Harvey Nickel's CANcer story #iCANcancer

For: Harvey Nickel and family
Rockford, IL
Organizer: Amy Lacy (sister/aunt)
$42,522
of $30,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 123 donors

The Story

Finding out Harvey had cancer seemed so out of place; it's a chapter that doesn't belong at the beginning of someone's life. But we believe that God knows all of our days and the road ahead. 

After starting chemo, Harvey experienced debilitating side effects that severely diminished the quality of his life. We organized a team of doctors that helped us implement an integrative approach to his healing, and counteract the side effects from conventional treatment. We've been amazed at how his body is responding to deep nutrition and healing therapies that have given back his quality of life. Harvey CAN walk and run again; he CAN play and adventure again! 

We’re asking for help with the uninsured expenses that contribute to his healing and well-being, as we put the "CAN" in Harvey's CANcer story. We humbly welcome those that can donate to Harvey’s cause during these next 3.5 years of treatment. Above all, the prayers of hundreds of people and God’s unfailing provision continues to meet our every need. Our hearts are truly overwhelmed. Join us as we watch Harvey’s story unfold, as God’s omnipotence is revealed through the life of a little child.  

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 20, 2018

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Posted on March 20, 2018

Thank you for the donations that continue to come in...not only from YouCaring, but with packages sent to us with gifts, cards, and additional funds. You have taught us so much about giving to others without expecting anything in return. 

Presently Harvey is half way through a phase in treatment that gives increasing doses of chemo. The goal is to find at what point the body reaches toxicity, and they continue to increase the dose until the blood work shows they've accomplished the objective. 

We met with our oncologist in tears over the side effects Harvey's experienced since starting this phase last month. He's gone through a rollercoaster of emotional turmoil with episodes of crying and screaming throughout the days. He doesn't know why he cries. He's been so confused. Our oncologist said he couldn't do anything for Harvey, that he had to continue to increase the dose, but he could get me an appointment with the psychiatrist. I had to decline, since our primary goal is to address the toxicities Harvey's experiencing. We posted a plea for prayer on Facebook and we were flooded with responses of people praying and caring so deeply about the "valley" we've been in with Harvey's emotional well-being. 

We have been noticing more relief from his outbursts, although each day comes with its own set of challenges. After 9 months of intensive chemotherapy we've been feeling pretty worn out. But by God's design, we are still given everything we need to get through each day. We have housing, cars, food, continued donations (many of them given anonymously and we can't even send a personal thank you)...all spurring us on in this journey. 

We wanted to share some of the ways your gifts are currently contributing to Harvey's well-being: 

1. Harvey gets IV Vitamin C therapy 2-3 times per week. Each infusion is $145. It's not covered by insurance, and the cost can add up quickly, but it's an invaluable contribution to Harvey's health and ability to thrive. It soothes his body after chemo wipes him out. This therapy would NOT be possible without the donations you've given. 

2. Harvey has Play Therapy with a psychiatrist once a week ($100). At some point she will teach us how to implement what she is doing during the play sessions, but in our own home. So we won't need to do play therapy in a clinical setting long-term.

3. Our whole family is on a plant-based diet (whole, "living" foods—an abundance of fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds, and some grains and quinoa and spelt. No animal products, no refined sugar, no white flour, no processed foods). We try to eat as much raw food as possible, and when we do cook it, it's slow cooked at low temps to keep as much of the enzymes intact.  We have not used a microwave since Harvey's diagnosis. Everything is prepared with much love and intension. This may sound extreme to some, especially when you're talking about a child's diet, but we know this is the very best thing for Harvey as his body works around the clock to repair from the damages of chemo and stay cancer-free.

We found a wonderful supplier, Growers Organic, where we buy bulk, organic produce at prices that are the same (and sometimes cheaper) than conventional produce at the grocers. We are working with the county on obtaining a permit and with a local elementary school that would be the host for our weekly fruit and veggie stand (kind of like a little farmers' market), in our efforts to help make eating organic produce affordable for our family and for our community. Harvey's always talking about having his own stand to sell produce—he is going to share his dream at our meeting with Make-A-Wish this week. It would be a dream come true if they could help us bring this wish to life. 

