Maryland Marine fights Stage IV colon cancer for third time

A local Marine had to leave the service not because of a battlefield injury – but because of colon cancer.

The American Cancer Society says nine out of 10 people diagnosed with colon cancer are at least 50 years old. David Chirinos was just 22.

Chirinos was a Corporal; he had already been to Afghanistan with his Marine unit. While serving in Kuwait, he began to develop severe symptoms.

"I would have horrible stomach pains, and then one day I started throwing up blood, and that's when I knew this is, this is serious," he said.

Military doctors thought he had Crohn's disease or colitis, but it kept getting worse.

"At that point I had already lost about 10 pounds within a week maybe two," he said.

They sent him to Germany, then to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda. On a trip to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore he met the young woman who would eventually become his wife.

"When I saw him I knew that it was love at first sight," said his wife, Sarah.

But just a few months later, they got the test results from Walter Reed.

"They checked the biopsies and they said hey, you have stage four colon cancer," David Chirinos said.

The cancer had spread to David's liver and his lungs; the treatment was brutal.

"They had to wheel him down to the radiation room every single day it was basement of the hospital. He couldn't even stand; he could barely sit up," Sarah said.

After the radiation, surgery and chemotherapy, he was cancer free. Then it came back.

That meant more radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. And then there was finally another period of remission.

Now David's cancer has returned for a third time, he's back to getting regular chemotherapy treatments again.

David receives a full pension through his medical discharge from the Marines; but his wife has had to go on un-paid leave.

And the bills for the mortgage, food and gas for his weekly trips to the hospital from their home in Baltimore County continue to pile up.

That's why this weekend friends and family are hosting a bull and shrimp roast to raise money .

"We are incredibly thankful for all of the generosity. We never thought that we'd have this many people interested in helping us," Sarah said. "He's always, always loved life and appreciated life and lived to the fullest and he would never let anything take that away from him including cancer."

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