A sold-out fundraiser for cancer-stricken Pleasanton PD Officer Kyle Henricksen, a 10-year police department veteran, will be held this Saturday night amid reports that the 35-year-old is making progress in beating the disease.
He is currently undergoing experimental immuno treatment at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a costly process that is not covered by the family's Kaiser Permanente health plan.
The family felt that the treatment plan at Kaiser "just wasn't a right fit," Kyle's wife Jennifer said. "So, we (chose) to start a trial at Stanford that Kaiser does not offer," she wrote on her Facebook page, which I follow.
As Kyle now heads for his second round of treatment at Stanford, the latest biopsy showed that his cancerous tumors are shrinking.
"We're so excited to see the treatment is working," Jennifer wrote. "We plan to stay on this course of treatment until the tumor is completely gone."
A Realtor with Re/Max Executive in Ripon, Jennifer and her supporters created a GoFundMe campaign -- called "Help Kyle Kick Cancer" -- to help raise funds to support the family as Kyle goes through his trial treatment at Stanford on a self-pay basis.
Officer Ryan (T.J.) Tujague, vice president of the Pleasanton Police Officers Association, said Saturday night's crab fest should add substantially to the $111,371 already raised by the GoFundMe account.
"Proceeds from the fundraiser will help pay medical bills not covered by insurance," Tujague said, "so that Kyle and his family can continue to focus solely on getting him healthy."
The fundraiser event is sold out, with 425 of Kyle's supporters buying tickets to the event at Joe Madden's Goal Line Productions facility in Pleasanton.
In addition to raising funds for Kyle's drug therapy at Stanford, ticket sales and money raised in an auction will also go to Calico Center, a nonprofit organization that provides a hub for child abuse investigations in Alameda County, and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which maintains a memorial in Washington, D.C. for law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
"The response to this fundraising effort has been simply overwhelming," Tujague said. "This is what's so unique about Pleasanton. The community really steps up."
Kyle's months of treatment have not been easy, as Jennifer has detailed regularly on her Facebook page.
The challenges keep coming. Last week, on Feb. 1, she wrote of Kyle's search late in the day for relief from the side effects of his recent treatment that caused his legs to swell from below his knees. His physician's assistant urged them to have Kyle's legs checked immediately by ultra-sound to make sure a blood clot wasn't forming.
They rushed to the emergency room at the hospital in Manteca, near where they live, only to find after a 1-1/2-hour wait that ultrasounds aren't available there after 4 p.m.
"So off we went to Modesto (for the ultrasound) where, four hours later, we were informed he had no blood clots," Jennifer wrote. "All he needed was a pair of compression socks."
She said those interested can still help by visiting the GoFundMe page, which also features anecdotes about the family, photos from their vacations and short videos from the family after Kyle's cancer diagnosis.
"We're so incredibly grateful for every victory we encounter on this journey," Jennifer added. "Please keep all the prayers, good thoughts and positive vibes coming. We appreciate it all more than we can put into words."