A fundraiser planned for Enderby resident Benjamin Fuller March 20 will help him and wife Kristina in the journey ahead as he fights stage four colon cancer which has spread to his liver. (Submitted Photos)

Tummy ache turns devastating for North Okanagan man

Otherwise healthy 43-year-old diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer

What started as a sore stomach turned into a hard pill to swallow for an Enderby couple.

Benjamin Fuller had been having stomach issues earlier this year. Thinking it was maybe food-related he adjusted his diet and cut out coffee, then sugar and other things, but nothing seemed to be helping.

Wondering if maybe it was an ulcer, Fuller went to the doctor. Results from a blood and stool sample resulted in Fuller going in for an ultrasound Feb. 25, which led to a CT scan and appointment right back with the doctor the next day.

It turned out Fuller has a mass in his colon. It is stage four cancer and has already metastasized and spread to his liver

“So we went from thinking it was a tummy ache or allergy or maybe ulcer to some really hard news,” said wife Kristina, who still feels like it can’t be true, considering what a strong, healthy guy her 43-year-old husband is.

While Benjamin has biopsies scheduled for his liver and colon on March 19 and 20, the community has plans to support the local couple.

A Burger and Beer (or pop) fundraiser is taking place at The Green Friday, March 20 from 4-7 p.m. with a silent auction and 50/50 draw. The family-friendly event is looking for silent auction items and/or sponsorship. Those who would like to donate can contact Lisa Wright at benbeatscancer@gmail.com.

At first it was difficult for the Fullers to accept support. But since putting their jobs on hold to deal with daily doctors visits and pain management, they’ve realized that this is just the start of what could be a long journey.

“After talking to other people who have been on cancer journeys they’re like, ‘it all adds up so fast,’” said Kristina, adding they are both self-employed with no extended benefits or support from an employer. You may recall Kris, as she is more commonly referred, from the painting workshops she hosted for four years but closed in December and now hosts events for women through a business with her sisters called Your Life Sparkles.

READ MORE: Vernon sisters sprinkle sparkles

In too much pain to even eat, let along make it out to the shed, Benjamin has halted production at his home-based nursery and garden centre, Fuller Greens, where he was about to launch a light box.

Doctors have told the couple to prepare for an approximately six-month chemotherapy treatment.

“I still feel like it can’t be true,” said Kris, who feels as though she hasn’t slept since the news.

But the couple, who moved to Enderby from Vernon a few years ago, have hope on their side.

“We’re going to kick this,” said Kris. “Plus I have very clearly told Ben I can’t look after (our cat) alone.”

To help the couple and attend the fundraiser, tickets are available on eventbrite.ca.

A GoFundMe page has also been created and has generated nearly $6,000.

March is also Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

READ MORE: Vernon grandpa needs a kidney


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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