Kaitlyn Michaelis shows a photo of her father, David, who has undergone several facial reconstruction surgeries after two bouts of cancer. David moved to Victoria three years ago and is hoping to make some more social connections (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

‘A really chill guy’: B.C. woman seeks friends for her dad, disfigured by cancer

Kaitlyn Michaelis’s father loves to ride his motorcycle but is having trouble finding a crew

Kaitlyn Michaelis took to social media with an unusual request: she wanted friends for her dad.

David “Dave” Michaelis was diagnosed with sinus cancer in 2007. An invasive surgery resulted in the disfigurement of his nose and palette and the removal of his upper teeth. Shortly after, Dave relapsed with cancer in his lymph nodes, resulting in scarring up his neck.

Later, a bone graft using bones from his ankle aimed to repair his palette, but a post-surgery infection saw more damage to his mouth which prevented the use of dentures and limited the use of his foot.

“He’s just had a really rough go,” Kaitlyn said. “He finds that whenever he’s out in public people stare at him. I was out shopping with him the other day heard a little girl run to her mom and say ‘Mom, I just saw a man without a nose!’”

The surgeries have left Dave, 64, with concave cheeks and only the small remnants of a nose. While he can still speak, it takes a bit more effort to understand, and he also can’t easily eat in public. He also wears hearing aids after radiation therapy damaged his ears.

ALSO READ:B.C. woman forced to undergo emergency surgery after breast-implant illness

Dave and his family have lived across Canada, and most recently moved from Kamloops to Victoria in 2016.

“Ever since we moved from Kamloops my dad hasn’t found a single friend that wants to hangout,” Kaitlyn said. “It’s just so frustrating because my dad is such an interesting person.”

Before he retired Dave worked the ramps for Air Canada. Being near the planes wasn’t enough: he got a pilot’s license and even owned his own plane when his family lived in Vancouver.

“He’s an aviator, for sure,” Kaitlyn said. “He’s a really relaxed, really chill guy.”

Dave has a passion for working out, watching movies, and going for short walks with his wife. But, his favourite pastime is riding his motorcycle, an FJR Yamaha.

ALSO READ:New B.C. pilot to probe how blood tests might improve cancer treatment

“What really prompted me is he called me about two weeks ago and he told me this was going to be the last year he was gonna ride, ” Kaitlyn said. “When I asked why, he said ‘I’m tired of doing it alone.’”

Dave has tried reaching out to other groups before without much success.

“Now he’s just like ‘Is it my face that’s putting people off?’ It’s always the first thing he thinks about.”

Since Kaitlyn put up her post on Reddit, she got many responses with people suggesting organizations like the Legion or the Rotary Club, all which are fairly out of the way from Dave’s North Saanich home. Nonetheless, several people have reached out with their email addresses, something Kaitlyn hopes will lead to something.

“Sometimes it’s just one person that can lead to someone else, and then a whole group.”

When Dave found out about Kaitlyn’s post he was touched, and glad to know his story could get out.

“He said that, hopefully if it does get published, other people with facial disfigurements won’t feel so alone,” Kaitlyn said.

Anyone interested in reaching Dave can email fjrdave15@gmail.com

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Proposed new neighbourhood clears first municipal hurdle in Tofino

“We have a very urgent need for housing in this community.”

Tofino approves two pot shop permits

West Coast Cannabis Store at 1182 Pacific Rim Highway and Daylight Cannabis at 1-671 Industrial Way.

Ucluelet approves RVs as temporary housing solution for fish plant workers

“We are hoping for the best. Everybody has to support each other here.”

Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce champions unique staff housing solution

“It was a win-win situation for all of us.”

Tofino mayor cheers provincial government’s plastics survey

Mayors of Tofino, Victoria, Squamish and Rossland collaborate on letter.

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

Most Read