29-Year-Old Nurse Who Left Home State to Help Coronavirus Patients Is Now Battling Brain Cancer
Ian Youngblood was diagnosed with Grade IV Glioblastoma after he left his home in Arizona to help patients diagnosed with coronavirus in New York City
A 29-year-old nurse who left his home in Arizona to help coronavirus patients in New York City is now in a life-threatening battle of his own.
Ian Youngblood, a former firefighter turned nurse, spent three months in New York offering his support to doctors in the fight against coronavirus. But toward the end of his deployment, Youngblood began experiencing sudden headaches, nausea and seizures.
According to a GoFundMe created by his loved ones, Youngblood was then admitted into the intensive care unit at White Plains Hospital. A series of scans and tests revealed he had Grade IV Glioblastoma, a rare form of cancer that kills more than 10,000 Americans a year.
“To hear him get that diagnosis, it just makes you question everything in life,” friend Nathan Kathol told KNXV about the diagnosis.
Glioblastoma, also known as GBM, is a terminal cancer with no known cure. Treatment often involves surgery to remove the tumor (if possible), followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
There are also a number of clinical trials available, but some may be "blinded," meaning the recipient does not know if they received an actual drug versus a placebo. One medical device, Optune, has shown positive results in slowing the tumor's progression but requires patients to wear the device on their heads daily.
According to the GoFundMe, Youngblood was not insured at the time of his diagnosis and will have to rely on "all available aid" to pay for his treatment and other hospital bills.
But Youngblood, who has now returned home to Arizona, is remaining optimistic. He's putting his hopes in the chemotherapy, which will be the central weapon in slowing the progression of his cancer and saving his life.
“Chemo is gonna be expensive and we’re gonna try to really attack that tumor,” he told KNXV.
The GoFundMe for Youngblood's medical bills has raised over $67,000 as of Monday afternoon.
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"Ian has opened his heart and hands, gaining new loved ones and families as he worked to help others fight their battles, and now he needs our help to fight for him," a description on the donation page says.
Despite the diagnosis, Youngblood told the news station he hopes to get back to the battle against coronavirus.
“I mean COVID is still ramping up all over the place,” he said. “It’s a calling, you know. If I am feeling well enough I may volunteer to go to Texas where cases are skyrocketing."