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

Recreation guide brings new programs to Penticton

Pick up a copy in the Penticton Western News this week

Okanagan Art Gallery presents Our Town exhibition

The Osoyoos gallery celebrates the town as seen through the eyes of local artists.

MP Richard Cannings to kick off campaign with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Shindig in the Garden takes place Aug. 29 at Linden Gardens in Kaleden

Two drowning incidents on Okanagan Lake serve as safety reminder

B.C. drowning fatalities down compared to August 2018

New Penticton/Kelowna transit route ready to roll out

Route 70 Penticton/Kelowna will provide a direct trip to Kelowna from Penticton and Summerland

Memorial grows for teen who drowned in Okanagan Lake

Jaxsn Cahill drowned at Gellatly Bay Park in West Kelowna on Aug. 17

Okanagan RCMP superintendent helps with arrest

Vernon Supt. Shawna Baher arrests man for theft; turns out to be suspect in assault and robbery

Kelowna man arrested for allegedly setting fires near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Okanagan mothers to share grief, spread awareness for Overdose Day

Moms Stop the Harm is hosting an event for International Overdose Awareness Day in Kelowna

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience the ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Valdy gives volunteers a hand after Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Celebrated Canadian singer pitched in alongside starstruck clean-up crew

Most Read