Dan’s Redemption Road

Dr. Jack and Nancy Swearengen

Dr. Jack and Nancy Swearengen

I met Dan shortly after Nancy and I moved to Santa Rosa in 2002; as I recall he was teaching adult classes at First Presbyterian Church, and also leading the adult ed program. Dan and I share a zeal for a version of the faith that goes with us into all the places where life is lived—workplaces, offices, universities, malls, prisons, public gatherings, travel. We are of vastly different backgrounds, Dan and I—he of history, arts and culture; I of science. But we both take the Christian faith as our guide for life. We became good friends, sharing many meals and events, always rich with conversation and many laughs. We agreed that faith lived out in difficult circumstances can grow really strong.

But surely at this moment Dan’s faith is being tried at a level that hopefully most of us will never have to face. First the enduring pain—eventually leading to the dreaded diagnosis. The first round of chemo causes his heart to run like a racehorse. Followed by another blow: Shingles. Today Dan is facing six months of chemo (at Kaiser) and recovery at Stanford from transplantation of his own blood.

His out of pocket costs for the treatment will be in the neighborhood of $3500—or more if he decides to seek alternative treatment at the point of transplantation (UCSF or Mayo or Cancer Treatment of America are possibilities). Even as his medical expenses mushroomed, Dan’s income has tumbled because pain makes normal work impossible. He’s had to cancel many of the weddings he was scheduled to officiate, and suspend work on his Redemption Road Productions. Just when medical expenses leap, a big portion of Dan’s income has gone away.

A full return to work under any circumstance will have to wait until at least 2016. Oakmont Community Church has decided to allow Dan and Meg to remain rent free in the parsonage until then. But what happens if he can’t return to work on Jan 1?

The situation seems to me like the Biblical account of Job. “Stretch out your hand and strike everything he has,” Satan says to the LORD, “and he will surely curse you to your face.” And Job lost everything.

But Job’s response was to fall to the ground in worship, saying

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb;

and naked I will depart.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;

May the name of the LORD be praised.”

Dan has continued to lift up God since the beginning of his diagnosis. He has ministered to us even through his pain and uncertainty. May we who have been spared such suffering come to Dan’s aid now.photo-1

You may send contributions to

Dan’s Redemption Road

6687 Oakmont Drive

Santa Rosa CA 95409

Or use Dan’s Paypal account where He collects his speaking and wedding honoraria.

Thank you in advance and on Dan and Meg’s behalf,

Dr. Jack Swearengen

2 thoughts on “Dan’s Redemption Road

  1. Dan, We’ll have a better result if we make this tax deductible. If Redemption Road is not (and I don’t think it is), could we not go via OCC, with “For Dan Melligan” in the subject line?  I will definitely contribute, one way or the other, but let’s sort this out.Ursula

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