Rockford residents team up in cancer fight

Rockford residents Tina Weiler and David Cox sport matching bald heads from cancer treatment.

Tina Weiler was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Sweetest Day in October last year. She was young, just 38, and felt fine until acute back pain put her in the emergency room. She couldn’t believe the diagnosis. Luckily, after undergoing months of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in March of this year, Weiler has responded well to nearly 10 months of hospitals, tests and treatments. She has what she considers fairly good insurance, although the cost out of pocket for her treatment and medicines to date well exceeds $10,000.

Having a life-threatening illness can be a wake-up call, and in Weiler’s case, she decided to consider her good fortune of promising response to treatments to the best possible cause she can—to help a neighboring Rockford man in his own fight against cancer.

David Cox and his wife Carmen are dear friends and neighbors to Weiler and her husband, Jim. The loving husband, father, son, uncle, brother and friend was diagnosed January 17 this year with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He has been receiving aggressive chemotherapy treatments that leave him nauseated, weak, extremely fatigued and unable to work. His wife has become the primary caretaker, all while trying to juggle her commitment to her own career. The couple have been informed that a bone marrow transplant is required if David is to survive. The Cox family is like many today with less than the best medical insurance. The cost of his treatments, hospital stays and medications—some may need to be taken for the rest of David’s life—has put a tremendous financial burden on the Cox family.

Weiler said the plight of the Cox family is all too familiar—a health and financial shock that few see coming. She is part of a team of neighbors, friends and family putting forth efforts into organizing a fundraiser scheduled for September 24 starting at noon—a two-option event of either a day of golf or a 100-mile scenic motorcycle ride followed by a dinner and live and silent auctions with the money going to help the Cox family pay for the expenses of David’s treatments.

“This gives me something to focus on besides myself and that’s a good thing,” Weiler stated, showing a plucky attitude that has helped her face her own fears and fight. With a theme of “Swinging away at Cancer, one stroke at a time,” Weiler hopes individuals, groups and businesses may step up in her effort to strike back at cancer.

Weiler is looking for businesses to sponsor holes for portions of the golf outing, and/or donate gift certificates or coupons for food, and auction or raffle other money-raising items. Her greatest hope is for as many people as possible to attend the event and have a good time while raising awareness of cancer and its effect on local families. She is certain that this event will make a difference in the lives of the Cox family.

Registration begins for the ride at North Kent Golf Course, 11029 Stout Avenue in Rockford. The cost is $25 per person before September 1, and $30 per person after September 1. Dinner will be included. A website has been established to follow David’s story and progress at caringbridge.org/visit/davidcox2. The motorcycle ride has been coordinated by the amazing Lori Vorpi, event organizer, well known for her own hard work with VetsforPets, the Wounded Warrior Project and numerous other philanthropic efforts. To sign up for the race, sponsor a hole, or drop off auction items, contact Vorpi at (616) 866-1081 or visit 11741 Cedar Rock Drive NE, Rockford. For more about the event, visit my-big-bat.com, or e-mail to vorpichiro@aol.com.

Most of all, take every day of health as a gift and, should adversity come knocking, take a cue from the Cox family, who has adopted a Dr. Suess quote as the motto of this undertaking: “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me!”

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