Growing up, Daner and I were as close as a brother and sister could be. He was movie-star handsome, smart, funny and kind, not only to me but to everyone that knew him. He was a great friend to so many, a loving son and wonderful brother. He was my best friend!
He was the bright star in our hometown of Arlington, TX. He was the dream boat of every girl in town! Being three years younger, I always looked up to him in awe. I was so excited to tag along with him wherever he went because I knew it was bound be a fun adventure. As we grew, we continued to be thicker than thieves. We shared everything in our lives, our stories of adventure, love and heartbreak and our dreams for the future. We both worked in the family business and were fortunate enough to be able to travel all over the world together for work and pleasure. Everywhere we went everyone loved Daner.
While Daner stayed single playing the field, I got married at thirty and soon had my first of three sons. Uncle Daner was right there hanging out with his nephews who loved him dearly. Then Daner had an opportunity to accept a senior position in Atlanta, and though he was wasn’t crazy about moving, he was excited about the opportunity and jumped on it. He was very successful in this endeavor and stayed 14 years, all the while, longing to return to Texas where his heart, soul, and family were. Although we lived in different states, we spoke regularly and stayed involved in each others’ lives, as the distance between us could never separate us.
During those 14 years, he got married and he had two beautiful children, worked and supported many charity foundations. Being an avid Harley enthusiast, he put together annual rides and raised a lot of money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Diabetes Association. He loved supporting charities!
Then in late 2010, Daner and his family came home to Texas and we all were together once again, it was so great having my brother back home! After four years back in Texas, Daner was in the best shape of his life, working out regularly and living a healthy lifestyle. Then suddenly he started having stomach aches. He didn’t think much of it and took over-the-counter medicine to relieve the pain, but it persisted so he decided to have it checked by a doctor.
I remember being in my car when I got his call and he told me he might have cancer. I thought no way; we don’t have serious cancers in our family, just me with some minor skin cancer.
Then on September 21, 2014 we got the news it was inoperable pancreatic cancer, which had metastasized into his liver with a prognosis of six to eight months to live. We were in shock. That’s when panic set in. All family and friends went into fight mode. We were convinced he was going to beat this. Cancer wasn’t going to win, not today, not against Daner!
Everyone was researching alternative treatments because Daner did not want to do chemotherapy or radiation having seen the negative effects on the quality of life when diagnosed with terminal cancer and felt it was not for him. Then Daner saw a program on patients who chose Cannabis as their choice of treatment. The program documented how cannabis prolonged the survival of many people and even cured some types of cancer. Through Facebook, Daner became friends with a gentleman who had the exact same cancer that Daner had and was using cannabis as treatment and it was working. He had been given the same prognosis of six to eight months and was still alive, had returned to work and was actively taking care of his wife and kids for 20 month after his diagnosis. After further research Daner firmly believed that ingesting cannabis oil daily was going to save his life.
So Daner, my father and I were off to Colorado to get some of this oil.
Daner began using the cannabis oils daily. Sadly, during this first month he got a lot of resistance from his wife who was unwilling to research the benefits of medical marijuana. She wanted him to do chemotherapy and was very persistent about it. In an effort to reach a compromise with his wife, Daner agreed to start chemotherapy but insisted on continued use of daily cannabis oil, as he firmly believed this-not chemotherapy-would save his life.
Following his first round of chemotherapy, he encountered many of the common side effects including hair loss, nausea, vomiting, pain, and diarrhea. After using cannabis for about a month and a half, and not having any guidance regarding dosage and frequency, his trial and error efforts paid off. Within two weeks after his chemotherapy and a month and a half since using cannabis, we received great news; his cancer cell marker count decreased considerably.
This was so much closer to the normal range for healthy individuals we felt he was well on his way to remission. We were told that chemotherapy couldn’t work that quickly so we were confident it was the use of the cannabis oil. Daner was so excited he said if he beat this he would have a story to tell and boy was he going to tell it!
We talked at length during this time about starting a foundation to educate people on the medical benefits of cannabis and to support human cannabis studies and somehow provide cannabis to people who wanted to use this form of treatment but could not afford it. We thought it would be very important to do trial studies on humans to determine the exact quantity and dosage necessary to understand the miraculous benefits of medical marijuana for all types of cancer and numerous other diseases. Daner always wanted to share his newfound knowledge and make sure other people knew too.
When it came time for his second round of chemotherapy he refused again but that caused a lot of turmoil in his home as his wife was still very against anything that had to do with what she called, “dope”. Again to reduce the stress and turmoil in his home, Daner gave into her demands and did the second round of chemotherapy. Following this second round of treatment, he became much weaker and frail. He skin started turning yellow which is indicative of liver failure. Following a trip to see his oncologist, subsequent testing revealed his dead cancer cells were clogging his bile duct, and slowly shutting down his liver. A stent could have been placed to release the clogging but the doctors refused to do so, stating his cancer would spread rapidly and it was hopeless. Within two weeks, his skin completely yellow in color, Daner lost his life to liver failure, a complication from cancer.
On January 25, 2015, I alone, was with my best friend when he took his last breath and made a promise to him. I would make sure the world was educated and informed about the medical benefits of cannabis. Programs would be set up to support all human cannabis studies as well as create programs to provide medical marijuana to those who qualify and cannot afford the medicine.
I promised Daner and myself that his story would be told and I would make sure that he was never forgotten, thus began Daner’s Hope…