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Benefit raises funds for cancer victim

PROCTORVILLE — The young man whose community has rallied around him is back home.

Jimmy Simpson, 20, returned to his Proctorville home Wednesday after a couple weeks at Duke University Hospital for testing. Simpson was recently diagnosed with liver cancer and had gone to Duke for possible treatment.

At the end of January, members of Simpson’s church, Rose of Sharon, sponsored a benefit gospel concert, bake sale and auction. Simpson’s grandfather, Gordon Simpson, is the church’s pastor and his father, Jim Simpson, is the youth pastor.

The event held at the VFW Post 6878 at Proctorville raised around $8,000, according to Patty Earl, one of the coordinators.

“It was a great, great turnout,” Earl said. “It was standing room. We had all (the VFW’s) chairs, the church’s chairs. There were people on the parking lot, on the porch. It was absolutely amazing how many came out to support Jimmy.”

It was just after Christmas that Simpson, who worked at a local Walmart, thought he had a case of the flu. 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,” Earl said.

It was that diagnosis that sent him to North Carolina.

“He is feeling OK. He stays sleepy a lot but is up and moving around,” Earl said.

All the proceeds from the benefit are to go to Simpson’s family for traveling expenses to Duke, she said.

“They still have high hopes the Lord can still touch his body and bring him through,” Earl said. “We’d really like to thank the whole community, the people who donated stuff, and who came out to show Jimmy support.”