Travis Hess Cancer FoundationMay 19th, 2008
Three-time cancer survivor Travis Hess helps families who are struggling financially while trying to save their children from cancer
|Travis Hess: Making a difference documentary|
Travis Hess is a three time cancer survivor. He has lost his daughter to cancer as well as his brother, father and uncles. Hess is afflicted with a rare genetic disorder known as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, which is a genetic disorder causing Hess and his family to be much more susceptible to cancer. When asked if he considers himself cursed by all the pain he has had to endure he says that the trials he has undergone have happened for a reason. To Hess that reason is to survive and help other families who are dealing with the hardship cancer inflicts on families.
Utah Stories has produced a short documentary film on Travis Hess and his foundation. We followed Hess while running, biking and working at a triathlon to raise money for terminal cancer patient, Andrew Arnold. Hess is working with the Arnold family to help raise money for Andrew's expensive cancer treatment. Normally the Hess foundation pays for the funeral expenses of children who have died from cancer but today at the "Woman of Steel Triathlon" they are raising money for treatment. Andrew has a rare form of liver cancer that has spread to his pancreas. Andrew's doctors say that his chances of survival are so slim he is past the point where he could receive a liver transplant. The Arnold family, however, isn't giving up on their son. What they have learned from the Hess Foundation is that Doctors can say "terminal cancer" but that doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to die.
Nobody understands this better than Travis Hess. Twice Hess's Doctors told him he would likely die from cancer. Once from a brain tumor and another time from colon cancer, yet Hess refused to believe that he was a gonner. He fought his battles and won. Hess isn't a hopeless optimist either, he realizes that most people with terminal cancer will in fact die, but Hess reminds us that a positive attitude goes a long way.
Sitting with Travis Hess while he was telling his story to Andrew Arnold (off-camera) made Andrew light up. "So you beat cancer three times?" "Yes I did," said Hess. "Did they have to remove part of your brain?" "Yea, and that's how I have such a good excuse for the stupid things I do."
Andrew shows us around his trailer that he received from the Make A Wish Foundation. Andrew doesn't have any problem letting everyone know that the trailer is his. He tells his dad how to properly hook it up and store the trailer. When his dad says he is going to leave the trailer unattached to the truck, Andrew says, "when I have my own kids and I take them on trips, I'm going to leave the trailer attached to the truck all the time."
Travis and I sat and ate ham and cheese sandwitches while Hess spoke to Arnold about his daughter Sidney, who recently battled breast cancer. Her cancer has gone into remission without radiation treatment.
Visiting Hesses home in Kaysville the first thing that stands out are their two backyard horses. Sidney Hess attributes her apparent defeat of cancer to her horses. Hess attributes his to biking and relying on prayer and loved ones. Despite all the pain the Hess family has endured, their family is warm and kind.
If you would like to donate to the Travis Hess foundation and ensure more kids get the best treatment available:click here.