By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (June 3, 2016) – The Cody Keith Family Benefit will go on, rain or shine. The barbecue dinner with live and silent auction, featuring live music by Mark McKinney begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at City Hall at City Limits.
Sgt. Cody Keith, a Hico native who works with the Erath County Sheriff’s Office, was diagnosed with stage 4 Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma last month. It is a rare type of cancer of the head and neck that has caused damage to Cody’s facial nerves, tissues and bones.
The cancer has not spread into other parts of his body, but the disease was detected in the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck. Still, doctors are optimistic Cody will defeat the disease through aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Cody and his wife Belinda are commuting to Fort Worth five days a week for those treatments. The current regimen is expected to continue until the end of the month, when doctors plan to re-evaluate Cody’s condition.
Meanwhile, friends, family and fellow law enforcement officials are banding together to offer financial support and prayers as Cody and Belinda take time off of work and spend every other available moment with their two young children.
Saturday’s event was organized by Stephenville Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, employees of Lone Star Ag Credit and other friends. Tommy Keith, Cody’s father, is a longtime Chamber Ambassador and former president of the organization who serves as regional president for Lone Star Ag Credit.
Organizer Shelley Gilliland said everyone is invited and tickets are not required.
“It is donations only at the door,” she said.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to bid on a number of items through live and silent auctions.
“We have a wide variety of items,” Gilliland said.
Items up for bid will include a Michael Kors purse and watch, Big Green Egg Grill, two six-day passes to Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Fest 2017, gift baskets, gift cards, tickets to see the Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Cowboys, as well as dove, deer and duck hunts and more.
“We’ve got all of our bases covered,” Gilliland said. “There is something for everyone to bid on.”
Meanwhile, Belinda said the battle has started to take a physical toll on Cody, but the disease has not hampered his positive attitude or larger than life personality.
“Despite the pain, Cody is very positive,” Belinda added. “He is always a positive person. If can be positive, the rest of us should be as well.”
Cody has dropped a considerable amount of weight due to issues doctors told the family to expect in the third week of radiation.
“He is definitely dealing with a raw, burnt throat,” Belinda said. “Cody is not able to eat and drink the way he should, so we are having a G-tube placed Monday so he can nutrition and hydration is body needs.”
As they continue to fight the war against cancer, Belinda said the battle is made a bit easier with a little help from their friends.
“If I could say just one thing, it would be that I – we – really appreciate everything that everyone has done and continues to do,” Belinda said.
Other ways to help
Community members who cannot attend the Cody Keith Family Benefit are being reminded there a number of ways to provide financial support.
A website, codykeith.weebly.com, has been established to share news and updates about Cody and also provides a link for monetary donations through PayPal.
Blue wrist support bands inscribed with “Back the Blue” and “Lock Up Cancer” are being sold at the Erath County Sheriff’s Office for $5 each and can also be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sheriff’s office is also selling “Standing Behind Those Who Stand Behind Us” t-shirts. They can be purchased at the sheriff’s office, located at 1043 Glen Rose Road in Stephenville or by emailing email@example.com.
Monetary donations can also be made to the Cody Keith Cancer account at any First Financial Bank branch.