From Bogata to Burkburnett
by Richard Hearne
On a recent Monday night, I had the blessing of attending a concert by the NTC Connections Band at a benefit for Ann Michele King, the daughter of our friend and colleague, the Rev. Rusty King.
Ann Michele, a beautiful young woman in her early 20s, has been battling liver cancer for several years. The benefit raised funds to help the King family offset the tremendous costs of the medical treatments that Ann Michele has undergone. She told more than 1,000 people in attendance that she is now going to M.D. Anderson for treatment and that she is assured God is in control and her faith and the prayers of her family of friends and the NTC are sustaining her.
At the end of the concert, I told Ann Michele that I, too, have had my life impacted by the “Big C,” and I encouraged her to not give up. For some reason, I know that my counsel was not necessary. Ann Michele is not the type of person to give up.
I know that the purpose of my articles is to discuss issues facing the NTC and The United Methodist Church, but I am going to discuss something much more personal to me in the hope that it will assist Ann Michele and others who have been impacted by cancer (it is such a terrible word to even mention or write).
The Rev. Sheron Patterson, also a cancer survivor, encouraged me to write this article in hopes that it will provide encouragement for others who are facing or will face a diagnosis of cancer.
The irony of this is that the day after speaking encouraging words to Ann Michele and praying for her, I visited my oncologist for the final checkup of my second year after completion of my chemo treatments.
This is a very important date for me because my form of cancer, bladder cancer, will normally return in the first two years; after passing that important date, a patient can consider himself in remission.
So the prayers that many of you have offered up over the past 2½ years have helped me to survive this dreaded disease.I could not have made it without my wife, my family and the hundreds of you who prayed for me, sent me cards of encouragement and prayer blankets, and responded to my Caringbridge page.
My journey as a cancer victim appears to be ending, thanks be to God, and yet I feel so close to Ann Michele as a fellow traveler as she trusts in her God and the medical profession.
I encourage each of you who are reading this column to take two actions on behalf of Ann Michele. First, pray for her daily – I know that prayer works. Second, consider continuing to assist with the financial burden the King family is facing.
I was so lucky with my diagnosis – I was over 65 and had coverage provided by Medicare and a supplemental policy that I purchased. A family should not have to face financial ruin to provide proper medical attention for a family member. If you have donated, thank you, and please consider donating again. If you have not donated, please consider sending a check payable to Rusty King, 5804 Edinburg Drive, Richardson, TX 75082.
I leave you with my favorite scripture for one who has dealt with cancer: Romans 5:3-5. God bless each of you, and God bless Ann Michele.
Richard Hearne is Lay Leader of the North Texas Conference, which stretches from just this side of Bogata to just that side of Burkburnett. E-mail him at email@example.com.