Cancer sucks.....but we're having a party anyway!

Lord knows there is plenty of grief and misery in the world to go around. We’re bombarded with bad news on a daily basis. Gun violence, poverty, hunger and whatever else comes our way, but we seem to persevere. Then you wake up one day and receive some really bad news; like a friend is sick and needs help.

Cancer sucks. It rears its ugly head whenever it feels like it and sends so many worlds into a tailspin. Obviously the person who is sick is impacted first and foremost, but family and friends also are forced to deal with it, which is damn hard too.

A good friend of mine, Kevin, received some bad news recently. He was simply minding his own business, living his life and out of the blue he got a kick in the gut. Although he suffered no warning signs, he went to the doctor for what he thought was a bad case of the flu, only to be told that he had colon and liver cancer. Well, that’s a fine “how do you do”! So now, as he’s dealing with a long treatment cycle in order to kick this beast, he’s also faced with the prospect of paying what are quickly becoming insurmountable medical bills. Please don’t anyone tell me that we don’t need health care reform….let’s don’t go there.

Kevin isn’t what I could call an “old” friend. The fact is he’s only 42. I’ve known him for only about two years or so. Kevin is, however, one of those people that enters your life for a reason and asks for nothing in return. A funny thing happened to me about two years ago. I was in the process of ending a long-term marriage. I had also moved from an area that I had lived a good portion of my life in and headed back to my hometown of Hammond, Indiana. Although I grew up in Hammond, I had lost contact with nearly everyone I knew from years ago. Oh…I also had just been laid off from a job that I had held for over 20 years. Ok, this story isn’t about me, it’s about Kevin.

One night, while feeling rather blue about the events that were transpiring in my life, I wandered into a little sports bar in Highland, Indiana called Rodney’s. I didn’t know a sole there, so I was little timid about even going in. I sat at the bar, ordered a beer and stared at the TV…wondering where the Hell my life was going. Sitting next to me was gentleman with a very gravelly voice (actually, he sounded as if he had been gargling with razor blades) and had a hearty laugh. Soon we began to talk about whatever sporting event was on TV and before you know it, Kevin and I were ordering up another beer.

A few nights later and still feeling a bit sorry for myself, I ventured back over to Rodney’s, sat at the end of the bar and ordered a beer. Kevin, who was stationed at the other end of the bar and sitting with Todd, a friend of his, walked down to greet me. “Hey Tom”, he said “Why don’t you come down to the other end and join us? You look a little lonely down here!”

Kevin, Todd and I became fast friends. Since I was out of work at the time and so was Kevin, we soon became “regulars” at Rodney’s. We did a pretty good job of helping the bar reach their weekly beer sales goals. As the months passed, we consumed more and more beer, until the unthinkable happened. Yes, that’s right….we both got jobs! Ugh!!!

So the nightly sojourn to Rodney’s became less frequent and, thankfully, my dependence on beer did too! Thanks to Kevin’s unsolicited friendliness, I was able to make many, many new friends at a place that I now consider to be my “spot”, which I still frequent on occasion. Kevin went on to meet a lovely lady, Erin, which eventually developed into a serious relationship. Then this bump in the road came along.

Kevin did me a good turn by extending a helping hand to someone who I think deep down he knew needed a friend. It’s my turn to return the favor. As I had mentioned, cancer sucks and so do the bills that come along with it. Although insurance covers a good bit, what costs aren’t covered are damn pricey. Neither Kevin nor any of his friends is made of money, so some friends of mine and I have decided to stage a benefit for Kevin, which will hopefully raise a few bucks to offset medical costs. At the very least, it will produce a damn good time and that’s a guarantee!!

The event is to be held at:

Rodney’s Sports Bar (Langel’s Pizza)
2822 Highway Avenue
Highland IN

March 16, 2013.

Yes, St. Patrick’s Day weekend is the perfect time to raise a little money (and a LOT of Hell) with some old friends and some new ones too!!

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    Tom Byelick

    A lengthy career in sales coupled with years of raising children has led me to interact with numerous personality types. It is the nuances in these personality types that lead me to ask questions and inquire about beliefs / attitudes which, I find, leads to even more questions. Sometimes the obvious can lead to be the most entertaining!

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