4. Supplements. We want food to be Harvey's main source of nourishment, but we also use supplements to compliment his diet.

He takes 3 herbal tinctures: an adaptogenic herb called Rhodiola ($35), and the others are herbal blends that we use for maintaining a healthy immune system—Biocidin ($60), and Kids Immune Fortifier ($40).

He takes a Kids Multivitamin ($30) that's formulated with the proper B vitamins for his genetic mutation (MTHFR), and Methyl Folate ($15), specifically during this phase of chemo to help offset some of the toxicity from the anti-folate chemo he receives in increasing doses.

Our holistic physician at Zuza's Way just put Harvey on SAMe ($33) (S-Adenosyl Methionine)—SAMe is present in every living cell in the body and plays an important part in many critical cellular functions.

He uses Results RNA sprays: ACZ Nano ($75), ACR Regen ($50), ACG Glutathione ($75).  

Finally, CBD Oil hemp extract ($290).

The price of these supplements may seem costly (they are!), BUT they are worth their weight in gold with potency and how they've complimented Harvey's diet and health. Most chemo kids are admitted to the hospital numerous times during aggressive treatment for infections, but that's only happened once to Harvey for a fever that dissolved in half a day. We know that his diet and supplements have been key players in keeping him healthy while he's been so immunocompromised....and your prayers and God's protection ;)

The monetary figures we shared above are a way we can highlight how we are pouring your gifts back into Harvey's quality of life. We believe that EVERYONE going through chemo should have access to these things...that they should be part of standard treatment. But instead, Western medicine is built around drugs and more drugs. If you give life-giving foods, supplements, and therapies, you get life in return. If you give drugs and more drugs...well, you get the picture. 


Thank YOU for helping GIVING LIFE to our cancer-free son!


Posted on January 28, 2018

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Posted on January 28, 2018

You've brought Harvey's fundraiser $41K+. Our hearts are filled to the brim with amazement and appreciation for the depth of your giving—thank you!

It's been several months since our last post, and we have a long update. November and December were trying months for our family as Harvey started one of the most aggressive phases of his chemo treatments, spanning 57 days, called Delayed Intensification. Before starting this phase, he had an Echocardiogram to determine the strength of his heart, since one of the chemos  (nicknamed the "red devil") can cause heart failure. Harvey's echo results showed he had a strong heart that could withstand the burden this chemo has on the heart. 

Day 1 of Delayed Intensification included: a lumbar puncture for chemo in his spine, an oral chemo, and two chemos by IV, one being the "red devil." That night after he received this cocktail of chemos, he was up through the night vomiting, and by morning he was vomiting every 15 minutes throughout the day. This was certainly the most horrific experience Harvey has been through so far. The typical anti-nausea meds weren't strong enough for him, and his response was not a "normal" response. We feared that if he fell asleep, he wouldn't wake up. We've never seen him so sick and weak. 

When you watch your child go through this, you can't help but question why chemo is the only option; why we have to use poison (for over 3 years) on a disease-free body to keep it in remission, and create a response that leaves parents wondering if it will take their child's life. There ARE better ways, but since they are within the realm of "alternative" care, children do not have the right to alternative treatments like adults do...treatments that are non-toxic and without side effects. Our prayer is that someday children will have the opportunity to heal their disease without poison, that we will treat their whole being, not just the symptoms.

We had reached a point in Harvey's chemo treatment during Delayed Intensification where we knew his body couldn't tolerate any more, yet he was required to have intense doses week after week. We told our oncologist we had no other option but to decline chemo due to the level of toxicity in Harvey's body. We knew this decision was not putting Harvey in jeopardy: he's been in remission for 5 months, we have been offering a nourishing variety of complementary care at home (nutritious diet, supplements, pulse electromagnetic field therapy, IV vitamin C therapy, infrared sauna, lots of play and rest), and the hand of the God of the universe is over our son. 

