Ger Tracey pictured above in happier times with his wife Laura and daughter Nicole.
Please help fund Ger Tracey medical expenses
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Tara Byrne
Martin Halloran is fundraising for his good friend Ger Tracey, who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, on behalf of Gers wife Laura Tracey and his daughter Nicole. The family needs all the help they can get to pay for his medical treatment. So far, an incredible €20,548 has been raised of the €50,000 target.
In March 2019, Ger went to the hospital with what he thought was kidney stones. Ger says, “I was gaining weight very rapidly and I was thinking I’ve a stupid problem or maybe I was retaining fluid. To my horror, I was called and asked to stay in, that they had found a mass in my left sigmoid. There was no kidney stone. It was a slow-growing tumor that was blocking my sigmoid. This is where our food exits the bowel.”
Ger had to take a colonoscopy where the doctors found a very bad tumor that was 6.5cm in size. Further to that they also informed him that they had suspected that there was also what is known in oncology as a metastatic tumor which means that the cancer had spread already.
Ger and his wife Laura sat down with an oncology team who informed Ger that he had a tough journey ahead of him and that the surgery to operate on the tumors would have a 50/50 survival rate.
Ger and Laura found out that their health insurance would not cover the procedures he needed such as radiofrequency and genetic testing of the tumors which are crucial to Ger’s fight against cancer. Ger had to pay for the surgery himself without help from his health insurance.
Ger’s first surgery involved removing half of his bowel to take out the primary tumor. During this surgery, he also had a portal box inserted into his chest wall. This was for the future infusion of medication. Ger says, “I was in trouble by all standards in medical terms.”
The cancer had now spread to Ger’s liver. In between having chemo and recovering from surgery, Ger was praying that there was no more progression other than where they had seen it. Ger needed to get surgery again which involved having a liver resection of 60% of the right lobe. Laura was told on the third day that he would probably not make it through the night. Ger says, “As much as I hate chemo and immunotherapy effects, seeing my wife, daughter and family makes it worthwhile.”
After another long year of recovery and more chemo, Ger had gotten good news from the doctors saying he was potentially curable going by his 3 monthly scans. However, when the Covid 19 pandemic came, Ger’s scan was delayed by a few weeks. When his scan was finished, he was called again and told that the cancer was back in the left lobe of his liver.
The doctor said that dots were visible on both lungs and that Ger and his family would have to wait and see if they would grow and unfortunately, they did. Ger now has metastatic cancer from his liver to his lungs and a tumor under his heart and his bowel was clear.
Ger had another surgery last June to remove the tumors from the left lobe of his liver and under his heart. Again, Ger paid for the surgery that he needed which his health insurance did not cover.
Ger and his family were running out of money and their mental health was deeply affected. He was called after the genetic testing and told the only drug that was working on his tumors was chemo and immunotherapy but his insurance doesn’t pay for immunotherapy. Ger says, “When we saw how expensive it was, we cried.”
The immunotherapy had already cost 100k to date in the last two years. Between testing and surgeries, Ger’s scan showed the immunotherapy had stabilised his lungs. Unfortunately, he has a recurrence for the third time in his liver. Speaking on this, he says, “I’ve come too far to give up, even though I’ve had days of hell where I wished it was all over and my wife and daughter didn’t have to see this. Between now and December of this year with my surgery to remove the tumor from my liver and immunotherapy, it will cost over 50k and that’s only medical expenses.”
Ger said, “The amount of support and heartfelt messages is more than overwhelming. So many people are messaging my wife and I from all over the world. We really went on our own until we were forced to do this. We felt like in the beginning it was only right to not take what we didn’t need. I shared yesterday with you our story which has been heard and received with so much respect and warmth. We are truly grateful from our hearts.”
Ger and his family would appreciate any donations people can give through this tough time.
To donate to Ger’s Go Fund Me page go HERE
For more fundraising stories go HERE