Cancer leaves man unable to provide for family

11/26/2011 5:00 AM

11/26/2011 7:10 AM

Share the Season is an annual campaign that offers one-time aid to people affected by unforeseen hardships. The people are not identified to protect their privacy.

Provider. Father. Independent. “Like the glue” that holds a family together. A woman used these words – and “sick” — to describe the beloved uncle who helped raise her.

In July, her uncle thought a virus plagued him; he vomited one day after eating at work, but diligently pressed on at his job of nearly 15 years. The man, 59, never ignored his financial duty to family, his niece explained.

But the vomiting wouldn’t subside. And eventually doctors handed this Wichita man a colon cancer diagnosis, forcing him to take medical leave from work.

“It was so devastating because we’ve never seen him sick, ever,” the niece said, explaining that her uncle helped raise her three siblings and four children. “He’s always been the one to take care of us.”

While the man waited for short-term disability payments to arrive, money was scarce. Bills piled up. His family scraped together some cash to help. But her uncle missed truck payments and needed money for transportation, the woman said, so he turned to the Share the Season program for assistance.

“(I) never thought I would have to ask for help,” the man wrote on his Share the Season application.

“It’s really hard for me to ask for help being that I’ve been a provider for nine siblings and my mother.”

Now, the man is going through radiation treatments. If he follows the doctor’s orders, the niece said, her uncle might be back to work by April.

“I am trying everything in my will to return to work,” he wrote on his application, “and stay healthy so that I won’t return to this state.”

Send contributions to Share the Season at the Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202.

Donations also can be made through PayPal online at www.wichitacf.org. Donors will be listed in The Eagle; please note if you prefer to remain anonymous. For more information, call 316-264-4880.

To apply for help: Download an application at www.sharetheseason.org, or pick one up at the Salvation Army, 350 N. Market, Wichita. For more information, call 316-263-2769.

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