Skip to main content

'We are running against the clock': Tillsonburg, Ont. family in race against time to save son hopes for cancer treatment stateside


A Tillsonburg family is in a race against time to save their son, brother and husband.

After running out of options in Ontario, they’ve launched a crowd-funding campaign in hopes of getting him specialized treatment in the United States.

“I’m really not the type to ask for help,” said Nathan Bull in a video posted to social media. “I’m usually the kind to…I push people away when I struggle. I push people away when I struggle.”

The 28 year old, who grew up in Tillsonburg but recently moved to Bothwell, said he doesn’t consider himself a remarkable person.

But he is in a remarkable fight for his life against a rare type of cancer.

Late last month he was diagnosed with dedifferentiated liposarcoma, grade three – it is a tumour that starts in fat cells.

“At that point I thought that was the hardest moment,” explained his mother, Tamara Bull. “I definitely started crashing at that point. That would have been Nov. 30.”

The tumour is in Nathan’s pelvis, and is too large to be removed by surgery.

There is a chance to shrink it with radiation, but the type of treatment he needs is so specialized that it cannot be performed at London Health Sciences Centre, where Nathan has been receiving treatment so far.

“There have not been enough clinical trials here in Victoria Hospital for them to be able to treat this kind of cancer,” said Tamara. “They were told they might be able to start radiation in three weeks, but it’s a very slim chance it’s going to even help.”

With the slow pace of applying for OHIP, and no guarantee for treatment at all in Ontario, the family wasted no time in applying to a number of U.S. clinics that do perform this type of treatment.

But the cost of at least $200,000 is out of their reach.

An online crowd-funding campaign is seeking support to help save Nathan. At the time of publication, $43,830 had been raised with a goal of $50,000. 

“If he can’t get the treatment… unfortunately we are running against the clock, so he can’t get it soon enough,” said Nathan’s younger sister, Jasmine Bull. “There’s a really good chance this is going to be his last Christmas with us.”

Once word got out in the town of Tillsonburg that the family needs help, it didn’t take long for support to start coming in from the likes of both friends and strangers. A number of local businesses and sports clubs also reached out.

“We’re truly looking for a Christmas miracle right now,” said Tamara.

The family now hopes a U.S. clinic will take Nathan on as a patient, and they can raise enough funds to get treatment started within the next few weeks.

It’s all overwhelming for the young man fighting the battle of his life.

“Before all this support we really had no options,” Nathan said. “And now it’s starting to seem like there might be a chance for us.” Top Stories

Stay Connected