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  

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

Just Posted

Kelowna SPCA gives tips on pet safety during harsh winter conditions

SPCA strongly urges pet owners to keep all animals inside during the winter

Engineering professor’s rhetoric wins UBC Okanagan zombie apocalypse debate

Professor Dr. Ray Taheri persuaded the audience in the fun, make-believe 2020 Life Raft Debate

Former West Kelowna Warriors player nominated for NCAA top award

Jason Cotton was one of 18 BC Hockey League players nominated for the Hobey Baker Award

Injury-riddled Rockets rally for U.S. roadtrip amidst 3-game losing streak

Kelowna sets off for a three-game road trip starting Friday against the Everett Silvertips

Sub-zero Kelowna weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Oil and gas industry applauds Supreme Court’s dismissal of B.C. TMX case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Airliner crash a mistake that pleased Iran’s enemies: Supreme Leader Khamenei

Iran’s supreme leader says dowining of Flight 752 was a bitter accident in rare sermon

Penticton RCMP take down local drug trafficking operation

Weapons, suspected drugs, seized by RCMP

Okanagan dusts off old grad dresses and tuxes for first ever Adult Prom

Literacy Society of North Okanagan “fun-raiser” brings back puffy sleeves and blue tuxedos

RCMP release photos of man wanted in Princeton armed robbery

RCMP have released photos and a description of the man suspected of… Continue reading

Cougar not likely behind swine assault in Okanagan: BC Conservation

Coyotes, bobcat thought to be more likely culprit

Natural gas use skyrockets as temperatures plunge in Okanagan

Southern Interior use up 75 per cent Tuesday over average January

Most Read