Share your Story: Janet Dafoe (Whitney Dafoe)

Posted in: Community Posts, Share Your Story


Name: Whitney Dafoe

Missing Since: 2006

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Written by: Janet Dafoe, Whitney’s Mother


“I have a beautiful son.

At about age 21 he started getting sick, and gradually faded from us. Whitney’s been lying in bed for 3 years, unable to speak with me. Now, even his memories fade from him. We had such a wonderful life together in our family.


Whitney Dafoe as a toddler.

On good days, when he has enough energy, he scrolls through his memories: putting together boxes and boxes of Lincoln logs on the floor when he was home with the Chicken Pox, putting together communities of Playmobile–Eskimos visiting the African jungle and the American West, with the rifles used to tranquilize and study animals, not to kill them. Letting him stay home from school to play with Ron and me just because. Riding in his Uncle Rex’s little trailer behind his tractor to go pick green beans. Eating more raspberries than he put in the bucket, while protecting his sister Ashley from getting hurt in the stickers. Going to a funky cabin on the Oregon Coast each year, where I grew up playing in the waves with my grandma. Running on the beach and hunting for agates. Watching him scream in delight and fear at the big waves. And at home, teasing him in the pool about the sharks that were about to get him.

That squeal! I can hear it. Not any more. No sounds at all. No laughter, no smiles, no teasing, no wisdom from the wisest of sons.

Backpacking in the Sierra each summer, cross country over the granite, playing on the “Giant’s big marble field”.

Whitney hated to stop and look at a map. “When I’m older, I’m going to just come out here and hike without a map”. That and his love of the book Into the Wild was enough to scare his mom!

Trudging on glaciers in the rain in Denali National Park, he stayed with the guide and asked questions incessantly, to the guide’s delight. Rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, looks of wonder and excitement on his face. Screams of delight going over those big rapids.

Photographing the albatross, the blue footed boobies and the iguanas in the Galapagos – stunning photographs – his first foray into his art.


Pictured: Ron Davis with Whitney Dafoe, Janet Dafoe holding Ashley Davis.

That boy had compassion, even as a toddler. In first grade he stuck up for a Chinese immigrant boy who was being teased and they were friends for years. Always teasing Ashley and encouraging her to believe in herself. Brave and courageous defender of justice and the rights of all people, passionately campaigning for Obama. Capturing the essence of the face of America in his photographs from every state. Writing funny emails about the food he knew I would love in a little village in India. Walking with a Shaman into the jungle in Ecuador learning about the healing plants with awe.

He had his issues with me. I made him do his homework. But one of the last things he wrote to me was, “Thank you for the magical childhood”.

He won’t be at the wedding of his sister, but will be in his bed, in his room, with tears running down his cheeks. He can’t even manage to have her come see him in her wedding gown.

My heart is breaking. I miss my son.

3 Comments for : Share your Story: Janet Dafoe (Whitney Dafoe)
    • Catherine Nichols Pogorzelski
    • July 29, 2016

    Which medications do doctors have Whitney taking? Has he had any MRIs or MRAs with Gadolinium (injected contrast?) We are a group of patients who discovered we have injuries and retained this drug for way longer than the 96 hours they say is needed to CLEAR this drug fro the bodies systems…I STILL have high amounts in me nearly seven years after my last MRI with Gadoliniumc contrast! HEre is some info if he has had them, if not stay clear of EVER having one, they cause Fibrosis and there is no need for pre-existing kidney disease in order for this to happen, none of us have Kidney disease! Please check out my Facebook pages for more info and pictures. The cause of me getting all teh MRis was suspicion of Lyme (which was correct, I have tested POS three times thru Igenix, yet Labcorp’s tests always seem to come up negative, doctors treated me anyway buit not nearly long enough.
    I am now 57 yrs old, I spent 4.5 years of that in wheelchair, using a cane unable to get out of a slumber-like state, cognitive issues abounded, but it took time, watching my diet, watching which medications were triggers, I threw most of them away. In my mid fifties I finally foudn otu9 I also have, Hereditary Hemachromotosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis (HLAB27 is POS), Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndroem (artereis are enlosed via ribs that need to be re,over and Eagle syndrome + thryoid cancer (the last two removed together, I have left the right side to be removed later (the left styloid was both elongated an calcified, the ENT thinks removing the ribs BEFORE the right styloid would alleviate my issues, I doubt that. All I can say is NEVER llow any contrast to to be injected, it is made of heavy metal and has ruined my entire body (I also have had two colorectal surgeries due to prolapse whcih I believe was caused from the Gadolinium as it causes scarring/fibrosis, that was foudn during testing! Doctors do not want to deal with this, being forewarrned is to be forearmed, I wish you well with oyur son Whitney, Hopefully he will recover…(PS DOctors were telling me that all of the above was due to “Fibromyalgia” when I KNEW otherwise, I led them to the PROPER testing to find all of the above due to articles on the NET, NEVER GIVE UP!

    • John L Whiting
    • August 3, 2016

    Dear Janet,

    I work with Dr Neil McGregor. Like your husband, we are looking into the genome and epigenomic effects of key mutations. What strikes me most about Whitney is the degree of muscle wasting he has. He is clearly catabolic. What has been the cause of this, in the opinions of the specialists who have seen him?

    I am assuming that he has had more than his fair share of investigations and that you already have some answers to Whitney’s illness phenomena.

    Whitney looks cachectic and a metabolic problem must be a component of his illness. I am really curious as to what others think about this, especially as this has been my clinical area of interest for nearly 30 years now. Unlike many other ME/CFS doctors, I focus on the patient and stay with them throughout their journey. Many of my patients from the early 1990’s are still with me now. My consultations are comprehensive and are 60 minutes in duration minimum. My worst patients see me every 2 to 3 weeks. I am not in this field for the money. I am in this field to help my patients in all manner of ways.

    I am a scientist at heart, but my desire to help patients kept me away from doing lab work exclusively. I work scientifically in a peripheral manner, therefore.

    I am willing to help (free of charge) but no doubt you have had many many philanthropic offers from people like me already.

    I do not promise anything, but I do offer ideas that others in the field do not know. Many current approaches in the field are archaic to me as I discovered these things many years ago.

    It would great to work with you and to help your son. This is a genuine offer, and I am not grandstanding or trying to gain favour in the public eye.

    Think about it.


    Dr John L Whiting
    FRACP Infectious Diseases & Internal Medicine
    Brisbane, Australia

      • Janet Dafoe
      • August 4, 2016

      Thank you for your comments and your offer. I have forwarded your message to Ron and to Whitney’s doctors Eric Gordon and Bob Naviaux. Could you let me know how to contact you privately so this is not a public conversation? Thanks so much, Janet Dafoe

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