When David Miles got a piece of steak lodged in his throat, it changed his life forever.
An exploratory test revealed a massive growth in his esophagus.
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Miles, 53, of Huntley was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer in October 2013. Since then, he has been treated with radiation and chemotherapy to shrink the cancer, and endured a seven-hour surgery to remove his esophagus, said friend and neighbor Donald Esposito.
"(Surgeons) moved up the stomach and created a conduit so that he can swallow again," Esposito said. "It's remarkable."
Though Miles' surgery went well, the cancer was not completely removed. Eight of the 16 lymph nodes in the surrounding area are still infected, Esposito said.
Miles is undergoing rounds of aggressive chemotherapy to stop the cancer from progressing.
Esposito said the treatment cost is huge, and Miles has been unable to work his job as a sales technician for ECOLAB, putting a strain on his family and his recovery.
Family and friends are planning a fundraiser for Miles at 6:30 p.m. June 21 at the Bowl Hi Lanes, 10520 Route 47, Huntley.
All proceeds from the event will go toward the fundraiser since the alley's owner, Don Zielinski, is a longtime friend, Esposito said.
"David has been a family friend and neighbor of 19 years," Esposito said. "He has been to every family gathering and is part of the family. After the removal of the esophagus, remarkably his spirits were very positive. If you sit and talk to him you wouldn't think anything is wrong with him."
Esposito said he is hopeful the fundraiser will generate enough money to help the family with household expenses and supplement some of Miles' medical expenses not covered by workers' compensation and medical insurance.
"He's got a lot of hurdles to jump. It could take a while," he said.
One of the goals of the fundraiser is to help pay for a special $7,000 bed Miles needs to help him heal, Esposito said.
Banners will be placed at intersections in the village of Lake in the Hills publicizing the fundraiser.
"(Raising) somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 would be wonderful," Esposito said. "Anything helps. Anything and everything is greatly appreciated."
Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the door for adults, and $10 for children 12 years and younger. Admission includes pizza, casino bowling, DJ, and karaoke.
Donations of cash or by check can also be sent to David Miles, C/O Deborah Esposito, 4310 Greenfield Lane, Lake in the Hills, 60156. Online donations can be made at fundly.com/david-miles-family-fundraiser. To purchase raffle tickets or for more information, call (847) 669-8727.