By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (November 5, 2016) – Friends, family, fellow area residents and motorcycle enthusiasts are rallying around Mike Wilcoxon. The 56-year-old man who calls Stephenville his hometown is waging a war on cancer with an army of supporters at this side.
It all started with a lot of pain and problems eating. Mike was initially told his issues were gallbladder related. Mike sought a second opinion, which led to a Whipple surgery, according to his daughter, Ashley Daniel.
“They detected cancer in his pancreas,” Ashley said. “Stage 2B, they caught it fairly early.”
The procedure typically takes five to eight hours to complete. A surgeon removes a portion of the patient’s vital organs – the pancreas, gallbladder, small intestine, stomach and lymph nodes. Once removed, the surgeon reconnects the remaining pancreas and digestive organs.
“He is at home recovering from the surgery,” Ashley said, adding the process has been a painful one.
A feeding tube delivered nutrients to his body for a full month. A drainage tube helped remove fluids from his body. Both added to the discomfort.
“He is just now starting to eat soft foods again,” Ashley said, adding that the removal of the tubes is allowing Mike to focus on returning normal, everyday life.
But the battle is far from over. The next step is consultation with an oncologist and trips to and from Weatherford for chemotherapy five days per week. Then comes radiation.
It’s going to be a taxing – physically as well as financially. Mike lost his medical insurance. He isn’t able to work. His mother is digging up resources to pay mounting medical bills out-of-pocket.
Mike is the son of son of Wilson and Jeanette Wilcoxon; father of three children, Ashley, Tawnya James and Derrick Wilcoxon; pappy to six grandchildren; he has three siblings, Pam Tate, Janie Allen and Tracy Wilcoxon. Gayla Lewis is his girlfriend.
“The whole family is from Stephenville,” daughter Ashley said. “His sisters and brothers all went to school here.”
The family is calling on other hometown folks to help Mike as he prepares to mark the whole experience up as a win.
Bike 4 Mike, a fundraising event that includes a motorcycle ride, silent auction, live music and barbecue dinner will be held Saturday, November 19.
Mike is a motorcycle enthusiast.
The 125-mile ride route starts at Allsup’s on the South Loop with kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. The caravan will stop in Santo for lunch before heading to Mingus and back to Stephenville and residence of “Granny O,” Oleta Rudloff, located on Water Tower Road in Stephenville. The residence will host the dinner, auction and entertainment lineup, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
Live music will includes Billy Hartman, Whiskey Smiles, Kerri Lick & the Kool Contradiction, Wild Turkeys, Jaeden Matthews, Garrett Thompson and other entertainers.
Registration for motorcyclists is $25 per rider and $15 per passenger. Supporters who don’t ride motorcycles are invited to ride along in the motor vehicles for a fee of $25 per vehicle and $10 for each passenger. All entry fees include the barbecue dinner. Individuals who would like to meet at Granny O’s for the dinner can get meal tickets for $10 each, and benefit t-shirts are being sold for $20.
The list of items that will be available at the silent auction is growing, an organizers are asking for individuals, organizations and businesses to consider a contribution.
“We need and welcome all of the help we can get,” Ashley said.
To donate to the silent auction contact Tawnya James, 254-485-3962; Ashley Daniel, 485-5605; Gayla Lewis 485-0495 or Pam Wilcoxon Tate at 592-7099.
Meanwhile, individuals who would like to make other monetary contributions outside of the upcoming fundraising event may do so at First Financial Bank to the Mike Wilcoxon account.