As you may or may not know our friend Jake (Big Rude Jake) Hiebert is fighting a very challenging battle. Click here if you can help.
In April 2021, Jake began having some painful health problems and was eventually diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the bladder, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that had metastasized to locations around his body. Throughout the pandemic, he underwent surgeries, radiation treatments, chemotherapy, many challenging and invasive tests, PICC lines, and supplemental treatments.
Throughout all of this, Jake has continued to share his music with the world through weekly Facebook shows in addition to running a popular and heartwarming online music therapy program for adults with disabilities. In addition to his skill and passion for songwriting, musicianship, and entertaining, Jake is the creator and heart of “Blues for the Red Door”, an annual star-studded blues revue conceived to benefit the Red Door Family Shelter. It is the shelter’s mission to assist families, refugees, and women who are fleeing violence. The gala event is now entering its 8th year.
He and his family, (his wife Anna-Lisa, and his 7-year-old daughter Hope) have been working hard to manage finances and keep their modest home and life as stable and secure as possible. Recently, however, there have been some complications that have made life more challenging. In April of 2022, during a follow-up check, Jake was informed that the metastatic cancer was still present and had spread to several other locations including the liver, various bones, lymph nodes, and most urgently, the brain. Pain from cancer deposits in his shoulder makes it difficult to work. Painkillers and other medications affect mental concentration and physical acuity and get in the way of earning. On Friday, 22 April, he was informed that he would no longer be allowed to drive due to brain metastasis and the resultant risk of seizure. This was “driven” home a few hours later when he seized and fell after finishing an online gig at home. His wife called an ambulance and he was hospitalized. The doctors compassionately set the goal of stabilizing him enough to be able to attend his father’s funeral the following Sunday, saying that normally they would have kept him for several days.
Not wanting to continue with chemo treatments that are not working and generally making him feel terrible, his oncologist has suggested to Jake that they switch their medical attention to a short run of new treatments. Furthermore, Jake is looking into alternative treatments including Traditional Chinese Medicine, Rick Simpson oil, mushroom extract therapies, etc. He is ineligible for trials due to brain metastasis.
These alternative treatments are not covered by OHIP and they are not cheap. In addition, Jake will need to travel for many medical treatments in the coming months, incurring costs for travel, accommodation, and appointments. With all of the medical care required in the coming months, it is difficult for Jake or Anna-Lisa to be working. They need to focus their attention on getting Jake better.
Jake is a fighter and is ready to take this challenge on with the support of his family, friends, and community. The money we are raising will cover the costs of his alternative treatments and his household costs for the next six months. Jake has always been there when we needed him, and now it is time to be there in his hour of need so he can focus all of his attention on fighting this cancer and getting better.
Thank you so much