Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local 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
Local News
  • Hanna Zook A.jpg 9 vie for Distinguished Young Women title MIDDLEBURY — Nine contestants will be competing in Middlebury’s Distinguished Young Women program, formerly known as Middlebury’s Junior Miss program.The theme for this year is “Shine Your Way” and the program will be held at the Northridge High Scho

    July 31, 2014 9 Photos

  • GN140731 Old fashioned farming days 00070.jpg Shipshewana hosts “Old Fashion Farming Days” SHIPSHEWANA — What began 10 years ago as a small exhibition of six or seven farming items dating from the 1800s and 1900s has grown into a yearly festival celebrating the unique histories of more than 400 pieces of antique faming equipment.According

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS GN0731 boys and girls club 01 Boys & Girls Club seeking $1.4M to expand GOSHEN — The Goshen Boys & Girls Club is a bustling place.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • BIZ GN0730 Growing kids daycare image New day care center will open in August GOSHEN — There’s a Main Street in downtown Goshen and now there’s another, shorter Main Street in Goshen. The new road is located inside the new Growing Kids Learning Center.The newly-built center is located at Elkhart Road and C.R. 17. The day care

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140730 Spore mug Child's death prompts carbon monoxide awareness SYRACUSE — In the wake of the carbon monoxide poisoning death of 12-year-old Skyler Spore, the Syracuse community is raising awareness about the dangers of the deadly gas.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS GN140730 stormwater board Orchard annexation gets $500,000 boost Stormwater board increases contribution toward $7.5 million project

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140730 city council summit 01 Street chief says more money needed to avoid cutting services GOSHEN — The last year has been a particularly rough one for the Goshen Street Department, and the budget for 2015 is likely going to reflect much of that pain in the form of a significant increase in funding requests.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jace Michael Mast TOPEKA — Jace Michael Mast, infant son of Earl and Esther (Lambright) Mast of Topeka, was stillborn at 9:40 p.m. Monday at Dupont Hospital, Fort Wayne. In addition to his parents, he is survived by a brother, Evan Wade Mast, at home; grandparents, Ri

    July 29, 2014

  • nipsco property Construction to close N. Fifth St. for most of a year

    GOSHEN — Motorists who use North Fifth Street should plan to find a new route for the coming year. Monday the Goshen Board of Works and Safety members accepted bids for a North Fifth Street reconstruction project from Clinton Street to Crescent Stree

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • SLIDESHOW: Pets of the Week Cats and dogs looking for loving homes at the Humane Society of Elkhart County. These are the final days of the HSEC's July special: adopt in July and receive 25 percent off your adoption fee for dogs and cats under 5 years old or 50 percent off those 5-years-old or better.

    July 29, 2014 11 Photos

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.
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA