I’m going to do something I really haven’t done in the 5+ years of Pretty Opinionated’s existence: I’m going to ask you for money. It’s not for me, though. I’m asking you to consider donating to help my amazing Aunt Donna fight brain cancer. Any amount will help. Any at all. If you don’t have money to donate, I’d appreciate it so much if you could share her GoFundMe to help us reach others.
I realize that you don’t know my aunt Donna, but she is one of the most important people in my life. As many of you know, I grew up with a single mom. My aunts played a major role in shaping who I am today. Let me tell you a little about her, so you can understand why this GoFundMe is so important to me. I know once you get to know her a little better, you’re going to love her too.
Who is Donna?
This is a lot harder to write than I thought it would be because I want to tell you so many things about my aunt. She’s a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur. She’s light and beauty, with a positive attitude like no other. She’s 4’oclock lattes in the middle of the ocean and my long-time Monday night movie date (before we both moved away).
Donna has always been one of the brightest parts of my life since I was born. When I was 2, she brought me back a teddy bear from California. I still sleep with him to this day. She’s the one who took me horseback riding as a child and prom dress shopping as a teen. When I got into a fight with my mom at 14, she drove over in the middle of the night to pick me up. No judgment. No questions. No pressure. She taught me how to put on makeup and spent 4 hours with me in a salon for my 16th birthday when I wanted purple hair. She’s supported me in every one of my life decisions. Even the ones that were probably mistakes, because she knew I had to make them and learn from them. She’s my aunt, my big sister and one of my best friends all rolled into one.
Donna’s son is my son’s best friend, even though he’s six years older than Jacob. They’re more like brothers than cousins. While they only physically see each other a few times a year, they spend hours together playing games online. He’s a senior in high school this year, and my aunt deserves to see him graduate. Deserves to see him grow up, go to college, get married, have kids of his own (not for a long time, though!).
Donna’s Fight Against Brain Cancer
On February 9, 2015, my aunt went into surgery to remove a tumor in her brain. We all thought it was non-cancerous. Just something they could pluck out and be done with. Then we found out that there was a chance it was cancer. I remember my aunt’s phone call vividly. I answered the phone. She asked me to put it on speaker so she could talk to both me and my mom at the same time. knew it wasn’t good news when she said that. Donna began by saying that she had some bad news but wanted us to be positive. Then she told us that the diagnosis came back as glioblastoma multiforme. Cancer. One of the worst words you’ll ever hear uttered from your loved one’s lips.
Despite the terrifying diagnosis, my aunt remained very positive and upbeat throughout weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. On May 27, 2015, she called to tell us that she was cancer free. We all breathed a massive sigh of relief and celebrated the news. Less than six weeks later, the tumor was back. For last year+, my aunt has undergone a series of aggressive treatments to try to keep the cancer under control.
The infusions she received helped for a little while, but unfortunately, this type of cancer is aggressive and persistent. On June 20, 2016 Donna had her second brain surgery. After over a year of fighting and undergoing treatments, Donna’s body wasn’t as strong as it was back during her surgery in 2015. In August, she was hospitalized for days due to swelling in her brain. Still, she remains positive and bright.
Throughout much of her early treatments and illness, my aunt continued working. Her work ethic is like no other. Most people would curl up and hide from the world, but Donna worked right up until she just physically couldn’t do it anymore. Insurance does not pay for everything and with deductibles and co-pays, medical bills add up fast. My aunt and her husband have tapped into every resource they have to cover the bills. They have never asked for help. Ever. They really need it now, though.
Donna is about to start a new treatment plan that is promising, but the treatments cost $350 a month and she will have to pay for them out of pocket. My mom started the GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of raising enough funds to help offset those costs, which will add up quickly. The funds will also go towards other costs, such as medications, that are not fully covered by insurance.
My aunt has been fighting for more than 18 months now. She’s one of the strongest people I know. Her positive attitude is awe-inspiring. The world needs to keep people like her in it. She makes it a better place for everyone she meets. Please help us help Donna in her fight for life.