Friends, family come to aid of cancer victim
Benefit planned Feb. 4 at Reilly Springs center
From Staff Reports

Jan. 29, 2006 -- Until last August, Marcie Kerby was your average, stay-at-home mom of home-schooled children. 

She home-schooled three of her four children — 17-year-old Jaclyn, 10-year-old Jonathan and 8-year-old Jaclyn — in their lessons at their Reilly Springs home. Her oldest, 20-year-old Jennifer, now lives away with her husband Justin Riley.

When she had time, Marcie Kerby also helped her husband, Johnny, with his 10-year business, JamCo Metal Buildings. Like most small town residents, they  were relatively content enjoying the life they had built in Hopkins County, the community where both have lived their entire lives and where Johnny's father, Bobby, operates Kerby's Garage.

At the end of summer, however, Marcie Kerby's life underwent a drastic  changed. She was told she had breast cancer, which had rapidly escalated from Stage 2 to Stage 4 cancer, spreading to both her breast and her lymph nods. The doctor's prognosis was bleak.

Still relatively optimistic, she underwent the first round of aggressive chemotherapy treatments administered every three weeks in November, which zapped her energy and strength. Recently, she was offered a relatively new drug, Herceptin, which was developed particularly for metastatic breast cancer.

"I'm having weekly chemo now," Kerby said this week. "The treatment I was having knocked me to the dirt. We switched to Herceptin and are trying to treat the cancer. It's new for particular cancers. This is one of them. It's a new drug that attacks it. I think it was kind of a God thing, that it happened now."

Kerby is now very optimistic of recovery since switching to the new drug, and says that aside from loss of hair, she neither looks nor feels sick. In fact, she said, she had faith in the medical professionals' new prognosis that "within a year you will have this behind you."

The cost for the chemo treatments are estimated at $10,000 a month when paid in advance of each treatment, and  more medical care could be required following the chemo treatments.

The family currently is being afforded a rate by which they pay only half the usual cost, when paid prior to each treatment. While ordinarily some of the exorbitant cost would be picked up by insurance, Kerby  is like a growing number of  Americans who are not fortunate enough to have it.

Kerby's friends are hosting a benefit chili, stew, auction and gospel singing event in February to raise funds to assist the family with the exorbitant medical costs.

"She shouldn't have to worry about the money, just focus on getting well," Gordon Frazier, who is helping coordinate the benefit, said earlier this week. "That's why this benefit is so important, so she doesn't have to worry about having the money to pay for the medicine and treatments, just on getting better."

Already, several businesses have generously contributed to the benefit, which kicks off at 5 p.m.  Saturday, Feb. 4, at Reilly Springs Community Center.

About 10 individuals will be overseeing the preparation of the chicken stew, made with ingredients donated by Piggly Wiggly, and beef chili, made with ingredients contributed by Brookshire's. Both will be cooked according to Larry Hines' stew and chili recipes. The meal will be accompanied with one of the cool beverages donated by Coca-Cola Bottling Company or Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.

Gospel music will also be performed before and after the auction. Among those slated to sing are The Cost, which features Mark Oswald and Josh Peugh; The Wallace Family from Freedom Church of God; East Caney Baptist Church; the Church of God Praise Team; Psalms 100, which features Buddy and Ina Gore; as well as "some really good soloists" such as Gordon Frazier, Lisa Brown, Rick Avant and Brigitte Taylor, according to event organizers.

From 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. will be both live and silent auctions, which will include numerous items such as a king-sized quilt donated by East Texas Auction and many others. Don Sapaugh will be acting as auctioneer during the live auction. Event organizers will continue accepting donations for the auction. If a business, individual or group has an item or items to donate, they can contact Gordon or Leah Frazier at 903-885-4351.

In addition to the benefit, Marcie Kerby's friends and church family earlier this month also sent letters to local church pastors asking if the congregation would be willing to "lift Marcie and her family up in prayer" and take up a "love offering" for the Kerbys during a weekend worship service.

"We encourage each person in your congregation to have a part in blessing the Kerbys by your financial support and also enjoying the fellowship a the community center. ... On behalf of the Kerbys we would like thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support," the letter states.

Anyone wanting to contribute money to assist the Kerby family but who will be unable to attend the Feb. 4 benefit may also make contributions to the Marcie Kerby Medical Fund at Guaranty Bond Bank, 919 Gilmer St. in Sulphur Springs. For more information about donating or the benefit, call 903-885-4351.

Older Archives

Looking for News-Telegram Sports and News Archives for January 2004 - November 2008