 million dollars. You can link up to a fundraiser of someone you know, or bless a stranger with your donation.