|Pictured here Grove City resident Josh Thompson sits with his 6-year-old son Wyatt. Thompson has a rare form of cancer that has him traveling to Texas twice a month for treatment. His family will hold a fund raiser to help with the transportation costs.|
The rising price of gasoline has created higher prices for other commodities. Some people are finding that they have to cut something out of their daily routines. Health care is not one of them.
For one family in Grove City, those costs are exorbitant since one family member is being flown to Houston, Texas, every month for treatment of a rare form of cancer.
"It costs $1,400 a month to fly Josh to Texas every month. It’s killing us," Connie Thompson said of the endeavor to get treatment for her nephew Josh Thompson. "We‚re doing something every month to keep going."
The family is having a garage sale June 6 and 7 at 1913 Westbranch Road, and they are looking for items people would like to donate to help them raise money for the airplane ticket.
"We’ve got the June ticket covered," Connie explained. "We’re working on July."
Josh, 31, was diagnosed in April with giant cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Two places in the nation offer treatment and one is M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas.
"It’s 1,124 miles from Grove City to the hospital," Connie said. "We drove him down the first time."
They borrowed a recreational vehicle for the 25-hour drive at a cost of $1,500 a week, she said, adding that gas for that trip was $1,200.
"If we did that again, the gas would cost $1,500 to $1,600," she said.
Since then, Josh has been given a patient number through M.D. Anderson and has been added to the flight service of Continental Airlines, which has a hub in Houston and works with M.D. Anderson in transporting patients.
The type of cancer Josh has affects his pelvic area and makes it difficult for him to sit for long periods of time. He is now in a wheel chair "and will never walk again," Connie said.
The hospital has arranged for what it calls "bulk seating" for Josh so he can lie on his side during the flight. He has an aide going with him and the cost of the round-trip flight is $1,400. It’s normally $2,000, Connie said, but since Josh has that patient number, the cost is $1,400.
Facing an outlay of $1,400 a month for that trip for his radiation treatment is hard, but the Thompson family is determined to meet the challenge.
"He gets hammered with radiation," she said. "He’s suffering, but he’s trying. It’s a painful experience."
To help meet expenses so far, the family was the recipient of a benefit at the Time Zone at Grove City. Josh’s co-workers at Siemens Energy Group in Lockbourne came along with the usual patrons, Connie recalled. Donations, raffles and drawings produced $2,350 that paid for the June tickets and one July ticket.
While trying to care for Josh, Connie is still working and helping care for her nephew’s 6-year-old son Wyatt.
"I’ve never had kids, only nephews," she said. "After a while, I could send them home. Not now. This is all new to me," she said.
Josh’s father is trying to help as best he can, she explained, but his wife experienced an illness a few years ago that means she needs nearly constant attention.
Anyone who would like to donate items can call Josh’s cousin Shanda at 554-5756 and she will arrange to have the items picked up. Items can also be dropped off June 4. Monetary donations will also be accepted, Connie said.
The garage sale at 1913 Westbranch Road in Grove City will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.