BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – A delayed paycheck is not what weighs on the mind of a Cape Cod father fighting for his life, but rather the fact that if the government shutdown continues it could cost him his life.
The trouble started with a sneeze.
"Put me right down on my knees. I had to crawl to my room," Leo Finn told FOX 25's Crystal Haynes.
"The first time was Thanksgiving night, and I was putting my son to bed and we heard him yell out," Kim Finn, Leo's wife, said.
"I was sneezing and breaking ribs. And that's why we went to the emergency room, and thank God I did because they saved my life," Leo said.
Emergency room doctors found cancer in Leo's liver which had spread to his bones. His wife and his three children, all under 20 years of age, were devastated by the news.
Leo Finn, a successful Boston Beer Company manager, had to quit the job he loved in order to undergo painful and debilitating chemotherapy at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
"You do the best you can every day because you don't really have a choice. And you just try and keep it together," Kim Finn said.
However, three weeks ago, the chemotherapy stopped working and the Finns sought other treatment options.
Leo Finn discussed a clinical trial of cabozantinib with his doctor. The drug had proven successful for prostate cancer and there's hope for success in other cancers.
The Finns were excited, even planning a vacation to Disney for just before the start of Leo's treatment on Oct. 9. However, the federal government shutdown has put the trial on hold.
"I would have never thought it would affect something like that. I would have thought the government wants for the people to stay healthy or to get healthy," Leo said.
The FDA says there is enough time for Congress to act and prevent the lapse in federal appropriations and get about half of its staff back to work.
While it waits, the agency said it will have to cease many inspections and enforcement actions, as well as suspend the "majority" of its internal lab research.
"Wasting time…every minute to me, I think is crucial," Leo said.
Let's hope the federal government hears the Finns loud and clear.