Colton Haynes has shared a heartbreaking personal tragedy on Instagram, detailing his mother’s battle with liver cancer and his family’s struggle to afford her end-of-life care.
The out actor opened up about his mom, Dana Denise Mitchell, and their discovery that her cancer and subsequent kidney failure were too aggressive to wait for a life-saving liver transplant. Instead, they’ve decided to set up an in-home hospice for Mitchell.
“The doctors suggested that we now focus on my mother’s quality of life rather than quantity of life,” he wrote. “It’s heartbreaking. My strong mother has always been the anchor of this family and our best friend. Now we’re being forced to say goodbye to her.”
Mitchell’s insurance covers hospice care but the 24-hour supervision she needs from an in-home nurse would have to be paid out of pocket. The actor and his five siblings, who are spread out across the country, were caring for her in shifts, but it wasn’t enough.
Haynes’ brother Clinton launched a GoFundMe to help raise money for a full-time nurse—and it’s surpassed their $10,000 goal by more than $2,000. All additional funds will be donated to the American Liver Foundation.
Haynes hasn’t always had a good relationship with his mom: In August 2016, he told Out that Mitchell felt “blindsided and dismayed” by his coming out. As a newly out teen, Haynes went through a rough period of reckless sex and drug use.
He had actually run away from home when he learned his estranged father committed suicide.
“I was told that my dad killed himself because he found out I was gay,” Haynes said. “No one will ever really know the truth. But my brother and my mom went to pick up my dad’s stuff, and the only picture on his fridge was my eighth-grade graduation picture. So I was just like, Fuck.”
Since then, he’s gone to therapy to help rebuild his relationship with Mitchell. And she’s come around to accepting her son’s sexuality: When Haynes married Jeff Leatham last November, she walked him down the aisle.
“To my beautiful mom: I love you more than anything in the world,” he wrote on Instagram earlier this month. “I will always be by your side in this lifetime and until the end of time.”