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Fundraising effort to help pay for cancer patient’s chemo and to provide for his family

By Kara Hackett of The News-Sentinel
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 – 12:01 am
Read the article on News-Sentinal’s site


When Craig Pascute, 29, of Fort Wayne was diagnosed with esophageal cancer three weeks ago,


Craig & Amanda Pascute

doctors told him he had one year to live with or without medication.Two weeks ago, Pascute found out he needed chemotherapy to live a full year. Without treatment, he would live two or three months.Since Pascute wanted to have as much time as possible with his wife, Amanda, 28, and their sons, Jake, 8, and Zack, 6, he began receiving liquid chemotherapy treatment July 19 through a diabetic-like pump administered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Amanda. Craig receives additional treatment every three weeks.

But Craig and Amanda do not have life insurance, and the insurance they have does not cover the growing demands of Craig’s condition. That’s why their friend, Greg Munster, 27, of Harlan, decided to start a fundraiser called Help4Craig.

“Originally, I wanted to raise money, so (Craig) would know his family is taken care of,” Munster said. “Now it’s more about keeping them afloat.”

Amanda is a stay-at-home mom, and Craig had to leave his job at Triple Crown Services Company on disability.

Amanda says anything anyone can give is helpful. “It will really help us and bless us.”

Recently, Craig has been having mechanical issues with his liquid chemo treatments. In a July 29 blog entry, Amanda said Craig’s chemo bag was punctured on July 26. Luckily, she said there wasn’t much liquid in the bag when it happened.

Craig is also finding air bubbles in the bag, which cause the pump to malfunction and can be dangerous if they are pumped into his blood stream, Amanda said.

Craig hopes to switch from the pump system to a pill form of treatment as soon as possible. But the pill costs $7,000 a month, and insurance only covers $5,000.

“There’s no way a young family can come up with an extra $2,000 a month on top of all the medical expenses we already have,” Amanda said. “We’re tying to get grants and other funding, but it’s slow going.”

So far, Munster has raised about $1,100 through a website, www.Help4Craig.org. Most of the donations have come from his church, Cedar Creek Church of Christ at 12606 Leo Road, and Craig’s church, North Highlands Church of Christ at 1414 Archer Ave..

Munster and Craig and Amanda Pascute met as children attending Lake James Christian Assembly church camp in Angola. They all attended Cincinnati Bible College, and the summer before Amanda went to college, she and Craig began dating. They married in 2003.

“We’re best friends,” Amanda said.

Munster and Craig lived on the same residence hall floor in college, where they grew close.

Although Munster hadn’t been in touch with the Pascutes for about five years, he began noticing Amanda’s Facebook posts asking for prayers in March. When Amanda posted that Craig’s condition had gone from bad to worse, he contacted her, and she told him about Craig’s cancer.

“I went over there that night, and (Craig) told me the whole story,” Munster said.

Esophageal cancer is a cancerous or malignant tumor of the esophagus, the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The week before Craig was diagnosed with cancer, he and Amanda bought a car and had the opportunity to get life insurance, but they decided against it.

“We both decided we’re young. We’re in our 20s. We’re invincible,” Amanda said. “It’s ironic.”

Craig has no history of cancer in his family. By the time he was diagnosed, his cancer had metastasized to several lymph nodes and the T7 vertebrae in his middle back.

But despite the news, Craig remains upbeat.

“He’s got a really positive attitude,” Munster said. “He’s a down-to-earth guy, continually saying how blessed he is.”

“He just loves to joke,” Amanda said. “I really don’t think he has a depressive part to his brain at all. You never see him complaining.”

The Pascutes are currently trying to get into Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center, a top cancer hospital for patients with esophageal cancer, according to Amanda.

“There are amazing things they can do that, here in town, we don’t have the capability to do,” Amanda said. “We’re supposed to be hearing from them any day now.”

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