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Man Dying from Cancer Sets up Fundraiser to Support His Wife and Daughter through His Absence

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When the hourglass starts to dry up, you know it is time. This is the case with Jeff McKnight, a 36-year-old molecular biologist at the University of Oregon.

He was diagnosed with hepatosplenic T cell lymphoma in March 2020. Initially, he was misdiagnosed with COVID-19 because he was in a high-risk category – he was on immunosuppressants for Crohn’s disease but after more than a week of searching for a place that would give him a test he tested negative.

McKnight’s diagnosis with Lymphoma led him to document his journey both the good and the ugly on Twitter. One of the tweets read, “Everything fell apart today. Transplant is cancelled. Disease burden too high. Need to find new therapies. This just continues to punch me in the gut. But it’s not over. Not if there is anything left on the table. Off to Seattle next week to talk about experimental options.”

Right from the day of his diagnosis with Lymphoma, his wife Laura had been acting as his hero. McKnight knew that he was about to check out and unlike many, he thought about how his family would live after his death. He wanted to make sure Laura and his daughter would have enough resources to take care of them. He, therefore, decided to set up GoFundMe to support his family through his absence.

In addition to setting up the GoFundMe, which came to Laura as a surprise after his death, McKnight had contacted several other scientists in case she needed another job because, during his illness period, there were concerns that she would lose her job. The two worked together in a lab where he was a researcher and she was a manager. Thank goodness, she later shared in an update on the fundraiser that she had been able to keep her job for the time being.

Unfortunately, even after rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer continued to progress and by September, the prognosis was not looking good, and on October 4 he died. On the day of his death, Laura tweeted, “Jeff passed away this evening, a few hours after I left the hospital. I really believe he held on long enough to celebrate Katherine’s birthday. I honestly don’t know how to function right now, but I am glad he is no longer suffering.”

Asked about the GoFundMe surprise that McKnight had organized for her family she responded,” He was always looking out for people, though I couldn’t have predicted the extent to which he tried to make plans for me and Katherine. I am grateful, and amazed, and not even really surprised because it’s the kind of person he was, but at the same time it hurts to think about because it shows how much I’ve lost.”

What a gesture! Imagine planning for your family something like this so that they live comfortably after you’re gone.

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