Help Dave Berryhill Fight Cancer

Congratulations to Michael H. of Bartlett, TN!
Michael had ticket 3389 and is the winner of the Grand Prize Package.

Guns for a Cause, is pleased to be hosting this benefit raffle for noted Gunsmith, Dave Berryhil. Many of you reading this may be aware of Dave’s extremely accurate USMC Expeditionary Unit, replica fighting pistol, known as the MEU (SOC) pistol. Dave has been an accomplished gunsmith for well over 15 years, and his background includes public service as a Los Angeles area police officer. Prior to taking a medical retirement from law enforcement, Dave’s work gave him experience in firearms training, SWAT duties, and firearms forensics.

Although he earned his degree in Business Administration from USC, Dave was eventually led to a career in gunsmithing. His formal training came from the noted Gunsmithing School at Yavapai College in Arizona. Dave has also received training from numerous factory armorer’s courses, to include instruction from Sig Sauer, Beretta, Glock and Heckler & Koch. In addition to this training, Dave credits much of his smithing knowledge to instruction from other noted gunsmiths in the industry. Some of these talented artists include Chuck Rogers, Austin Behlert, Hamilton Bowen, Bill Laughridge, Bob Marvel, Chuck Warner and George Wessenger. Berryhill is also a life member of the National Rifle Association.

Dave is currently recovering from surgery to remove cancerous tumors from an area surrounding his spine. Funds raised from this benefit raffle will go to help defray Dave’s medical expenses, make up for some shortcomings in personal income, as well as assist him with the process of getting his business back on track and establish his business on a firm footing for the future.

In his own words, here’s Dave’s journey with cancer, which was published on his Facebook page, August 4th of 2014:

Here is my story about kicking cancer's ass. I'm usually very private about these things but have decided to share this in case someone else is going through a similar situation or just one of life's great tests. I owe a lot to Ben Lenett because his courage was contagious and his strength helped me prepare for this. Thanks Ben!

So I woke up one morning about 3 months ago with pain in my shoulder and neck. Exercise, heat and the usual treatments didn't help so my doctor ordered an MRI. I expected to learn that I had a pinched nerve but instead was told that I had a tumor surrounding the nerves and blood vessels on the left side of my spine C2 - C4. I saw several specialists and everyone said that the image clearly looked like a schwannoma, which is a benign tumor that grows around the never sheath. More scans also found that there is a tumor on the back of my spine itself and a small tumor on the inside of the spine.

Fortunately Dallas is home to Baylor Medical Center, one of the top hospitals in the country and I ended up under the care of two very good doctors, Dr. Christopher Michael, Neurosurgeon and Dr. Lance Oxford, Ear, Nose & Throat specialist. Both doctors wanted a biopsy of the tumor performed prior to surgery but due to all the nerves and blood vessels surrounding it, a biopsy was going to be as difficult as the surgery itself so they decided to surgically remove the tumor.

Surgery (last week) was going to be an all day affair with the two doctors working as a tag team. Phase one was an incision from the front to remove the main tumor located on the side of my spine. The Ear, Nose & Throat doctor would guide the way past all of the glands and the Neurosurgeon would remove the tumor. Phase 2 was going to be brutal. The Neurosurgeon was going to go in on the back of my neck and would need to remove some of my spine. There was talk about screws, fusing vertebra and other things that I was not looking forward to plus I would lose some strength, range of motion, etc, in my arm and spine at a minimum.

Fortunately, the biopsy results after the first phase came back showing that the tumor was malignant. Yes, I said "fortunately." It's not often that you hope for cancer but in this case, they didn't perform the second phase of the surgery, which would have definitely kicked my ass.

Now we switch gears and treat the tumor with radiation and maybe a little chemo. So far the only side effects of the surgery have been the general pain from the surgery plus a little tingling of my fingertips, which is probably temporary. Instead of 8 weeks in a cervical collar, loss of some use of my arm and shoulder, a fused spine, I'll take my chances fighting the tumor instead.

Now it's time to kick cancer's ass!

Now for the rest of the story.....Unfortunately, I still had to have the second phase of the surgery to remove the tumor from my spine because further biopsies determined that the tumors were a rare from of cancer called a Chordoma (In the United States, the annual incidence of chordoma is approximately 1 in one million or 300 new patients each year).  After an all-day surgery on my spine that included removing tumors, installing 2 titanium rods and some screws, the tumors are growing back.  This re-growth is on my spine and the nerves that affect my left arm, causing me to be in a lot of pain.

I just finished 6 weeks of radiation treatment and am planning on starting a targeted drug treatment to help limit further growth.

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Tickets are available for sale online until July 29th, 2015 at 6pm Pacific - Drawing to be held on the 30th of July, 2015. Contestants need not be present to win. Entries will be electronically logged and you will receive an e-mail confirmation of your “e-Ticket” number(s). The drawing will be conducted by an independent accounting firm. See Official Drawing Rules for details.

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