Dollars For Draven

For: Andrea & Kevin Dunklow
Organizer: Jennifer Strange
of $30,000 goal.
Raised by 336 donors
83% Complete

The Story

My 17-month-old nephew, Draven, is an amazingly cute and charismatic child.  He loves to dance, his smile is infectious, and his soul is as gentle as they come.  This sweet little peanut, however, was recently diagnosed with a hereditary form of retinoblastoma.  This rapidly developing and rare type of eye cancer is found in young children.  It was determined to be bilateral (in both of his eyes) and he is currently preparing at Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids for systemic chemotherapy treatments.

My sister and her husband, Andrea and Kevin Dunklow, are fortunate to have health insurance, which will hopefully cover most of the treatment costs.  The insurance did not cover though the $4000 for both of them to complete necessary genetic testing.  In addition, the out-of-pocket expenses are placing further stress upon them.  They would benefit immensely from funds that could cover the cost of travel, vehicle repairs, and lost income as they commute to and from their home in Traverse City and Devos in Grand Rapids.  This would also allow them to continue to provide for their other 4 children: Jalee (age 6), Dylan (age 5), and Jackson (age 4) as well as Joslyn (Draven's twin sister).  Joslyn has not been separated from her brother since they came home from the hospital until now and she is missing her brother?#39;s presence in the family home.

Any amount that you could donate to ease the financial stress on my sister's family would be greatly appreciated.  My goal is to allow them to put their entire focus on Draven and their other children, without stressing about how they will cover their bills.  If nothing else, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 9, 2016 by Jennifer Strange
It's been a great start to 2016!  Draven had a check up at Devos earlier this week and the doctor indicated that Draven's MRI had stable changes, with nothing acute.  Additionally, all of this labs were perfect!

Now that Draven's health has stabilized, the Dunklow family has a big adventure planned!  Today, the Dunklow family was treated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to a send off lunch at La Senorita along with close friends and family to celebrate the Dunklows' upcoming trip to Atlantis Bahamas Resort!  See the pictures from today's lunch in the photo album.  A big thanks to Make-A-Wish for making this family trip possible for Draven!

As always, Andrea and Kevin appreciate your continued support and prayers!!!

Posted on October 31, 2015 by Jennifer Strange
The good news continues! Draven has continued his periodic checks in both Michigan and New York. To this date, all of the eye exams have provided excellent results that there are no new tumors and the old tumors are dead and calcified. Draven has not had to receive any chemotherapy treatments in almost 11 months!! Draven and his parents are scheduled to return to New York for his next routine check in February of 2016. Draven has grown to be a happy and fearless three year old. The status of his eyesight is still unknown as he is still a bit young for a regular eye exam. Regardless of his eye sight, he stills runs around like a wild man and plays with all four of his siblings, who he loves so much! As always, Kevin, Andrea and family would like to thank everyone for the continued prayers and support. It means the world to all of them!

Posted on May 4, 2015 by Jennifer Strange
Wonderful news! 
Draven is still cancer free and the doctor said it's "highly unlikely" for the cancer to return. 
Draven can start to have some of his exams now back in Michigan, starting in June.
From that point on, it sounds like his exams will rotate (every other one) between Michigan and New York.
Andrea and Kevin are hoping that the worst is finally past them and that Draven continues to improve. 
As always, they are incredibly grateful for the support they have received from you all!!!

Posted on November 30, 2014 by Jennifer Strange
Draven's most recent trip to New York revealed that there were no vitreous seeds in his eye compared to more than 500,000 seeds that he did have to start.  He has had two intra arterial treatments and two intravitreal injections with a trip this week to New York for a third injection since they are now weekly.  Andrea and Kevin will find out this week how many more treatments he will need.  It could be one more of each treatment or maybe none.  Draven is doing awesome!

Andrea and Kevin will also find out what the suggested follow up looks like although at this point they know next month Draven will need to have another MRI and clinic appointment with the oncologist at Devos.

Draven's counts dropped again requiring more neupogen and he had another blood draw today to make sure his counts are high enough to go back to New York.  All in all though, things are going good!

Financially, the trips to New York have been draining their funds.  Round trip tickets for Kevin, Andrea, and Draven have been around $1600 for a trip and, as everyone knows, New York is a very expensive city to be in.  If you have any funds to spare, Andrea and Kevin would certainly appreciate anything that could be provided to them.  Hotel and airfare points could also be donated.  

