Help Tiffany Reach Her 18th Birthday

For: Tiffany Howell
Organizer: Friends of Tiffany
Help Tiffany Reach Her 18th Birthday (Tiffany Howell)
$351.48
of $11,000 goal.
Raised by 10 donors
3% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Tiffany Howell just graduated from high school. By all rights she should have stayed home in bed. But typical for Tiffany, she put on a giant smile and enjoyed the moment. Possibly the hardest part of this time for Tiffany is seeing her friends make exciting plans for the future. There are lots of things Tiffany dreams of doing—like moving away from home and attending college. Dating. Maybe even marrying some day. But her biggest dream is just making it to her 18th birthday. After two years of exhaustive testing and treatment for cancer, Tiffany’s doctors have exhausted almost every treatment option. They would like to enroll her in a study that has shown great promise for advanced cancer patients. Unfortunately, Tiffany is not eligible to enroll in the study (which would pay for the costly treatment) until she is 18. That is only two months away, but her doctors don’t think she needs expensive chemo pills to get there.. They have given her a prescription for a chemo pill that should keep her alive until her birthday--but her family’s insurance will not pay. The medication is $12,000 dollar per month. That's on top of their many other medical expenses. Two years ago Tiffany was a beautiful, cheerful, and bright sixteen-year-old whose biggest concerns were boys and grades. That was until she began having severe back pain. “Hey guys!” she posted on Facebook, “I’m really sick!” Little did she know how true those words were. Tiffany was quickly diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer. What didn’t happen quickly was a specific diagnosis of the source. Which meant her doctors couldn’t choose a proper treatment. For four excruciating months, Tiffany's doctors used every procedure and test available to them, including painful bone marrow extractions. All that was determined was that the cancer was spreading rapidly and something had to be done to save her life. So Tiffany started chemotherapy treatments using a very general set of drugs. The therapy was brutal on her body. Twice she ended up in the ICU. But the chemotherapy was successful at beating back the cancer, and the family began to be optimistic about Tiffany’s chances for survival. However, while the chemo did reduce the amount of cancer in her body, it did not get it all. And they still did not know the source. Eventually her parents were referred to the National Cancer Center in Washington D.C. where the doctors speculated that she had a rare form of cancer called Pheochromocytoma. She was put on a second phase of chemotherapy based on this diagnosis. The therapy was once again brutal, but the family had high hopes since they now had a specific treatment plan. However, the cancer continued to spread even during treatment. The chemo sessions were cancelled and Tiffany’s health has been declining rapidly. She is in constant pain and has a hard time just getting out of bed. The most remarkable thing about Tiffany is that even after the trials of the last two years; she continues to be a beautiful, cheerful, and bright teenager. She smiles, jokes, laughs, and inspires all who meet her. A glance at the pictures from her Facebook page will show her courage and grace. Tiffany’s health crisis is more than any family should have to face, but there is more—Tiffany’s mother Hillary is from Japan, where her extended family still lives. She is an only child. Her father passed away suddenly last year, and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time as Tiffany’s diagnosis. Her mother’s cancer has now metastasized. Travel to Japan is yet another financial burden the family has had to carry. Tiffany’s parents are very private and self-sufficient. They do not like asking for help and have not during these challenging two years. But they, of course, are willing to do whatever it takes to save their daughter’s life. The Howell’s have six children ranging in age from 10 to 20. Their oldest son is currently serving a church mission in Singapore. They are a wonderful family. Their example of keeping good cheer and faith in the face of tribulation has been an inspiration. Please join us, Tiffany’s friends, in helping the Howell family give their beautiful daughter and sister a chance at life and full recovery; and especially please help Tiffany hold on to her dream of growing into an adult.

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