A cause for hope

Pictured from left to right are Tim Lower, Brian Conner and Lonnie and Shirley Isaacs.

The Rush Memorial Hospital Foundation (RMHF) will host Brian’s Cause from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the RushShelby Community Building at the Rush County Fairgrounds.

Brian’s Cause provides funding for patients battling cancer who are uninsured or underinsured. In total, Brian’s Cause has raised $25,250 to help those in need.

“One of the foundation’s major funds is the Brian’s Cause Cancer Treatment Relief Fund,” Executive Director of the RMHF Alle Lilly said. “It’s the hospital’s shared belief that no person facing cancer should have to make a choice between treatment or not because they don’t have insurance. We totally fund that through community support. The community supports our neighbors who are getting treatment here that need that type of support, so they don’t have to feel like they have to make that choice.”

The fund was made possible by the support of Brian Conner, who wanted to give back following his cancer journey. Numerous individuals have benefited from funds raised through Brian’s Cause.

A family friendly Glow Walk will be held during the event. Admission is free for those who are fighting or have survived cancer.

Teams can register to participate in the Glow Walk.

Registration costs $25 with a T-shirt included. Teams can register online at www.rushmemorialhospitalfoundation.com

If you are a cancer patient/survivor, please call the hospital foundation (765-932-7568) so you can be honored at the event. Event registration, a shirt, meal and recognition will be included for free.

A schedule of events is listed below:

• 5:30 p.m. – Registration/Meal/Silent Auction begins

• 7 p.m. – Cancer Patient and Survivor Ceremony to kick off the walk

• 7:15 p.m. – Glow Walk with family friendly activities

• 8:15 p.m. – Silent Auction ends

• 8:30 p.m. – Memorial Ceremony

Brian’s Cause and the staff at RMH have helped Shirley and Lonnie Isaacs significantly. Lonnie was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer on June 26, 2018.

Lonnie worked at Visteon in Connersville for 33 years. The Isaacs lost their insurance when the company closed its doors in September of 2007.

The couple loved attending auctions, produce auctions, and flea markets before Lonnie’s diagnosis.

“Since he was diagnosed, our life pretty much stopped as far as doing anything,” Shirley said. “Most of the time it’s hospitals and doctors and when we are not at a hospital he doesn’t feel like doing very much.”

The Isaacs owned horses and cattle, but they had to sell them, because Lonnie’s radiation treatments took away his ability to care for the animals.

“I can’t take care of anything anymore,” Lonnie said. “I couldn’t pick up a bale of hay or nothing. I was farming and working for the state at a state park. I couldn’t do that, because I had radiation every day for weeks and weeks and weeks.”

Lonnie said the doctors at RMH are working to keep his cancer stable, but there is no cure and surgery is not an option at this point. Doctors gave Lonnie 8 to 10 months to live, yet it has been 15 months since his diagnosis.

“It was too far gone to do any type of surgery,” Shirley said. “They said all they can do is hope to get it stable and maintain it and that he’d be on chemo the rest of his life.”

The Isaacs said the oncology nurses and doctors at RMH, their church (New Hope Tabernacle) and prayer have been a great support system.

“A lot of prayer and a lot of faith in God keep us going,” Shirley said. “That link to God gives you hope. Keep your faith.”

The hospital has even supplied the Isaacs with Kroger gift cards, gas cards, bags of Gatorade and more.

RMH nurses treat patients like people rather than a number Shirley said. Even if Lonnie’s past nurses are not assigned to care for him that day, they always venture into his treatment room for a visit.

“The people here at the hospital have been absolutely great. Anytime we’ve needed anything or wanted anything they’ve made sure we had it,” Shirley said of RMH. “I think they have the best new medical treatment here that you could get anywhere around, but even if the medical treatment wasn’t that good, they’ve got the care that makes it that good.”

Shirley’s advice to the caregivers of those battling cancer is to not forget to take some time for you.

“Take time for you,” Shirley said. “It’s something I’m not good at doing. A lot of the time as a care giver you forget about you and you can’t do that.”

Contact: kraig.younts@rushvillerepublican.com

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