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Family hosts benefit dinner for son with cancer

Joe Freed, with his mom Jane. Photo provided. (click for larger version)
October 20, 2010 - While attending a friend's wedding, Joe Freed thought it was strange when he found a swollen lymph-node in his neck, but just assumed it was his body "fighting an infection." Come to find out Freed was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkins Lyphoma Cancer.

Freed said he decided to get himself checked out after hearing his co-worker tell him her brother-n-law who had a swollen lymph-node was diagnosed with cancer.

"I could barely sleep that night thinking I could be really sick, so the next day, I went to the doctor's office. They thought I had pneumonia and put me on an anti-biotic. When I was finished with the anti-biotic, I had an X-ray taken to see if the lymph-nodes were down and they weren't," Freed said. "This was a red flag and the doctors had me go in for a biopsy of the lymph-nodes and that's when they diagnosed me."

Pastors Bud and Jane Freed are holding a spaghetti benefit dinner on Sunday Oct. 24 starting at 12:30 p.m. at First Missionary Church on Clintonville Road. The money raised will help Joe with over $6,000 medical bill. He currently has no insurance and will receive Medicaid, but it isn't retroactive.

"A lot of times people go to church on Sunday, then go to restaurants after and they're packed," said Freed's mother, Jane. "I'm just thinking, maybe this time they can just take their restaurant money and come over and eat because I will have a good meal for them."

Joe said while he was going through testing he was "convinced" he had cancer, but was concerned because he knew there were two types "Hodgkin's" and "non-Hodgkin's."

"Hodgkin's is a curable form and was what I prayed I would have if I indeed had cancer," he said. "When I received the phone call at work, I was told I had cancer and that it was Hodgkin's. I actually smiled because I was relieved that it was a curable form."

Thinking of all the things that could go wrong, Joe said he realized it was out of his hands and had to "accept it," but handling everything one day at a time.

"I have days where I feel so good, I can't even tell that I have cancer or that I am going through chemo treatments," he said. "Then, I have days that are so bad I can't imagine continuing with the treatments."

He is using his cancer and chemo-treatments as a ministry tool of his Christian faith by posting update video blogs on his Facebook to give updates of his health status and to encourage any who might be watching.

"I have had the chance to show what God is doing in my life to people who may never have the chance to see God in their own life," Joe said. I know this may seem funny, but I have yet to see the negative in my diagnosis. Besides the fact that I actually have cancer, I can only see the good that God is doing. I feel blessed that He chose me for this opportunity."

His mom agreed.

"I have a great faith in God, so I knew if God saw this coming, He must have a way for us to go through it," Jane said. "That gives me great peace. My son is doing well."

Joe grew up in Coldwater with his older brother John, and twin brother James, but currently lives in Indianapolis, Ind. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2008, where he majored in Marketing. Then, he got a job as a Direct Sales Representative working for Comcast. While being out of work Joe decided to take up painting.

"He's making wonderful paintings," said Jane. "The kid's never painted in his life."

Joe said he just needed something to keep him busy.

"I get bored easily and even when I am sick," he said. "I have to keep my mind moving so I chose painting."

He also has a love for music, poetry and writing.

"I have been writing poetry for years, and I have yet to write a poem about this ordeal, but I have written a couple songs," he said. "My poetry is made to hear not really to read, though I do post them on Facebook if I like them enough."

He plans to perform them at a coffee shop in downtown Indianapolis sometime this fall/winter, something he says he used to do all the time when he was in college, but got focused on work and life too much to pursue more with his poetry.

Beyond his faith, Joe finds great support in his friends and family. He says he cannot describe "how amazing the love pour has been." But, like many suffering life changing illnesses, the experience has helped Joe rethink his priorities.

"I used to fight with my twin brother all of the time or get annoyed when my parents would call too much, but now all of that has changed, I cherish every moment I spend with my family," Joe said. "I have not had a single fight with my brother since and all of this I believe stems from understanding what is important in life."

Those interested in attending the benefit dinner, please make reservations by calling 248-672-0387.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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