The flyer for Jim Keeling’s cancer fund-raiser says bluntly:
“Cancer is like lightning. It strikes anywhere, anytime. It can turn our everyday routines into total confusion and utter chaos. Such is the case for our friend, Jim Keeling.”
Jim Keeling, 43, a concrete mason, husband and father of three children, was diagnosed last November with squamous cell carcinoma on his head and neck. It’s a disease that’s rarely seen in someone his age and in someone who doesn’t smoke or drink. However, the Internet says, it has been seen in people who are around concrete dust, said his significant other, Michelle Green.
During a four-hour surgery two weeks ago in Indianapolis, doctors removed a large tumor on the right side of his neck, plus 17 lymph nodes, scarring from a previous operation, a nerve, and muscle down his shoulder. Maximum doses of radiation have adversely affected his salivary glands and taste buds and left his throat raw. He couldn’t speak for long periods of time, although he has begun to answer the phone. He hasn’t been able to eat solid foods, so his weight has gone from 230 pounds to 205.
His cancer is considered “Stage Four,” with four being the worst on a scale of one to four. Nevertheless, Keeling, who was otherwise in excellent health and a long-time weight lifter, is optimistic. So are his doctors, said Green. He’s had a complete round of radiation treatment and will likely have more chemotherapy. Although he will have limited use of his right arm, he’s looking at a lot of physical therapy, and he’s anxious to resume rough-housing with their son, Mason, 5. He and Green also have a seven-month-old child, Connor. Keeling has a 19-year-old son, Justin Watkins, who graduated last year from North Harrison High School.
The flyer says, “Our friend cannot qualify for disability with his employer, and Social Security benefits will not start for one year …. Medical costs and day-to-day living costs have become staggering.”
Green lost her sister, Rhonda Wells of Floyds Knobs, to cancer on Oct. 15, one month before Keeling’s illness was diagnosed. She was 39.
Two of Green’s good friends, Lee Fink King and Angela Smith, have organized the fund-raiser for Saturday, March 15, from 6 p.m. until sometime that night. It will be held at the Nevin Park Building at 3730 Cline Road, near the Harrison County Industrial Park in north Corydon.
Entertainment – the Soggy Bottom Boys – will start at 7 p.m. An auction will follow at 8, and then, The Double Image band will have a 25th year reunion and start playing at 9 p.m.
Donations to the Jim Keeling fund can be made at any Bank One office.
Benefit planned for Lanesville cancer patient
A fund-raiser will be held Saturday for Daniel Wigginton, a lifelong resident of the Lanesville community who was diagnosed in October 2001 with testicular cancer. The fund-raiser will start at 5 p.m. at the Jaycee Park in Lanesville.
Wigginton graduated from Lanesville in 1998. He is the son of Pam Voelker and Pat Wigginton. He now lives in Georgetown with Bridget Donahue and their toddler, Peyton. An electrician by trade, Wigginton hasn’t been well enough to work since being diagnosed. His illness is terminal.
The benefit, sponsored by the Lanesville Jaycees, will include a silent auction of dozens of items, including autographed sports memorabilia, gift certificates, free services and others, scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. A free-will chili supper is also scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m.
Raffle tickets can be purchased for $1 or six for $5 for the two prizes: a Weber Gas Grill and a 27-inch JVC TV. Winners will be drawn at 8 p.m.
The DJ, Music-n-More, will play from 8 to 10 p.m.
Call Suzie Tomes, president of the Lanesville Jaycees, at 952-1414 with any questions regarding donations or the auction.