The family of a cancer-stricken 13-year-old boy who fled Minnesota with his mother because they objected to chemotherapy are turning to the Web to raise money for their expenses, which could mount as he restarts the therapy Thursday.
Daniel Hauser and his mother are back in Minnesota after nearly a week on the run. His parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, agreed to let Daniel receive chemotherapy for a growing tumor caused by Hodgkin's lymphoma despite their preference for alternative healing.
To raise money for the Hausers and help Daniel communicate with the public, family attorney Calvin Johnson has set up a Web site, www.dannyhauser.com.
Johnson said Wednesday he understands that the Hausers have health insurance, but they face legal bills and the costs of alternative medicines not covered by insurance.
"I don't care if it's a dollar or two dollars, so anything helps," Johnson said. He said money raised by the Web site will go to the family and will not be tax-deductible.
Johnson said Anthony Hauser, who farms near Sleepy Eye in southern Minnesota, has not been able to get into his fields. Daniel is one of eight children, and the family is feeling financial and emotional pressure, Johnson said.
"Things are really, really tight for this family," Johnson said. He said he had no estimate of the family's legal or medical bills.
Daniel received a single treatment of chemotherapy in February, but stopped after enduring the harsh side effects. Before it restarts, however, Daniel was to be examined on Wednesday in Minneapolis by a pediatric oncologist at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
Children's Hospital spokesman Brian Lucas said the hospital will talk with the Hausers to see what information, if any, the family wants released to the media.
Before Daniel and Colleen Hauser left Minnesota for California a week ago, Daniel was diagnosed with Stage IIB Hodgkin's lymphoma. An oncologist who examined Daniel on Monday has said the tumor has grown since then.
The doctor's report also says the hospital's goal "will be to include alternative therapies in which the family is interested, as long as there is not data to suggest that a particular danger exists with any alternative medicine."
In children, Hodgkin's has a 90 percent chance of being cured with chemotherapy and radiation, doctors say. There's a 5 percent chance of survival without those treatments.
The family prefers natural healing practices suggested by a religious group called the Nemenhah Band, which says it follows American Indian beliefs. In exchange for agreeing to the hospital treatment, a judge allowed Colleen and Anthony Hauser to keep custody of their son.
Brown County Attorney James Olson said he assumes that the Hausers' medical bills would be covered by their private insurance and that the county would not be responsible for the cost of the court-ordered treatment.
"The court ordered them to be compliant with the treatment plan, so they're doing it voluntarily at this time," Olson said.
The Web could be fertile ground for the Hausers' fundraising. On the social networking site Facebook alone there are at least seven pages with more than 1,000 members dedicated to Daniel's time as a fugitive, his preference for alternative medicine and other issues.
Todd Thielen, 22, of Paynesville said he created the "Pray for Danny Hauser" Facebook page to get people to pray for the boy and not to debate the issues of alternative medicine and whether he should be ordered to undergo chemotherapy.
"It's got to be tough for him," said Thielen, who said his younger sister received chemotherapy for leukemia that is now in remission.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)