Dan had been experiencing digestive tract symptoms for a half-dozen years. When his symptoms became difficult to ignore, Dan sought medical advice at Ft. Leonard Wood. Upper and lower GI tests performed at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach led his Ft. Leonard Wood physician to diagnose him with esophagitis gastritis. “The base doctor prescribed some medication to cut down on my stomach acid,” and cleared Dan to deploy to Iraq.

Shortly after clearance from a flight surgeon, Dan deployed with his unit back to Iraq. During some strenuous work-related activity, Dan felt so faint and dizzy he dropped to his knees. He visited a medic who diagnosed his faintness as symptoms of an upper respiratory ailment. The medic prescribed three days of antibiotics and Dan took care not to overexert himself.

Back in the States in late summer 2009, Dan began to feel rib pain and his family was becoming more concerned about his health. He first visited his physician in Richland MO, who sent him to Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach for an ultrasound of his gall bladder. The results were inconclusive, but it did raise questions about his liver. His physician ordered a follow-up CT scan at Lake Regional. It revealed carcinoid cancer, which prompted the phone call that Dan received on I-44.

Dan visited a doctor in St. Louis who felt the best treatment was $3000 monthly shots and chemotherapy. First, the doctor had to remove his gall bladder because the shots cause gall stones. During that surgery, the doctor counted more than 50 tumors on Dan’s liver, sized from sand grains to lemons. He gave Dan three to six months to live with the carcinoid cancer before it kills him. Dan and his wife began planning to sell everything they owned to pay for treatment.

The results of his treatment were as expensive as they were disappointing. Time, money and hope were rapidly diminishing as Dan searched the Internet for answers and ideas. New information he found at the Heartland Carcinoids website (http://www.heartlandcarcinoids.org/), gave him and his family some much-needed hope.

When Missouri National Staff Sergeant Daniel Barber isn’t deployed with his Guard unit or with his family, he is a Quality Assurance Specialist at the Christopher S. "Kit" Bond Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF) #2, Fort Leonard Wood, working on UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. While at it, he trains other helicopter mechanics and he’s been doing it for 19 years. His facility is staffed with 30-35 co-workers, and Dan clearly loves what he does.

Dealing with his serious medical condition quickly put Dan in the precarious position of running out of sick time at his job. In October 2009, through a MO National Guard program that allows co-workers to donate vacation time to each other, Dan’s co-workers rallied and donated 196 hours of vacation time to him. Thanks to the compassion of his work family, Dan and his wife and son never missed a paycheck. It was an act of unselfish kindness that Deanna and Dan will cherish forever.