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)

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)

Victoria 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.

***UPDATE*** May 10, 2019- Dave has received an onslaught of messages from people interested in going for a ride. He’s very grateful to everyone.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

disabilities

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

Just Posted

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Driver who crashed into Uptown Walmart likely suffering mental health crisis, police say

Man in his early 20s drove through a parkade wall, no serious injuries reported

Supporter Gordy Dodd cheers on HeroWork Victoria executive director Trevor Botkin, who will be in a lift for 36 hours beside Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress on April 16 and 17 to raise funds for the organization’s next project, a makeover of the Salvation Army’s Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre on Johnson Street. (Courtesy HeroWork Victoria)
HeroWork Victoria tackles makeover of Salvation Army rehab centre

Executive director to spend 36 hours living in a lift as fundraiser

West Shore RCMP is seeking information about a collision involving a car and a bicycle on Six Mile Road, near the Island Highway, at 11:30 a.m. on April 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP seeks information about collision between bike, car

Collision occured on Six Mile Road on April 7 and a bystander got the blue car’s plate number

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

Most Read