HOUSTON - A man is journeying on a 15,000-mile road trip across the U.S. in memory of his daughter, whom he sadly lost to a rare form of bile duct cancer.
Dave Fleischer embarked on a "Journey of Hope" on May 20th across the U.S in memory of his daughter Sarah. And on Sunday, he stopped in Houston to continue raising awareness and spreading hope through his journey.
Fleischer tells us Sarah was just 35 when she passed away, following a battle with a rare form of bile duct cancer, called Cholangiocarcinoma in 2018.
"Today is day 24 of 40. Texas is my 34th state of the 48 that I’m doing. And I'm about 8,500 miles of my 15,000-mile journey," Fleischer said. "I wanted to thank a number of patients and caregivers that were very supportive of Sarah when she was going through her battle and those people are all over the country.
For Sarah, her stage 2 diagnosis started with pain in the lower abdomen and shoulders. Over the course of 4.5 years, she suffered through various treatments.
"She had two liver resections over time, gallbladder removal, three-phase 1 clinical trials, and it eventually just progressed to the point where there was nothing else we could do," Fleischer said.
Equipped with signs and a car decorated with lime green messages, Fleischer is now raising awareness and fundraising for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation on its 15th year anniversary through symbolic markers of "crystal clear hope."
"15,000 miles. 15 patients and caregivers. 15 towns named Hope," Fleischer said. "The biggest mission really is to provide hope to people because there’s much more today that can be done in terms of treatments than there two, even five years ago."
For people like, Patty Maxin, who serves on the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation's board of directors and is a patient and research advocate, Fleischer's journey hits close to home as she also lost her husband to the disease in 2015.
"It’s a joy just to see how people care," Maxin explained. " I really think through community and awareness is what's going to make a difference."
Fleischer said he’ll be heading to Oklahoma and Arkansas next on his journey. If you’d like to follow along and help with his journey, click HERE.