Once his first round of chemotherapy is complete, she continued, he could potentially go to the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health or the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, both in New York City, for further examination.
"Now, the game plan is to get all his paperwork done in June so he'll be ready for August," said LaFountain. "Because, they don't just take you immediately. They want you to have gone through the first round of chemo for the doctors to see if the chemo's working or not, and see if there are any noninvasive procedures they can do. There are some experimental things they could do, but they want to see what else can be done before they get to that point."
Though Wilkins has insurance through his employer, McCadam Distributing, Plattsburgh, there are still co-pays and other expenses related to his treatment that are expected to cause financials strain on the Wilkins family, said LaFountain. That's why she has helped organize a fundraiser to be held this Sunday, May 31, at Crickets Restaurant in Peru.
The restaurant will host a spaghetti dinner from 2-7 p.m., charging $15 per person, with children charged $5 each. The proceeds from the dinner, drawings, raffles and auctions to be held that day will all help defray Wilkins' expenses, said LaFountain.
"I've had such an overwhelming response, I am just blown away," LaFountain said of donations toward this Sunday's event. "Everybody seems to be offering a helping hand. Now, it's just getting the people there."
Those wanting to make a donation toward the event or to the Wilkins family may do so by contacting LaFountain at 834-7797. Every little bit helps, she said.
"We're still giving him hope," LaFountain said of her brother-in-law. "We're not giving up."