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This fundraiser ended on 01/05/11

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Diagnosed in 1995 with Barrett's Esophagus, a five-year survival rate of 3-5%, Hank Maeser receives treatments for two brain tumors.

     Henry Maeser is a great father, husband, brother, son, and friend. He was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus eight years ago and has been battling bout after bout every moment since that day. In 1995, Henry (Hank) Maeser was diagnosed with a condition called Barrett's Esophagus. The five-year survival rate for this type of cancer is 3-5%. He is receiving treatments for two brain tumors and the cost is staggering. Although the odds were extremely out of our favor, this had no impact on Hank's decision to begin treatment and take up the fight, head-on. Hank's courage and determination to win this fight has lead him to seek the most advanced treatments some of which are not covered by insurance or cancer programs. He needs financial assistance to help pay for these experimental treatments.



     In September 2002, Hank began chemotherapy and radiation treatments through clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. While undergoing chemo and radiation to the esophagus, the cancer metastasized into Hank’s back and liver. Two tumors were now present in his back, very close to the spinal cord, and one tumor was in his liver. Of course, the odds were not in his favor at this time either, because each of the tumors could not be surgically removed: the liver tumor was in a part of the liver that cannot be removed and the back tumors were too close to the spine and surrounded by nerves. As a result, doctors began chemotherapy and radiation on the liver while still continuing both forms of treatment on his esophagus. At the same time, experimental treatments were initiated on the back, one of which is now FDA approved and is known as the CyberKnife. This breakthrough technique is non-invasive and uses a laser to destroy a tumor without cutting the skin. Both of these conditions were diagnosed in 2003. By the summer of 2004, Hank and his family celebrated his first remission, the liver tumor was gone! The tumors in his back were also sent into remission in late 2004. As standard procedure, Hank receives chest radiation as his esophagus cancer is being fought off. Unfortunately, these radiation treatments led to the development of breast cancer in Hank's left breast in early 2005. He underwent a lumpectomy in August of 2005 followed by chemotherapy and radiation, also standard procedure after breast cancer. He went into breast cancer remission at the end of 2005.

    

     About a month after Hank being cancer free, he found out that he had five tumors in his liver. These were also esophagus cancer, metastasized and spread into the liver for the second time. This cancer was considered to be “stage 2.” Over a year of chemotherapy, radiation, and various experimental treatments followed and he went into remission in early fall of 2006. This now marked four years of reoccurring cancer and remission. During this time Hank has held a full-time job in which he continues to work at, every single day, throughout these complications. Although considered to be cancer-free for most of 2007, Hank started the year off with an immense amount of endocrine system problems due to a tumor in his adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is the gland that sits on top of the kidneys and receives the blood supply for the adrenal arteries. This was found to be the cause of the prior year of health problems and, luckily enough, was found to be benign. The gland was then removed in early 2008. In October of 2008 Hank was diagnosed with PML, a subset of AML, which is a rare form of Leukemia and has undergone a treatment regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. It is very rare for leukemia (cancer of the blood and bone marrow) to metastasize into tumors. Two tumors developed in Hank’s leg right outside of the bone marrow. These tumors were treated with chemo, radiation, and several experimental treatments. He fought extremely hard against this leukemia and was a few weeks away from remission when Hank started having bad headaches, jaw twitches, and foot and toe numbness due to two esophagus tumors in his brain. Chemo and radiation has begun on these tumors. One is responding well and is 25% of its original size. The tumor near the brain stem isn’t reacting to the treatment the way the doctors hoped it would and is causing dangerous brain stem swelling. As a result, the doctors have begun experimental treatments to reduce this swelling and help eliminate the tumor.

 

     Hank is a man who exudes a sense of hope and courage and is an inspiration to us all. Because of past support Hank and his family has received, he lives to see another day. Hank's attitude during all this is summed up in a quote: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ’I will try again tomorrow’”. Never give up hope.
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