Aug 18, 2012
Saw this on reddit.
I'm a 23 year old girl with recurrent Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a highly aggressive type of brain cancer. I posted a couple of months ago asking for suggestions for things I should try before I die (life expectancy is 3-6 months) and got a lot of great ideas (many of which I've fulfilled).
At the time of my last post, my treatment was undecided. I ended up participating in a phase I trial at Dana-Farber, but I progressed after two months of treatment. There are not many great treatment options left for me, but my next move will be five radiosurgery treatments at Duke University next week. My prognosis looks pretty bleak at this point, and though I am hoping to exceed the 6-10 month median survival, I have to prepare to die. In a way, I am fortunate because the lesion is primarily in my brain stem (controls things like breathing), so I will likely die before the tumor spreads to the areas central to who I am.
I'm back on Reddit again, mostly to ask for help because I want to be cryogenically preserved upon my death. I've been interested in cryonics since long before I was even diagnosed, but I never thought that I would have to secure the finances so fast, and without a career or savings to stand on. As weird as it feels to ask for help here, I feel I should just give it a shot and sees what happens.
I caused a lot of family controversy last week by breaking the news to my parents. I can tell I've alienated them quite a bit as they are Christian and don't see why I'd want to be preserved; in their mind, I am going to heaven and my "soul" will forever leave my body when I die anyway. I clearly upset both of them with the implication that I was agnostic (I didn't say this outright, but it's true). My mom is fairly supportive of my plans to be preserved, but unfortunately, my dad isn't a fan of the idea, and he's really the only family I have that could offer financial help (my parents are divorced and not on good terms). The company I'm looking into, Cryonics Institute, costs $30,000-35,000 with transportation to the facility accounted for. My boyfriend is fully supportive, but like me, he's broke and barely out of college.
I know this is a big thing to ask for, and I'm sure many people are doubtful that preservation is plausible with cryonics. I'm far from convinced, but I would rather take the chance with preservation than rot in the ground or get cremated. The company I'm looking into, Cryonics Institute, has a good intro on their FAQ page that offers a hopeful outlook on future technology: http://cryonics.org/prod.html
A lot of people on reddit wanted to start a fundraiser for me awhile ago to aid in doing fun things before I die. I am hoping that redditors will still have some interest in helping me even if it's not going towards vacation or skydiving and shit like that. Cryopreservation is sincerely what will bring me the most peace in death.
I wish I could give a particularly compelling reason why I deserve another chance at life, but there's not much to say. I'm still just a kid, and hadn't even finished college when I was diagnosed. Unfortunately the most interesting thing I have yet to do is get a terminal disease at a young age.
If you guys can help me out, I would be grateful to a degree I can't possibly describe. I'm desperate. If you care to donate to the cause, the link to my blog and fundraiser is HERE. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, you can do to help would be endlessly appreciated. If you don't want to look at my dumb cancer blog, the direct link to the preservation fund can be found HERE
On a lighter note, I'm open to the idea of trading donations for anything you might want in exchange (within legal limits). This could be fun!
Proof can be found on my earlier post, but here's a pic from today: http://i.imgur.com/Qdkzn.jpg?1
I'm also open to any questions about brain cancer, or my rationale for wanting to be preserved.
I want to explain in a little more detail why I think cryopreservation is worth a try. (Even an expensive try).
First, I want to make it clear that I'm not betting my life on cryopreservation. I am aware of the problems with the current state of cryonics, but I have the hope that technology might come up with a solution in the future. No one knows what technology will be available in 50 years. Yes, it takes "faith" in technology, but it takes faith to assume that technology won't be sufficient to reverse these problems someday.
The main point I want to make here is that it's a better shot at living again than if I were decomposing somewhere or cooked into ash. The relative value of even a slight chance at living again is a huge payoff for what seems like a lot of money to me now, but probably would be an easy decision for me if I had a steady job. Compare the cost of preservation to the cost of traveling overseas to pursue experimental treatments; I think the current state of glioblastoma treatment is just as bleak (if not more), but it doesn't seem so crazy to pursue those routes.
I'm trying to be preserved because I've done everything else in my power to help me extend my life. I've looked at essentially every diet, supplement, clinical trial, and "miracle treatment" out there. This is the last thing I can possibly do to fight for another chance, and if does happen to work, it will be incredible.
Live again or die trying.
EDIT 2: A cool quote
"The correct scientific answer to the question "Does cryonics work?" is: "The clinical trials are in progress. Come back in a century and we'll give you a reliable answer." The relevant question for those of us who don't expect to survive that long is: "Would I rather be in the control group, or the experimental group?" We are forced by circumstances to answer that question without the benefit of knowing the results of the clinical trials." - Dr. Ralph Merkle
TLDR; I want to be cryogenically preserved when I die from brain cancer but can't afford it. I am literally begging for financial help.
I couldn't help be moved by this. I felt a very strong sense that she is one of us, whoever "us" is. Looking at some of the negative comments and worst of all bad arguments people are using as reasons not to donate made me more upset.
I hope some here might join me in dismantling them. I'd also encourage those like me for who this buys a lot of warm fuzzies to donate. Though it might be wise to wait until we hear from CI or some other third party on the matter.
Edit: She has since made a comment on LW! The provided information has made me pretty much certain that this is a genuine plight.
redditors where willing to give her money to go skydiving, they don't want to give her money to buy cryonics. Sometimes I can only weep.
I think it pretty clear that promoting efficient charity in that particular thread is very unlikely to result in people giving money to better causes. Also I just plain want her to be rewarded in some small way! Note the part starting in the second paragraph that I bolded, not only did she realized what she really was, but she stepped over the entire set of pro-death rationalizations and faced the social pressure people she loved exerted on her because they think she might go to heaven ... its not her fault that a few cells in her brain went haywire before she could afford an insurance policy, I just don't want people like that not having something to show after getting so much stuff right.
For anyone who just realized the universe sucks and wishes to do something about that whole people dying thing, they are welcome to engage in some optimal death defeating philanthropy by donating to The Brain Preservation Prize that has been endorsed by both Robin Hanson and Eliezer Yudkowsky.
I know that there are more than 17 other people like me in the world, who really want to see the results of these attempts. A world in which brains can be cheaply preserved indefinitely is a world I want to live in - and it would just be sad if this project fizzled because it lacked the funds to verify the already-existing results.