Our request: Harvey needed his doses to be tailored according to his response. The response: he will continue to receive the doses that are prescribed, but they could layer on more and more meds to mask his side effects (each of those meds also comes with their own list of side effects). We needed to get another opinion and interviewed at UIC in Chicago, who proscribed the same protocol and doses. We didn't expect much different, since the protocol for leukemia is set in stone at every institution around the country. But we did it for Harvey's sake, so that one day we can tell him we did everything we could to make sure he was receiving the best possible treatment. 

Our decision to pause treatment and continue our complimentary care at home while we obtained another opinion resulted in us being reported to the Department of Child and Family Services for child abuse/medical neglect. An investigation was started immediately and is still pending. To add legal counsel and a DCFS investigation on top of Harvey's weakened state and weekly chemotherapy brought us to our knees. We've been crying out to God to give us his wisdom and strength, to show us the way, to part the sea that's been before us. 

After obtaining another opinion in Chicago, we realized our original institution in Wisconsin was the best in the area for childhood cancer, but our oncologist there wouldn't take Harvey back, despite our tearful plea. We also didn't want to lose custody of Harvey, so we resumed treatment immediately at UIC in Chicago and complied with the oncologists' requirements for chemo, (and to date, he has never missed one prescribed dose of chemo). The long commutes in the car, long waits in waiting rooms, missing regular naps, meals, and days to just play and be a normal kid, really took a toll on Harvey and June. Additionally, with Harvey being so immunocompromised from chemo, these things only further depleted him and increased his risk for developing life-threatening infections. 

We assessed how we could best support Harvey's health and well-being, especially with 3 remaining years of chemo, and created a must-have list for Harvey (in no particular order): live in close proximity to a children's hospital, have access to outdoor play and sunshine as much as possible throughout the year, good access to fresh produce, a loving church and community of friends/family, and wellness care (chiropractic, vitamin C therapy, etc.)  While our home in Rockford had most of these "must haves," we felt that the Lord was moving us in a different direction. 

We contacted Colorado Children's Hospital and spoke with the oncologist who welcomed a transfer of care from Chicago to Colorado. This was the first green light. The second was an invitation to live with our family friends, who have a newly renovated lower level that's fully furnished. And with these open doors, we decided to move back to Lakewood, CO, where Stu and I met, married, had our first home, and welcomed Harvey to the world. It's a place we know well, with a strong community of friends, along with my sister and her family who live here, too. 

Because Harvey has weekly chemo that can't be interrupted, we had a short window to make our move. We needed to be close to a children's hospital with Harvey being severely neutropenic, and transferring care from Chicago to Colorado was the best decision, for now and for the future. We only had 5 days to tie up all the loose ends and move across the country, hence the inability to have a proper goodbye with everyone who loved and supported us. 

It broke our heart to say goodbye to my parents, who we moved in with shortly after Harvey was diagnosed. Their home became our haven for healing. Our children developed a precious relationship with their Nana and Papa during this time. Before moving in with my parents we lived out on my grandpa's farm, where the kids had endless opportunity to explore and play outdoors. Leaving these two homes, and my parents and grandpa, came with many tears. We will miss them dearly and the endless ways they supported our family. We will also miss our pastor and the community at Maywood Evangelical Free Church who has lavished love, prayer and support on our family.

While these last couple of months have been filled with a spectrum of emotion and obstacles, God has been using every hill and valley to grow us, even in the hard soil of affliction. We have gone through many days that we wish not to repeat, and it has made us more dependent on God. He is deepening our roots. He is forming buds that will bloom and show their beauty in time. And while there may be some who respond in anger over the State being involved in an investigation for "neglect," we ask that you turn to prayer instead. Please pray for our family and also for those overseeing this investigation, both in Illinois and Colorado. We knew our decisions warranted an investigation, and we don't hold it against them. We are grateful that they are there to rescue children who are truly being neglected, and pray that their findings would prove otherwise in this case. 

