The Josef Family Survival Kit

The Josef family survival kit... 

Josef needs our help. If we all gave just a little bit, it could add up to a lot and help a really good person through an incredibly difficult time.

Can you imagine going to the doctor for what you think is a hernia and learning that the lump you thought was a hernia is actually cancer?  Everybody’s worst nightmare.  One minute you think you’re a healthy person and the next you’re facing months of tests, lost income, surgery, physical therapy to learn to walk again normally, lymphedema and even an uncertain future.  Will you be around to see your daughters grow up and get married and have children of their own?

That’s what has happened to Josef DeJarnette. Josef has been diagnosed with stage 3C melanoma. A very scary form of cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes in his groin.

Most of us know him as simply Josef. Many of us got to know Josef when he worked at The Velvet Turtle as a very talented hairdresser.  A single father of two young girls, Josef wanted to go out on his own and a little over a year ago, working very hard, he made that dream come true.  He started out sharing space with Manuel at Manuel’s Barber Shop on Main Street and only a few months ago moved into a beautiful space, his own studio, Josef Hair Studio, right next to the FAVA courtyard.

Josef had surgery to remove the original lump but is now faced with more surgery because the cancer has spread to the other lymph nodes in his groin. When you earn your living standing all day, finding out you have to have surgery that will result in ongoing pain and swelling in your leg and involve the reconstruction of the muscles that are going to be damaged during surgery is frightening. It makes for a very uncertain future.

The doctors have told him he has to take off six weeks after his surgery.  Six weeks with his leg up – no walking, no standing.  Six weeks of no income.  Any business owner who relies on their own skills knows the fear of facing such an illness and such a “time off”. 

Josef has been building up his business and saving but how do you lose almost two months’ worth of income?  Right now Josef is saying he’ll be back in three weeks – in spite the doctor’s warnings of the very real dangers of doing that.  A stool to sit on.  A shorter day.  All ways he hopes will help him to return sooner and keep some money coming in.

Meanwhile his daughter wants to take time off from school to help while he’s recovering.  She says he’s such an incredible dad that she wants to be there for him the way he’s always there for them.

Most of Josef’s clients don’t even know there’s a problem.  He’s continued to be upbeat and positive – always smiling, with a kind word for everyone.  Oberlin is a small community.  A community that cares for the people who are a part of it.  And right now one of those people needs our help -- Josef needs our help. 

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Alice Moore 
Wellington, OH
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