Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

November 29, 2012

A Sunday breakfast will help couple’s mounting medical bills

LAGRANGE — Family, neighbors, friends and fellow church members will be eating breakfast while they bid on lots of goodies at LaGrange American Legion Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012,  from 8 to 11 a.m. The breakfast is a fundraiser to help the family of LaGrange businessman Jim Norris.

For decades Jim could be found either at his LaGrange business, The Combined Agency, or out on the golf course. Always ready with a laugh and a smile Jim was very active in the Shriners and other organizations in LaGrange County. But as of about three years ago Jim’s life took a dramatic and painful turn.

 In September of 2009, Jim wasn’t feeling well and after a few blood tests he was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia. After four months of chemotherapy it was decided he should try for a bone marrow transplant and for that he needed to be in Indianapolis.

 “After the transplant was successful and the cancer was in remission, we breathed a sigh of relief,” explained his wife of 44 years, Sharon.

Their relief was short-lived as Jim succumbed to another disease resulting from his transplanted cells attacking his normal cells, a disease known as Graft-vs-Host disease. Instead of Jim’s body rejecting the graft, the graft was attacking his body.

 The treatment for the new disease was massive doses of steroids and numerous drug combinations that produced toxic results. Dealing with one medical crisis after another, Jim closed his office. He worked for a short time at Shipshewana Insurance Agency — but eventually even that became too much for him. As a professional courtesy, the agency sends the family a check monthly as a referral fee for his old clients that switched to their agency. But nothing could touch the inevitable financial catastrophe.

Home foreclosure

 After foreclosure proceedings began,” Sharon said, “we did not know what we were going to do. Jim was in a hospital bed healing from his hip replacement (resulting from a fall). He couldn’t manage stairs and he was rapidly losing his eyesight, another side effect of the drugs.”  

Sharon works at Sturgis Bank and Trust in Sturgis, Mich. She had to make sure she remained employed to try to stave off foreclosure. Sharon asked herself, how were they going to manage?

Their daughter Jenny and her husband Troy Barker live next door with their two children. Jennifer cut her work hours so she could stay home and look after her father while Sharon worked. But Jennifer and Troy were planning on taking an even greater leap of faith. They put their home on the market. It sold immediately.

 They bought another single level home just down the road outside LaGrange. This home had a large out building which, with a little elbow grease, could easily be converted into a comfortable cottage for Jim and Sharon.

Now neighbors, including Bill Grant and others, are helping remodel the cottage for Jim and Sharon to move in.

 “Jim and I go way back,” Grant said.” We both go to The Calvary Chapel in Stroh and he is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. Another thing, he is so upbeat. He is fighting this awful disease and one set-back after another coming at him. I have never heard a single ‘Oh woe is me’ come out of him. He is the eternal optimist.”

 Grant said Jim is that way at home as well. “You know how sometimes people lash out at the ones they love because they think they are allowed,” Grant said. “Well Jim isn’t like that — he is always positive and encouraging. He is a real fighter.”

 Duane Targgart of Wolcottville has known Jim for 20 years. They are members of the Shriner’s Chanter Singers. “We perform at Shrine events and a couple of nursing homes,” Targgart said. “We sing for the joy of singing and I miss him. Jim is always fun to be around and he is a man of strong faith. I was an only child and Jim has become the brother I never had.”

Terry and Susan Heavilon are old friends of the Norris family. “Terry is Jim’s fraternity brother from their days at Indiana University,” said Susan in a call from Florida. “We see each other every year. We stopped up to visit with them before we drove south this year. Jim is such an inspiration; he is so positive.”

 Susan told Terry she felt she could not justify ever complaining about anything that happens to her after witnessing all of the terrible things that have beset Sharon and Jim and yet they maintain their positive attitude. Jim is a man of strong faith and they are sure he will come out on top.

 For more information on the auction and breakfast, call Bob Meeks (260) 463-3198.

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cat beaten to death in burglary

    A house cat was found beaten to death following a burglary at a home in Howe Sunday.

    July 21, 2014

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • GN140719 obit mcdaniel Jeanine M. McDaniel OSCEOLA — Jeanine M. McDaniel, 61, died Thursday afternoon at Elkhart Hospice House. She was born Feb. 16, 1953 in Noble County, to Everett and Nyra Lucille (Reynolds) McDaniel. Surviving are two sisters, Patty (William) Wray, Paducah, Ky. and Bever

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140718 Rosalie Bontrager senior fair queen.jpg Bontrager wins senior queen title

    Rosalie Bontrager was crowned senior fair queen at the grandstand at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Friday morning, July 18, 2014.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Official: Malaysian plane shot down over Ukraine

    KIEV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian official said a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country.

    July 17, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results