By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON —
Friends of a Nason resident undergoing cancer treatment are hosting a fundraiser tomorrow to help with his hospital expenses.
Larry Erpenbach is currently receiving the second of eight weeks of radiation treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said Nancy Burrell, one of the organizers.
“He got cancer in the orbital nerve below his left eye, and it has traveled all the way around to the back of his skull,” she said. “It is a very rare cancer, and rare for someone his age. When he went to Barnes, they told him he was going to lose his eye, so he opted to go to (Anderson), the number one rated cancer center.”
Burrell said Erpenbach’s cancer is now rated low risk, and there is a very good possibility that he will keep his eyesight and both his eyes.
Erpenbach and his wife, Judi, have been staying in Houston since two and a half weeks before his radiation treatment began, Burrell said, so the proceeds from Saturday’s events will help the couple out while they are not working.
“They were afraid (MD Anderson doctors) would check him out and send him home, but they decided to treat him,” she said. “His last treatment is Dec. 18. He is flying home for the fundraiser, but after that, he won’t be back until right at Christmas.”
The first event, a Zumba-thon, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Faith Lutheran Church, 1104 N. 42nd St. Organizers are seeking donations, and raffles will be held as well.
An evening of food, raffles and giveaways will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Woodlawn Bar, Burrell added. “Team Larry” T-shirts are also going to be for sale.
The organizers hope to raise $10,000 or more for Erpenbach and his family, she said.
“I really think we’re going to do it,” she said. “We’ve gotten some donations already.”
Burrell added that she is surprised by how nice everyone has been while she has been fundraising for the event.
“It makes you feel good,” she said.
For those who would like to donate toward Larry Erpenbach but cannot make the event, they may call Nancy Burrell at 231-2230 or send donations to 15017 N. Campground Lane, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864; or call Sherry Smith at 237-6312.