Dying dad’s final gift to wife, daughter

By | October 3, 2020

A young father with just days to live has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people after he set up a fund to support his wife and daughter after his death.

“I am dying of lymphoma,” US dad Jeffrey McKnight wrote on a GoFundMe page entitled “Helping Laura and Katherine get through my death”.

“My wife, Laura, has been nothing but a hero during this time.

“She is about to lose two incomes (mine and hers) as she manages and does research in a lab we shared together.

“My life insurance is tiny, thanks to academia, and our savings are nearly non-existent.

“My biggest fear is that she won’t have resources to get up on her feet.”

Two days ago, on October 1, he posted on his Twitter page @McKnight — UO that after seeing his doctor he had been told it was “End of the road. That was today’s news.”

On October 2, he tweeted: “Confirmed. Doc said maybe a week or so left. In ER for comfort care. Thank you all for battling with me.”

Mr McKnight’s tweets and his GoFundMe page have had an overwhelming response, a total of $ 308,033 raised of $ 200,000 target.

On the same day he posted he had “maybe a week or so left”, he also posted on the GoFundMe page, “I cannot believe how generous you all are. I love all of you for your kindness”.

Mr McKnight, a former assistant biology professor at Johns Hopkins University, established the McKnight Lab in Oregon with his wife Laura, a PhD research scientist.

The laboratory researches the substance chromatin and its relationship in disease and cancer.

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The couple was investigating ways chromatin, which consists of DNA and protein and lies within human chromosomes, could be manipulated to prevent diseases.

The Twitter response to Mr McKnight’s posts has been heartfelt as he related his rollercoaster ride with treatment over recent months.

On September 25 he posted: “Cleared for the 5 hr infusion today! Fun? No. But hope it kicks the cancer back!”

But the following day, he wrote: “Not a great day. Liver looks bad again. So tired. Not an easy challenge here.

“Trying to hang in there mentally and be patient. Keep fighting. Love you all.”

In response Twitter user @ETognoli posted: “Dear Jeff, I do not have the pleasure to know you, but wanted to send my respect and note that your daughter has an incredibly beautiful smile.

“Please give her a hug for all strangers thinking of you. I donated and pray for harmony during your remaining time with your family.”


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