GREENVILLE — A number of local businesses will host benefits for a Darke County family affected by cancer over the course of the next few weeks.
Ashley Fourman, age 29, of New Madison, has been diagnosed with Stage IV Aggressive Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer affecting the lymph nodes.
“I don’t think it’s something a lot of people know about around here,” Fourman said of her diagnosis. “But it’s definitely a very hard battle. It’s very rough. It’s considered one of the ‘good’ cancers because it’s curable. I actually have an 85 percent chance of beating it, so there’s that.”
That “good” designation is relative, however, as Fourman is currently in the middle of undergoing six rounds of very difficult, and very costly, chemotherapy. The treatment requires her to commute to Kettering Medical Center in Dayton for five days every three weeks or so. Most of that expense comes out of pocket, which has forced Fourman and her family to get creative when it comes to funding strategies.
Fourman and her friend, Brittany Sink, will be at JT’s Brew and Grill from about 5:30 until 8 p.m. Wednesday selling bracelets and T-shirts bearing the slogan “Knock Out Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.” In addition, the restaurant will donate 20 percent of its sales that day to Fourman and her family.
Another benefit will be held at Paws Bingo Hall in Greenville on May 27. This ’80s-themed event will include live music, karaoke, face-painting, raffles to win various donated gift cards and a costume contest.
“It was hard at first, watching somebody you care about go through that,” Sink said as she remembered first hearing about her friend’s diagnosis. “But after a while you start to see how extremely strong she is. Even her doctors say so. She’s Superwoman.”
Fourman, meanwhile, was quick to point out the various ways in which the community has come to the aid of both herself and her family during this struggle.
“The community’s been awesome,” Fourman said. “They do a lot for me.”
The Harrison Street Baptist Church in New Madison, which Fourman and her family attend, has donated cash and gas cards, as well as helping the family out with food and utilities. Kyle Herrmann, the church’s lead pastor, has been a great help to the family, according to Fourman.
“Pastor Kyle and his wife have helped us out a lot. They’re amazing people,” Fourman said.
Bunco for Boobies, a Greenville-based nonprofit started in 2010 that has raised more than $130,000 for the Cancer Association of Darke County, presented Fourman and her family with a check at a recent benefit, and money jars bearing her name can be found at Papa John’s and the Marathon gas station on Russ Road in Greenville.
And the help keeps on coming. In addition to the events at JT’s and Paws, The Skate Place will hold a skating party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday with all proceeds going to help Fourman and her family. And Bob Evans in Greenville will donate 15 percent of sales to the Fourmans on June 2, provided customers show a flier, or even a Facebook screenshot, bearing the family’s name.
All this assistance, Fourman said, seems to have started with the simple act of creating a Facebook page. The page, called “Prayers for Ashley Nicole Fourman,” has attracted an enormous amount of support.
“My friend created the prayer page back when I was first getting tested, before we even knew what it was. And she added all her friends, and I added all my friends. It was just word of mouth,” Fourman said.
Before long, however, the numbers of people supporting the page started to take off.
“I have like 3300 people on my prayer page now,” Fourman said. “A lot of them have come to visit me at the hospital. A lot of people have come together for me. It’s been really phenomenal.”