Harvey Nickel's CANcer story #iCANcancer

For: Harvey Nickel and family
Rockford, IL
Organizer: Amy Lacy (sister/aunt)
$41,522
of $30,000 goal.
Raised by 119 donors
100% Complete

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 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. 


Posted on October 7, 2017

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Posted on October 7, 2017

Harvey's ability to laugh is like none other. He finds joy in the simplest things. Even though his body is receiving regular chemo infusions, and he's back on a chemo that debilitated him with neuropathy (nerve damage) at the start of treatment, he's still running and playing; his quality of life has not diminished. THANK YOU for your support in prayer and gifts that have helped him feel so much joy each day. Your gifts have reached over $18,000 - this is something we can't even wrap our heads around, and we are forever grateful. 

Since we are traveling so often between Chicago and Madison for treatments, we try and get as much time as we can playing outdoors, going for picnics and hikes in the woods, getting as much vitamin D from the sun as we can. Harvey picks out his food at the grocery store and loves to come home and prepare his meals. We celebrated his 4th birthday October 1st, and he specifically requested: beef liver meatballs, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, and a "steak cake." We told him we didn't know of a recipe for steak cake, and settled on a carrot cake instead. Does this sound like something a 4 year old would ask for their birthday? It certainly isn't the same "Harvey" as a few months ago with regard to food choices. He's been teach is so much about his body's ability to crave nourishing foods that are healing to his body. He doesn't eat any sugar. He eats only whole, raw foods, with high quality animal proteins and fats. Nothing boxed or packaged. He finds so much joy in preparing the foods he wants to eat, and his body is responding in remarkable ways. The other day he asked for broccoli for breakfast, and when we were going to make homemade ice cream that evening (made only from coconut milk), he asked for "monster juice" instead. We juice kale, spinach, celery, lemon, mint, and granny smith apples to make "monster juice" that he's fanatical about. 

This little boy teaches us new things every day, and we thank God for how this diagnosis, as difficult as it has been, has brought us closer together as a family and shown us the powerful healing tools God's given us through food, time spend outdoors, and living a simpler, more minimal life. 

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