Boat to be Raffled Off at David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation Event Sept. 1
Haulin’ to Heal, Sept. 1
Please join us for food and entertainment on Saturday, September 1st as we try to raise money for David’s Dream and
Believe Cancer Foundation we will have some cars on hand and a classic fire truck thanks to TRFD Co.#2 and some motorcycles to view. For the kids a dunk tank and bounce castle along with half price food for children under 12 hot dogs or Hamburger with chips and a soda for only $2.00 fun for the family and raise money for a great cause to benefit David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation a 501(c)(3) nonprofit witch provides financial assistance to families primarily in New Jersey affected by a cancer diagnosis to help them offset the costs of physician visits, treatments, medications, lodging and transportation. So come out and try your luck to win a Boat with trailer and more great raffles from pizza and subs to Tattoos. Tickets are $10.00 each or 3 for $25.00
About David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation
In late March 2010, I was living in Jupiter Florida and debating returning home to visit my family for Easter. I booked a flight back to New Jersey for March 27th. I also made a doctor appointment with my local otolaryngologist as I was having some trouble swallowing and noticed a lump on the right side of my neck. I can easily recite a number of dates off the top of my head and listed below are just a few of the major ones.
On April 5th, I met with Dr. Edward Engle. He scheduled me on April 15th for a right tonsillectomy to remove a tumorous growth on my right tonsil and he performed a biopsy of the lump on the right side of my neck.
On Tuesday, April 20th, I heard the words for the first time “You Have Cancer!” Dr. Engle told me that if he were giving this diagnosis to a family member – he would be sending them to the head and neck surgery department at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia and specifically Dr. David M. Cognetti. Dr. Engle’s staff wasted no time and scheduled me for a PETscan on Wednesday April 21st and an appointment at TJUH at 7:30am on Thursday April 22nd. I met with Dr. Cognetti and he delivered even more bad news to me after some additional testing and a physical exam. He told me I had stage IV squamous cell carcinoma. The cancer cells were extremely aggressive and had metastasized from my tonsils to the lymph nodes and down my throat. I never smoked, wasn’t a big drinker and I just got diagnosed with Stage IV Cancer. The odds were not great but Dr. Cognetti was confident we had a shot at positive results given my overall health, his surgical abilities, the team at Jefferson and an extremely aggressive treatment plan. I made the choice to keep everything under one roof at TJUH and Dr. Cognetti would lead the team. My oncologist was Dr. Rita Axelrod and my radiation oncologist was Dr. Peter Ahn. This proved to be one of, if not, the greatest judgments early on in my diagnosis.
On May 5th, Dr. Cognetti performed a right neck dissection, which removed 72 lymph nodes on that side. He removed my left tonsil. He also scoped my throat to get a better visual of what he was up against in the rest of my mouth and down my throat. The tumor removed from the right side of my neck was the size of an egg.
On May 12th, we decided to go right back in for surgery #3 near the right tonsil. I was Dr. Cognetti’s 10th patient ever to undergo robotic throat surgery – this method is known as the da Vinci transoral robotic surgery. Dr. Cognetti used this surgery to excise cancer cells on the back of my tongue and walls of my throat.
June 14th, I started 6.5 weeks radiation therapy & 7 weeks of chemotherapy treatments combined. My radiation sessions lasted 30 minutes – 5 days a week. I received 7 chemo infusions that lasted 4 hours – 1 per week. I received severe burns inside/outside my mouth, throat and neck from the radiation therapy making it virtually impossible to swallow anything including water. The chemotherapy made me extremely nauseous and my face, neck and shoulders broke out with a terrible rash. Additionally I was hospitalized for a multitude of items including 2 bouts with kidney stones, bronchitis, dehydration and a feeding tube was finally inserted in my stomach. I didn’t eat or drink thru my mouth for almost 2 months and the feeding tube lasted 4 months. I lost a total of 65 pounds during my battle. I endured 10 weeks of physical therapy on my neck, shoulders, arms and had a kidney procedure in February 2011. I’m currently back to work and I continue to process my journey.
My Faith, Family and Friends (David’s Army) never left my side and I never gave up! I read something recently that said: “Kindness is the shadow of God in man.” Those beautiful shadows were never more present than during my battle with cancer. That same kindness, generosity of spirit, faith, hope and love are the core beliefs that will be utilized by my foundation: David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation!
My name is David Christian Caldarella and on November 11th 2010 I officially became a stage IV cancer survivor!