Texas potter Jim Bob Salazar was recently diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer, a diagnosis made more frightening because he initially did not have health insurance to cover the treatment needed. Even though he has since obtained insurance through the Affordable Care Act, the insurance will not cover chemotherapy.
More importantly, Jim Bob will not be able to operate his pottery business during this time, losing the income which supports his family.
His health saga began when he discovered a lump on his throat. Soon after, his doctor performed surgery to remove one of his tonsils and to biopsy one of his lymph nodes. It was at that point they discovered the squamous cancerous cells had begun to grow into the muscle. The aggressive treatment will involve radiation five days a week for seven weeks, combined with seven weeks of chemotherapy.
While many people know Jim Bob and his wife Candice Granger as the couple who live in a big yellow school bus with their two young children, not everyone knows the story of how that came about. Jim Bob and Candice have spent the past five years getting to the place where his pottery could support the family. To do so, they sold their house in Alpine, Texas and quit the jobs that were leaving them both exhausted and unavailable to one another and their young children. They then renovated the bus and moved it to 16 acres they purchased in Gonzales, Texas. Since that time, the couple and their two children Lena Marie (8) and Zeb (6) have lived in the 247 square foot bus. In doing so, they have learned to live without many things most of us take for granted, such as an indoor toilet and privacy. However, this courageous lifestyle change has enabled them to create a close knit family, with Candice home schooling the children and Jim Bob working in his studio on their land. The children have learned to live closely with nature, caring for a variety of animals, gardening and other sustainable lifestyle skills.
The family continues to hope that this health crisis is just a bump in the road. Added financial assistance will make a huge difference in their ability to maintain that optimism by helping them through this scary time.