The Freckled Fox is a lifestyle blog written by Emily Meyers, a beautiful and stylish wife and mom living in Idaho. Since August of 2011, Emily has written about fashion, makeup, decorating and cooking along with the day-to-day joys of raising five very young kids. She and her husband Martin appeared to have a picture perfect life. Then, in April of 2015, Emily wrote a post announcing that Martin had been diagnosed with stage four metastatic melanoma.
The Meyers received a huge outpouring of support from Emily’s readers. Emily was eight months pregnant with her fifth child, and Martin was only 34 years old. A few weeks later, Emily wrote another post announcing that they had decided to seek unconventional treatment for Martin in Mexico.
A friend of the family also made a post on Emily’s blog asking people to donate to the Meyers family. She wrote about what wonderful people Emily and Martin are and shared that they were going to be struggling with medical bills. Then, she requested that anyone who wanted to donate to the family could send money to them via PayPal. “Many of the costs for tests that they have done and the treatments that they are hoping to do are a financial burden that they do not have to face alone. I am confident that we could raise over $100,000 for them to be able to afford the treatments, and to pay the current medical bills they already have.”
Martin and Emily went to Mexico for three weeks. Emily wrote that Martin received many treatments and had surgery to remove the tumor from under his armpit.
They returned to Idaho, where Emily gave birth to their fifth child, a healthy baby girl. In August, Emily shared with her readers that the family had bought a new house and that they were moving.
Soon after this, Emily noticed a spike in her blog traffic. She started getting comments like this on her social media accounts.
Meanwhile, I started getting emails from concerned readers who were convinced that Emily and Martin were faking his cancer in an effort to fraudulently raise money to pay for their new home. People questioned whether or not someone with a diagnosis like that would forgo chemotherapy for alternative treatments. They said Emily didn’t post pictures that would help prove the story. Martin posts a lot of pictures of himself lifting weights on his Instagram, and many readers expressed doubts that he’d be able to do that. The scar from his surgery to remove the underarm tumor isn’t clearly visible in a lot of his pictures. Some readers wondered how Emily could post recipes for smoothies and pictures of her outfits while her husband struggled with an illness like melanoma.
Last night, Emily and I talked on the phone for two hours. She went through the entire story of Martin’s diagnosis and the reasons they choose to have his cancer treated in Mexico. She even went into great detail about why they decided to buy a new house in the midst of a terminal illness battle. After speaking to Emily, I am 100% convinced of the veracity of her story. Martin was diagnosed with stage four metastatic melanoma, and he is being treated in Mexico in an attempt to cure the disease.
Here’s a picture of Martin’s tumor before it was removed.
That picture is from after the surgery.
Please note the scar under his arm.
Emily also forwarded me many many emails between she and Martin and doctors in Mexico and Germany about treatment options. All the details in these emails matched the story she’s been sharing on her blog since April.
Still not convinced? Emily and Martin shared with me a boatload of medical paperwork confirming his diagnosis. For the record, the editing shown was done by me in order to keep some remnants of Martin’s privacy.
Why didn’t Emily share this proof on her blog? She views it as an outlet for her own creativity and she likes to keep her blog uplifting. She felt that posting tons of details about Martin’s illness would be a downer for her readers.
Why did they go to Mexico for treatment? After being diagnosed in Idaho and getting a consultation in Utah, they were advised to enroll Martin in a clinical trial. One of the suggested trials involved infecting with Martin with herpes and then trying to direct the virus to attack his melanoma. Neither one of them were comfortable with the treatment plans that were suggested.
In clinical trials, you never know if a patient receives the real treatment or a placebo; EDIT: this is not true in a clinical trial at all- my mistake, not Emily or Martin’s- I misunderstood a description given to me by a medical professional who I consult with about this blog- THW- Martin and Emily wanted to ensure Martin had the chance to fight his illness with every available weapon. Martin had a friend who suffered from melanoma and underwent chemotherapy only to die during treatment. They are still keeping their options open for more conventional treatment if needed, but for now, this is their choice.
Why did a friend make a post asking for donations? Emily and Martin were overwhelmed with the support their real-life friends and family provided for them after his diagnosis. One friend wanted to start a GoFundMe page. Emily didn’t know much about that and the friend asked if Emily would allow her to post on the blog. They chose PayPal for donations because GoFundMe takes a larger percentage of donations as a fee.
Why did they buy a new house? Martin had safety concerns for Emily and the children. Moving was on his bucket list. They just happened to find a house in their budget that was extremely close to Martin’s family. They jumped on it.
Most of the time, this blog is about revealing people who are faking illnesses online. In this case, Martin and Emily are being completely honest, but they have had a difficult time walking the fine line between sharing information about his battle and keeping a level of privacy for their family. I hope this clears up any doubts that readers might have about Martin’s illness, and I hope the family receives the support and well-wishes they deserve.
(Thanks to Diana Almanza, Becky Rogers and JT for their research and help with this entry, and thanks to my lovely sister for her edits).