Drew Lewis will finally be tumor free on Friday -- after battling cancer for 11 months -- thanks to the amazing generosity of complete strangers.
According to the New York Daily News, Lewis, who works as a real estate agent in Missouri, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in January when he went to the doctor for what he thought was a routine checkup.
“We went in for a colonoscopy thinking we’d go home and carry on with life,” his wife Amy Blansit, 33, told the Daily News.
Doctors, however, had bad news for the couple. They had discovered several cancerous tumors in Lewis' body and the cancer had begun to spread to his lymph nodes.
“For a perfectly healthy 44 year old it was really a shock,” Blansit said.
Lewis has bravely faced his diagnosis over the past year, but he and his wife were recently hit with a staggering blow. Their insurance company is refusing to cover the $40,000 final procedure, citing that the surgery to remove the last of the tumors is too experimental, reported KSPR.
“It was a little bit shocking and disappointing and a downer, but we both immediately said that’s fine, we’re going to do it,” Lewis said.
“When you’re talking about saving someone’s life you do what you have to do,” Blansit added.
That was when the couple took to the Internet. They set up a Facebook page so that family and friends could monitor Lewis' progress.
"Our friends and family joined on and there were maybe 20 people, then it went to 30 people, then 300 people, and there are people in Germany that were friends of friends," Amy told KSPR.
Blansit’s sister also started to spread the word on Facebook. People interested in helping the struggling couple could donate to a local bank account in Springfield. Longtime friends of Lewis from the real estate industry also launched a fundraising page for his treatment on the crowdfunding website giveforward.com.
The fundraising efforts were a complete surprise to the couple who had never even heard of crowdfunding until this week.
The Internet responded with an overhelming outpouring of generosity. So far donations total over $6,000 on giveforward.com alone, not including other donations to their account.
“It is really amazing,” Blansit told the Daily News. “I think it’s a huge testament to Drew, how much people have wanted to help. He’s such a likable amazing person … It just makes your heart burst. It’s overwhelming.”
"It's that type of selflessness, it's overwhelming, it really is. You can't write enough thank you notes," Blansit added to KSPR. "It's a blessing, it really is,"
According to Fox News, after two surgeries and nine months of chemotherapy, Lewis is slated to undergo his third and final operation on Friday at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic to remove the rest of the tumors from his body.
The couple, who got engaged the day Lewis was diagnosed, hopes to be home before Christmas.
“It has made us so strong and it has made us appreciate every moment, all the small stuff," Blansit said. "I think we’ve slowed down and that’s been really nice.”