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Community joins in benefit to help cancer victim

PROCTORVILLE — It’s a community coming together to help one of their own.

That is what’s going to happen on Saturday when the doors of the VFW Post 6878 in Proctorville open for a benefit concert to help cancer victim, Jimmy Simpson.

One of the organizers of the event is Patty Earl who has known Simpson through their church, Rose of Sharon on Route 775 in Rome Township. Simpson’s grandfather, Gordon Simpson, is the church’s pastor and his father, Jim Simpson, is the youth pastor.

“Because if it was one of us, they would be there for us,” Earl said. “When my aunt passed away on Father’s Day, his grandfather didn’t leave my side. He was right there with me. We are a small little country church. We are church family.”

About three weeks ago, Simpson, 20, thought he had a case of the flu, Earl said. When he went to the doctors, they thought it might be his gall bladder.

“They did a scan and found a mass on the left side of the liver,” she said.

Now the diagnosis is liver cancer and Sunday morning Simpson was taken to the medical center at Duke University. The young man, who worked at a local Walmart, recently married. Now his wife, Michelle, is by his side in North Carolina along with his family.

But despite the seemingly crisis situation, all of Simpson’s family and friends maintain an intense optimism that he will rally and return home.

“There is not a doubt God can touch that liver and there will be no sign of cancer and that is what we are all praying for,” Earl said. “On Saturday when I went over to see him, I told him, ‘You are going to come back a new person.’”

It is an attitude Michelle Simpson holds as well.

“My God can part waters. He can raise people from the dead. I know my God is going to touch my husband because we have only been together 13 months and he is not going to let me lose him,” Earl said Michelle told her.

While his church family waits back in Proctorville, they haven’t been idle as they plan the benefit gospel sing and auction that will start at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Performers on tap will be Ron and Gail Donahoe, the Dillon Family, Ashley and Chelsea Jones and Sue Barnett.

Local businesses and other community organizations have donated a variety of items for an auction that will be held in conjunction with the concert.

“A lot of local restaurants are donating meals and we have different flower shops fixing flower arrangements to auction,” Earl said. “A couple of the vendors at the flea market have donated stuff. We have oil changes, pizzas. We really started this last Thursday and the community has been absolutely wonderful.”

Women from local churches are providing baked goods for sales.

The money raised from the benefit will go entirely to the family for traveling expenses while they are at Duke. But mostly Simpson’s supporters are asking for the community’s prayers.

“Jimmy needs prayer for the healing. His family needs prayer for support because they are exhausted. They really haven’t left his side,” Earl said. “He is 20 years old. He’s young. His whole life is ahead of him. Our main thing is for prayers to go up to God to touch this man and have him coming back as walking miracle.”