Actor, writer and director Erik Jensen has been diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer.
His wife Jessica Blank announced his diagnosis in a GoFundMe set-up to help pay for Jensen’s treatment and other related expenses.
Jensen’s resume includes the role of Steven Edwards on season five of The Walking Dead, in addition to parts on Mr. Robot and For Life.
His diagnosis comes over a year after he survived a brain aneurysm.
His family are seeking $300,000 and remain optimistic Jensen, 53, will overcome the ordeal, however they shared concerns they may lose their SAG-AFTRA health insurance amid the ongoing strike.
‘The family has gotten health insurance through SAG (and occasionally WGA) for the past 23 years. Due to the strikes, the nonexistence of streaming residuals, and the fact that Erik may be recovering from major surgery during the earnings period to qualify for SAG insurance, they are facing a serious risk of losing their insurance.’
Actor, writer and director Erik Jensen has been diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer; pictured 2019
Jensen’s resume includes the role of Steven Edwards on season five of The Walking Dead
In addition to paying for Jensen’s medical expenses, the family hope to raise enough funds to keep their home and to ‘maintain some sort of stability’ for Sadie.
His GoFundMe read: ‘As many of you know, Erik is a deeply devoted father to 13-year-old Sadie, who’s the light of his life; an incredible husband to Jessica, his partner in art and life for the last 23 years; and a profoundly hardworking, generous artist who has spent decades committed to creating work in service of healing, justice, and making the world a better place.
‘He is one of the most hardworking, loving, truthful and devoted people we know. He needs to help his daughter grow up. He needs to stick around for the beautiful community he and Jess have built. And he has a lot more art to make in the world.
‘The cancer has metastasized to his liver, but Erik is young and strong (cutting a film during chemo, working full-time as a director and writer throughout) and his doctors have a shot at shrinking the tumors enough to do two very major surgeries and get them all out.
‘He is incredibly resilient and strong; Erik is a survivor. We know he can make it through this, come out the other side, and continue to make great work and support his community for years to come.
‘But Erik and his family are in for the fight of their lives, and they need your support.
‘Erik and Jess have devoted their lives to making art that hopes to make the world better in whatever way they can. They are full-time freelance artists and live without the cushion that long-term commercial work can provide. The lack of streaming residuals has affected Erik’s family profoundly in the past few years, as it has affected so many middle class working actors.
‘Erik’s aneurysm, the double strikes and now this diagnosis have put their family in an extremely precarious financial position and they need a lot of help to make it through the next year, pay for treatment to fight his cancer, keep their home, and maintain some sort of stability for Sadie.’
His family are seeking $300,000 and remain optimistic Jensen will overcome the ordeal, however they shared concerns they may lose their SAG-AFTRA health insurance
His wife Jessica Blank announced his diagnosis in a GoFundMe set-up to help pay for Jensen’s treatment and other related expenses
She also stressed: ‘Stage IV is not a death sentence, Erik is determined to make it through this, and he’s working incredibly hard to stay positive and fight for the shot that his doctors know he has. While hearing this news can be scary–if you reach out after reading this, the family would greatly appreciate communications of success stories, positivity and hope.’
Blank concluded with: ‘Erik is young, with a beloved young family, and has so much more good work to do in the world. Jess is being a warrior–a full time caregiver, full time artist, a mom, and as you can imagine, “producing” the hell out of his care team at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Erik can survive this– but they won’t be able to make it through without support. We are so grateful in advance for whatever you can give.’
Jensen’s GoFundMe was also shared by members of The Walking Dead team – star Jeffrey Dean Morgan and producer Scott M. Gimple.
‘Never had the chance to work with Erik… until now anyway. Only have heard many things about what a great guy he is. I do know he and his could use some help… Of any and all kind. xojd,’ Jeffrey tweeted as he shared Gimple’s original tweet with a link to the GoFundMe.
Jensen’s GoFundMe was also shared by members of The Walking Dead team – star Jeffrey Dean Morgan and producer Scott M. Gimple
Jensen’s diagnosis comes over a year after he overcome another health emergency – a brain aneurysm.
Jensen was at home when the crisis occurred, but he survived and just four weeks later was back on stage.
‘I all of a sudden said, “I have a headache,” he told Broadway News earlier year. ‘I had a seizure and I passed out cold.’
Of the specific aneurysm he endured, he said: ’50 percent of the people who get it die outright.’
While most survivors end up struggling with their cognitive or physical abilities, Jensen suffered none of that after undergoing surgery.