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)

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  

disabilities

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lisa Beare, the MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, was sworn in as a member of cabinet on Thursday, Nov. 26. (Special to The News)
MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows has a new cabinet position

Lisa Beare is the new Minister of Citizen’s Services

Email your cooking questions to Chef Dez at dez@chefdez.com.
ON COOKING: Mulligatawny is tough to spell but a tasty soup

Chef Dez offers up his version of a classic soup

Emma Davison, one half of Golden Ears Cheesecrafters in Maple Ridge, reflects on running her business in the year of COVID-19. (Scott Saunders/Special to The News)
OUTLOOK: Buying local imperative to agriculture businesses

Farmgate companies adapt to survive during early months of pandemic

Natasha Brayshaw’s acrylic on paper called Snowy Magic. (Vicuña Art Studio/Special to The News)
Representatives of MK Illumination light up Memorial Peace Park on Wednesday. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)
Maple Ridge decorating for Christmas

Lights and decorations going up in the downtown

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Most Read