Presently we are happy and well in Colorado and have resumed treatment at Colorado Children's Hospital in Highlands Ranch. It's an amazing facility with an amazing care team to match. We've been at the hospital every day this week, as we crank out the last two weeks of this beastly Delayed Intensification phase. They told us that it's common for kids to need blood transfusions after the chemo infusions he received this week because it takes such a blow on the body. Even though they've prepare us for the possibility of Harvey being hospitalized, we boldly ask the Lord that he would swiftly regenerate his body. So far this week he's only experienced nausea which is a huge answer to prayer, and we ask God's continued grace over the weeks ahead. 

Thank you for taking the time to read the details of these last few months and for supporting us with prayer and gifts. All of the donations you have given to Harvey's cause continue to provide the very best nourishment with food and healing therapies such as vitamin C. This journey has given Harvey a unique interest for healthy foods and food prep/cooking. It's incredible taking him into the grocery store and have him be delighted over finding mushrooms and cucumbers, and loading up the cart. We are tickled to see what his future will hold as he influences others on the importance of healthy food and lifestyle choices that lead to a disease-free, vibrant life.  


Posted on November 10, 2017

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Posted on November 10, 2017

Our fundraising goal for Harvey has been met! This doesn't even seem real, and it's pretty emotional reflecting on the generosity that brought us all the way to $30K+ 

Harvey just completed another phase of his treatment. He had been receiving increasing doses of chemo every 10 days, with the intent to reach toxicity. In addition, he had multiple lumbar punctures where he was given chemo in his spine as a preventative, in case leukemia wanted to hide out in the central nervous system. 

October was a "harder" month for Harvey, in that we could see the effects of the toxicity mounting. We've been able to mitigate almost all of the side effects through nutrition and supplements and healing/detoxing therapies/routines like vitamin C, infrared sauna, chiropractic, pulse electromagnetic field mat, lymphatic massage, castor packs, detox baths, and lots of activity outdoors (vitamin D is so important for immunity)! Harvey's been able to remain an active kid, which we are so grateful for. But his eyes have really revealed the increasing state of toxicity inside. Even so, your support has allow us to give Harvey so many ways to heal and maintain his quality of life through challenging portions of his treatment. 

We now have an integrative/holistic physician at Zuza's Way. She's adding a dynamic component to Harvey's care team. She's helping us with detailed testing to find out exactly what his body is/isn't able to use as far as food and supplements go, and give us very personalized care that's specific to Harvey's needs, such as healing his gut which is destroyed by chemo and antibiotics. We found out he's homozygous for an MTHFR gene defect, which means he has limited ability to convert folic acid into it's active form (methyl folate). I won't go into the scientific details, but this gene mutation effects many aspects of health and he has greater trouble removing toxins from the body. The positive in finding out about this mutation is that we can do things to minimize the problems associated with it, such as keeping up his nutrient diet and non-toxic living, and giving him specific types of B vitamins that his body is able to metabolize. 

We are currently on a two week reprieve for his body to recover from the high doses of chemo he's been getting, before starting the most challenging two months of his treatment, called delayed intensification. Someone has gifted us their vacation home in Sanibel Island, FL, and we have decided to take our first family vacation before Harvey has his next phase of treatment (we are blown away)!  We know that God is giving us this time to recharge our batteries, and reboot Harvey's immune system with lots of vitamin D and connect with God's creation (walking barefoot on the beach). We feel pretty spoiled by the overflowing gifts from friends and strangers...it just doesn't stop. All gifts come from above, and God has used YOU to bless us with His gifts. 

We rejoice over God's continued provision over his life and health, and your hospitable giving and prayers for our son. You can follow more of our family's day-to-day activities through Facebook and Instagram: i CAN cancer (@icancancer2). 

PRAYERS: Safe travels, health, and recharge for our trip to Florida. Improved sleep for Harvey and June as they both have had poor sleep for months (trying to figure out ways we can help them). Recovery from this last phase of treatment before starting Delayed Intensification. 

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