UPDATE MARCH 16:
Since being diagnosed with cancer at the end of February, the coronavirus pandemic is a very real fear for Ben Fuller and his wife.
“It’s extra scary because he has a compromised immune system,” said Kristina, who is highly concerned for her husband and now second guesses any outing.
“You can carry something and not know it. So what if I catch it and give it to him?”
While that is the major concern for the Enderby couple, they have also had to postpone the March 20 fundraiser they had planned.
The Provincial Health Officer banned gatherings of 50 people or more March 16.
Therefore the Burger and a Beverage fundraiser for Ben has been put on hold.
But plans are in the works to move the silent auction portion of the event online. For updates visit the Facebook group Fuller Cancer Support. To donate a silent auction item, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORIGINAL MARCH 12:
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 4 cancer and has already metastasized and spread to his liver
“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 has been.
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 on March 20, 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 email@example.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 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 as, from the painting workshops she hosted for four years but closed in December to hosting events for women through a business with her sisters called Your Life 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 about a six-month chemotherapy treatment journey.
“I still feel like it can’t be true,” Kristina said, who feels as though she hasn’t slept since learning of her husband’s diagnosis.
But the couple, who moved to Enderby from Vernon a few years ago, have hope on their side.
“We’re going to kick this,” she said.
“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 also happens to be Colon Cancer Awareness Month.