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What if this 15-year old was your 15-year old?

Number one this week is a heads-up for members of Peabody High School classes of 1987 and 1988. The 15-year-old son of a pair of your classmates could use your help.

Thane Hurst, son of Tim and Ginger (Entz) Hurst, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. A tumor and cyst have wrapped themselves around his spine at the base of his neck, covering seven vertebrae. The cancer, called astrocytoma, is extremely rare. Thane, who is a dedicated golfer, has been bed-ridden a good part of the summer since exploratory surgery revealed the tumor on his spine in May.

Tim and Ginger have weighed their options and talked with physicians and specialists. They have researched surgical procedures, hospitals, surgeons, and dozens of other factors that could impact their son’s health. They need to make a decision soon.

Thane desperately needs surgery. His parents have insurance, but are not yet certain that it will cover the extensive surgery, treatment, and rehabilitation. And they found out recently that there is more to picking a hospital and surgical protocol than they originally thought. There may be costly travel expenses, co-pays, or items rejected by the insurance company depending on the treatment they select. If you are a parent or grandparent, you can imagine the agony of making the choice.

Ginger Hurst works at the Marion County Record office as bookkeeper. She came on-board late in the fall and I have enjoyed getting to know her all over again … this time as an adult rather than a kid at PHS. Still, she IS a kid, just as my own daughters remain kids. It is often hard to ask how things are going. She has been sucker punched. They all have.

In an effort to help, Hoch Publishing is sponsoring a golf tournament with an 8 a.m. tee time at Hillsboro Municipal Golf Course Saturday in hopes of raising significant funds to cover some of the expenses the insurance likely will not cover.

The benefit tournament is a three-man scramble with a $120 entry fee. Prizes will be awarded and lunch will be served after the tournament.

I hope you will help. I know there still are many of Tim and Ginger’s classmates and friends in Peabody and the surrounding area. I hope those of you who read this will contact a couple of others and register to be a part of the tournament that could help a nice kid recuperate and go on to play golf for decades to come. (To register, call the Record at (888) 382-2165.)

For those of you (like me and mine) who would happily fork over $40 to play in the tournament, but don’t know one end of a golf club from another, Hoch Publishing has established an account for Thane at Emprise Bank in Hillsboro. There also are donation cans here in Peabody at Peabody State Bank, Sharon’s Corner Kitchen, and Food Mart. Donations of leftover change might not seem like much, but they add up. Or, drop a donation by the newspaper office in the back room of Jackrabbit Hollow. I will be happy to pass it along for you.

Peabody always has been a generous community. During the years I have written for this newspaper I have often been elated — and surprised — at the money raised for promotional events, student and school organizations, the historical society, library, Main Street, July Fourth, Christmas lights, park landscaping, banners, Peabody Foundation, and other programs and projects we support.

We also are a generous bunch when someone is in need. This is one of those times. If you are a golfer, knock yourself out on Saturday. If not, make a donation. I know I have asked this of you before, but I am asking again. We have a great community heart and you know it!

There is a phrase my Mom used to say to me when life looked bleak for someone.

“There but for the grace of God go you and I.” Amen.

— Susan Marshall

Last modified July 23, 2009

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