Benefit Sunday to help local man stricken with cancer

PERU A town of Peru man is facing a very aggressive form of oral cancer, but his will to overcome his condition is strong. Billy Tedford was diagnosed May 30 with cancer at the base of his tongue, which spread to two lymph nodes in his neck. Since his diagnosis, Tedford has undergone a heavy regimen of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. His treatments were having no adverse effects on him until last Friday, Tedford said. It was then, he started experience dry heaving and severe gagging. My doctor told me that if he didnt think he had a chance of being cured, he wouldnt put me through this, Tedford said of his treatments. He said the thing is, theres a decent cure rate for guys going through this, but you have to go through living hell first. Im starting to experience that. Next week, Tedford will end his round of treatments for six weeks, with the possibility of surgery on the horizon, he said. Its been a rough road and itll get a lot worse before it gets better, said Tedford. Tedford credits his girlfriend of 14 years, Penny Defayette, and their two children, Gabrielle, 11, and Keegan, 8, for being there for him every step of the way. Gabrielle and Keegan have even helped him with a feeding tube he has to use, though theyve never seemed to let it get to them, he said. My girlfriend and my kids are my strength, said Tedford. Gabrielles been my little nurse and Keegans been my little doctor. Ive never tried to look any other way than positive, for me and for them. Jill Lawyer and her husband, Bill, have also been there for Tedford and his family. Lawyers husband has worked in the sales department at Plattsburgh Ford with Tedford for the past five years. The two families have grown close, with the two men hanging out like high school friends, riding motorcycles and watching Ultimate Fighting Championship matches. Over time, weve grown to love him and to hear this news it was just one of things youre taken back by, said Lawyer. The day before, he was fine and the next day he wasnt. Obviously, you want to do everything you can to help but no matter what you do, you feel like its not enough. In order to help do their part, said Lawyer, she and her husband have organized a benefit in Tedfords honor, in order to help with the expenses that come with undergoing serious medical treatment. The last thing he needs to worry about is trying to pay bills, said Lawyer. Hopefully, well be able to help him and his family and alleviate that. I cant believe the support of the community and my friends; its just unbelievable, said Tedford. The benefit will be held this Sunday, Aug. 17, at Crickets Restaurant, 697 Bear Swamp Road. The event will consist of a buffet-style spaghetti dinner from 4-7 p.m. and entertainment by the band Lucid from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The event will also include a comedy act by Frank Way Tall Whitey Ames, who has performed at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vt. Gift basket raffles, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing will also round out the evening. The cost of admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. The cost covers the dinner and entertainment. The North Country always seems to come through, said Lawyer. Its a nice thing to do, whether you know Billy or not, to come out to help support him and his family. For more information or to make a donation, contact Lawyer at 566-7181.

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