Steve grew up surfing as a youth in Southern California and loved being in the ocean and outdoors his whole life. He fell in love with Hawaii when he came to Big Island at 16 with friends to surf. After 40 years of dreaming of moving to Hawaii, he made it a reality with his wife in 2020.
After spending the first year and a half in complete bliss back in the Hawaiian ocean he loved so much, he was diagnosed with stage 4 Squamous Cell Carcinoma, HPV positive, originating in his tonsil. He had a chronic sore throat and started losing some weight before having laryngitis for two months, which finally got him to see the doctor. He started chemo and radiation treatment, and it seemed to have worked. The cancer was gone. Due to the throat radiation, a couple of months later, a hole in his carotid artery required emergency surgery to repair it. At his following PET scan, a spot was found on his rib and some nodules in his lung. A biopsy of the place on his rib confirmed that it was Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which had spread.
Steve began immunotherapy treatment, but it soon spread to his spine, sacrum, iliac crest, and hip. He then started a chemo and immunotherapy treatment. After a year and a half and five different treatment regimens, the tumors were still growing. At the PET scan done in September 2023 to see how the latest treatment regimen was working, they found a spot in his brain. A brain MRI confirmed that he had a 5 cm tumor in his left temporal lobe. The only treatment available due to the size and location was whole brain radiation to give him a quality of life and a few months.
He never gave up and always believed that he was going to live. He lived his life to its fullest even though the one thing he wanted, being in the ocean, was taken away from day one due to the tracheostomy that he had to have.
He gained wings on December 27, 2023, with his loving wife by his side until the end. He will be missed so incredibly much by all his family and friends.
This disease was ruthless and unexpected. The symptoms can range from your everyday cold-like symptoms, so it is essential to get checked since early detection can lead to a better outcome. Please donate in honor of Steve to the Oral Cancer Foundation to help fund research, advocate, raise awareness, and hopefully, one day, find a cure for this horrible disease.