Andrea and Kevin remain ever thankful for all of the financial support that has been provided to them over the past year!  Please continue to keep Draven and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  

Posted on October 23, 2014 by Jennifer Strange
Draven did really well in his procedure today but the recovery was rough.  He is not feeling well and is sweating profusely, requiring a couple changes of bed linens.  He had vomited and then developed an irregular heart beat.  He had an EKG done and pediatric cardiology indicated that it was nothing to worry about.  Draven is acting better now but Andrea and Kevin are still very concerned.

Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers tonight, as it has been a very trying day for them!

Posted on October 22, 2014 by Jennifer Strange
Kevin, Andrea & Draven landed safely in New York yesterday.  I uploaded a couple of photos of them out exploring the city.

Draven had his first appointment today. Thousands of vitreous seeds were found in his eye.  They are originating from a new tumor.  You don't just get them; rather, they are coming from his case, a new tumor.  As the seeds settle, they begin to act like new tumors, which he also has.  Dr. Abramson said that Draven's eye is full of disease.  Treatment will begin tomorrow and is 2 hours long plus a 5 hour recovery.

He had cryo today to increase uptake from tomorrow's intra arterial treatment.  His eye is really swollen and he's uncomfortable.  It was recommended to proceed with a combination treatment to cure his eye.  The combo includes cryo, intra arterial, and intravitreal.  Andrea and Kevin were hesitant about the intravitreal but it increases the chance of success from 66% to 99%.  So far there haven't been any extra ocular post intravitreal treatment but it remains a risk. 

Intravitreal is the injection of chemo into his eye while sedated.  The risk is that as they remove the needle, one tiny cancer cell could hop on it and then become extra ocular (outside of the eye).  Retinoblastoma outside of the eye is fatal.

Next trip out is in a month and after that exam, they will know how to proceed (include intravitreal or not, which would be weekly for 4 to 6 injections).  If there is no response from tomorrow's treatment, they will move forward with enucleation (removal of the eye).

Please continue to share this page, as the original amount of money raised will not be enough to cover all of their expenses.

For those of you who don't feel comfortable providing an online donation, Draven (Dunklow) still has an account set up in his name at Credit Union One, located at 1202 Veterans Drive, Traverse City, MI  49684.  You can mail or drop off donations there.

This is a very scary time for my sister and Kevin, as they try to make the best decision for Draven and their entire family.  They are very grateful for the continued support and prayers!  Thank you!!

Posted on October 14, 2014 by Jennifer Strange
From Andrea:

An update on Draven...due to a cold with cough, sneezing and runny nose, our trip to New York has been postponed. The anesthesia department will not sedate any children who have even a minor cold. We are tentatively planning to leave Monday. Thank you to all for the continued support!

Posted on October 6, 2014 by Jennifer Strange
Draven had been doing well for several months but today my sister and Kevin received news that they had hoped they wouldn't ever hear.  Draven's cancer is back but it is too complicated for the specialist to treat here in Michigan.  The only two places that can manage it are in New York or Philadelphia, with the recommendation being for New York.  Andrea is trying to arrange one way flights to New York to leave by Wednesday right now as well as trying to make arrangements for her other 4 children while they are gone.  

If you are close friends of Andrea and Kevin, I'm sure they would welcome any expression of care and concern through their email or Facebook.  If anyone has specific questions though, please route them through a message via this site.  Andrea and Kevin are pretty overwhelmed right now and just need to focus on their family.  If meals or anything else is coordinated, you will be informed of it through this site.  Thank you for your understanding.

With these new expenses occurring I went ahead and opened up the donation link again, if anyone would like to contribute financially.  Most importantly, please keep my sister's family in your thoughts and prayers! 

Posted on April 6, 2014 by Jennifer Strange
Andrea and Kevin took Draven down to Devos this past week and received great news.  NO NEW TUMORS!!!  Also, they were informed that the spot on Draven's eye that had been a cause of concern, was to be expected and is nothing to worry about at all!

Andrea and Kevin want to again offer a heartfelt thanks to everyone for keeping Draven and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  Please keep it going while they hope for a continued positive prognosis for Draven!

Posted on March 28, 2014 by Jennifer Strange
Just a quick update on Draven.  Unfortunately, he had to get a platelet transfusion today.  But that strong little peanut handled it perfectly.  Andrea and Kevin said that he ate lunch through the first half while watching cartoons and then fell asleep for the remainder.  He'll be heading back downstate Sunday for an eye exam first thing Monday morning.

I also added a picture of Draven with his older sister, Jalee.  Draven is sporting his new glasses in the pic.  He wouldn't take them off when he first got them but now he needs to be convinced to wear them.  I may be biased since he is my nephew, but I'm pretty sure he is the cutest glasses-wearing little dude ever.

Again, Andrea and Kevin can't thank you enough for all of your support.  It has really made this difficult journey more bearable for their family!

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