A few weeks ago we got the worst kind of news, the kind you dread getting. Our friend and family member, Jim Patterson, a newspaper editor who is one of the most big-hearted and generally awesome people we know, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of pancreatic cancer, Stage IV.
We're hoping and praying for a cure, or at least a slowing of the cancer's spread (he's hoping to be approved for some experimental treatments), but Jim's acknowledged he likely doesn't have a lot of time left with us. We're all working on coming to terms with that possibility, but meanwhile there are a lot of things Jim and his roommates (now caregivers), Michael Armstrong and Eric Vaughan, need to happen quickly to ease Jim's journey. Note: also be sure to click the link to Jim's powerful column from the Craig Press announcing his cancer at the bottom; it’ll show you what kind of guy Jim is. How you can help:
Cancer makes everything harder. The funds we raise here will be used:
· To repair their car so Michael or Eric can drive Jim to his medical appointments three hours away and afford the gas.
· To help pay for Jim's medical care and his palliative prescriptions to reduce his pain. This includes paying for any experimental treatments he might be able to try. We're told insurance generally doesn't cover those.
· To contract a Colorado attorney who can ensure Jim's will and estate are in order.
· To fund travel expenses for Jim's trip back to Arkansas to visit his hometown of Camden and spend a little time with his family and friends there and in Little Rock.
· To help pay household bills while Jim is on permanent disability and his caretakers are working less (and will need to work even less as his illness advances).
· To cushion these next months for whatever emergency expenses crop up (there's always something) and make this whole cancer mess that much less stressful, full of quality time with the people most important to Jim.
· If it comes to it, to provide funds for Jim's funeral/memorial.
All donations help, and none will be wasted. Jim, right, with his good friend Brad McLelland, taken this week. So who is this Jim Patterson guy?
Jim's a writer, editor, and columnist with decades of experience covering news in largely rural communities. For the past 18 months he has been editor of the Craig Press in Craig, Colorado, after he moved to Colorado several years ago to be assistant editor for the Steamboat Pilot in Steamboat Springs. He loves and believes in the essential goodness of the communities he's covered: Craig and Steamboat Springs in Colorado and, in Arkansas, El Dorado, Camden, Jonesboro, and Paragould. His columns have provided insight and analysis with a dash of Jim's wit. He's a funny guy.
Other things about Jim: he has a rich singing voice that he often used in church choirs and as a soloist. He was a dedicated youth group leader for many years, investing his creativity and compassion in helping young people feel valued and providing a place they could belong. He has strong, informed opinions about politics, yet has close friends and loved ones on every point of the political spectrum; he tends to unite people. Jim's a screenwriter, actor, and award-winning filmmaker. He admits when he's wrong, loves learning new things, and has an insatiable curiosity about the world.
Jim with his late mama, Jeanette Patterson of Camden.
Jim's a beloved brother and uncle. He's devoted and loyal to his family, friends, employees and animals. He loves to be surrounded by the wild beauty of nature. He can talk to you all night and have you laughing just when you need it most. He's always there for his friends, no matter what. Even now, he's still reaching out in love to us.
This is a good man with decades of caring for others who now has a severe, urgent need for our help. Whether you know Jim or just feel moved to make a difference for him, we appreciate the support. In Jim's own words:
In closing, we want you to hear from Jim himself, so here is his final column as editor of the Craig Press, announcing his illness and prognosis. You'll see from his reaction to coming to terms with his mortality just what a remarkable guy Jim Patterson is.
Jim's column announcing his cancer
We're grateful for anything you can contribute to help ease this most stressful, painful time of his life. Spreading word of Jim's need and story is immensely helpful, too. You're the best.
Jim Patterson, center, with roommates/caregivers Michael Armstrong (left) and Eric Vaughan.