PERU - Ronald H. Doty's life changed forever with one word - cancer.
The 69-year-old Peru man was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer last November, which was something that came as a total surprise. As his niece, Theresa Cross, described him, Doty has never been one to have health issues. It wasn't until last winter when he complained of severe lower abdominal pain there was any idea of the illness that was developing within him.
"It came out of left field," said Cross. "He doesn't like to go to the doctor or the hospital, but the pain got so bad one night they had to take to the emergency room."
After several tests and thorough examinations, it was found that Doty had a large inoperable tumor in his prostate. The tumor had spread enough that the cancer had invaded his bones and kidney. The thought of her uncle being afflicted with such a condition was unfathomable to Cross.
"He's always been a totally healthy person and he's never really been in the hospital before this," she said. "There's no one we know of in the family who's even had cancer."
What's been even more devastating to Doty and his family has been the financial strain his treatments have brought about, he said. His insurance carries high deductibles and co-pays and his condition has limited his ability to make a living through his business of 47 years, Country Auto Body. The combination has left Doty and his wife of 49 years, Pat, living day by day.
"We're just trying to survive," said Doty.
The fiscal situation the Dotys have found themselves in led to a benefit being held a few months ago at Murphy's Tavern, and most recently at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 309.
Doty's son-in-law, Carl Ashline, who is a member of the post, asked his fellow members for support, to which they willingly agreed.