In 2010, Beth Bailey, a dedicated science teacher at Surfside Middle School and professor at Florida State University, spent 8 weeks at the Hope Lodge in Gainesville, Florida, while her daughter Anna battled tongue cancer. During that very stressful time of caring for her daughter, far from home, family & friends, Beth met a man staying at the Hope Lodge that would change her life forever. His name was Lucas Cross. Lucas was facing his second bout with another rare form of cancer. Beth understood the hardships of this horrible disease, so she became a caregiver for him along with her daughter. Over the weeks, Beth and Lucas became fast friends, and their friendship eventually blossomed. When Lucas was the guest speaker for our local Relay for Life, where Beth has chaired her school team for over ten years, he ended his speech by proposing to her. Beth had found the love of her life! Beth’s daughter recovered and Lucas’ cancer eventually went into remission.
Through all of this Beth has remained a positive, faithful friend, kind and generous in everything she does, from teaching our children every day to baking “friendship bread” for those she loves! Lucas has become a father figure to her children, and a wonderful friend to many here in Panama City Beach!
In the Bible, Paul tells us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it”
Beth and Lucas are now being tested again. The cancer that once brought this wonderful couple together, is now threatening to rip them apart. Lucas’ cancer is back. He has Stage 4 salivary cancer that has metastasized to his lungs and chest cavity from his cancer in 2010. He is scheduled for surgery and then further treatments, many of which are new, as his type of cancer is very rare.
Lucas is self-employed and will be out of work for some time. Beth currently works three jobs to try to cover costs, but is having a hard time trying to keep up with all the daily and medical bills. She will soon have to take time off work once again to be Lucas’ caregiver. We are seeking to raise funds to help offset some of the costs of Lucas’ treatments, transportation, bills, and insurance premiums. Please join us as we support an amazing couple who continues to give so much to others and to their community. Any help you may be able to give would be greatly appreciated by Beth and Lucas, as well as their family and friends! Please continue to pray for them and possibly share their story!
Lucas has a very spiritual and optimistic outlook on life, and we would like to share his recent thoughts he shared with his sister, Linda.
From Lucas to his sister Linda 2/23/18
Been thinking about our conversation earlier. I know it’s hard when a member of your family has to go through difficult things. We are a family that feels “physical” pain for others that have to suffer. That’s ok. It’s good. I think all humanity should be that way. But I want you to know that I am “ok”. God made us to work that way. I am glad he did. I also know that we are put in other people’s paths, and they in ours, to help them get through a difficult time, or share a kind thought, or just a smile…. The magical thing is, that the smallest thing, or a big thing, might be the only chance we have to make a difference, in their entire lives. Just to share my story with “1” person, might put their life on a better path. That’s what we have to trust in. That’s what makes “all life” worth living for. Just ONE!!! If it’s more, then I guess that would be more jewels on our crowns. I don’t worry about jewels much.
Now…. How do you get through it??? It’s a constant state of thankfulness. Listen… If it’s only one thing anyone would say about me, I want it to be that, I have so much to be thankful for. The key to life, is to constantly be in a state of thankfulness. When we do that, it forces us to be in a constant conversation with God. Why? Because when you say “thank you”, to someone, you are calling them out. Any psychologist will tell you, that if you don’t want to back someone into a corner, or call them out you don’t, and I mean don’t ever, use the word “you” when counseling them. It points a finger at them, and they get defensive. They shut down. It also works the same when you are giving praise. If you use the word “You” when complimenting or praising someone, it’s directing right at their heart. So to always be in a state of thankfulness, we utter the words, “thank you”, thank you, thank you…. on and on an on. The word is directing thanks at someone. That means you’re now in a constant state of conversation….. with God. Eventually, if you “Listen”, he will begin to answer you. Giving direction, peace, love, etc. That constant state of conversation if what matters. That’s where I find my peace. It’s hard to begin it, especially when things don’t go easy, but everything isn’t supposed to be easy. I am most thankful for the struggles and hard times than I ever could be with the easy ones.
Three things I always try to keep in mind….1. Be thankful always...that will lead to a constant state of conversation, which will lead to direction, which will lead to peace. 2. Embrace the hard times. We grow stronger from them and learn. 3. Shut up and listen… Get out of the way of the directions he is giving us.
My faith in all that, is knowing that I don’t have to have any explanation of why, how, why me, why so hard, etc. I just know it’s not my plan, and it’s much easier when I am not driving the bus.