The Southport community is showing strong support for Jean Miller, who is battling non-curable bone cancer.
Miller, a Roncalli alumna, has sons who attend Southport High School. Ben Miller, a senior, raised money in a fundraiser through his work at McAlister’s Deli on Shelby Street on April 26.
“When I see people I just ask for prayers and moral support,” Jean Miller said. “I have good insurance, but still a lot of medical bills are piling up right now.”
Ten percent of the proceeds from dining at McCalister’s went to Jean.
“I have been working here the past two years and my manager offered it to me,” Ben said. “At first I was hesitant because I didn’t know how my parents would be as far as privacy. I talked to my mom and she said it was a good idea.”
It was a different response from Jean when she had to fight cancer over a decade ago. In 2005 she started chemotherapy for Stage III breast cancer. It took 26 chemo sessions, but she was cancer-free in 2007.
“Since I’ve been through this before I now know to ask for help as soon as possible. Take the help when it’s offered,” Jean said. “Before if I worked someplace and they asked to do a fundraiser, I would have been like, ‘No, I’m fine.’ You’re not fine. You’re going to be debt up to your eyeballs.”
Jean worked nearly 31 years at the Downtown post office before having to stop with her diagnosis.
Ben was amazed at the support the dining event has received as students from Southport, Perry Meridian and Greenwood responded.
Ben, who played football at Southport and is in the National Honor Society, will be joining the military after graduation and is receiving support from there too.
“I’m enlisted in the Army and I’ll be leaving for basic,” he said. “My sergeant is over there, and he made a $400 catering order today.”
Ben recalls how the bone cancer was discovered during a trip to an archery range in March.
“Last month she felt a pain on her rib; she thought it was a strain because she went to an archery shoot. She couldn’t move so she went to the hospital and found it was Stage IV bone cancer ... in the liver, spine and her ribs.”
The tumor cannot be removed as Jean is on an experimental drug to keep the tumor from growing.
“There is nothing they can do to shrink it; all they can do is stop it from growing,” Ben said.
For further updates on Jean’s fight and a link to a recently created GoFundMe page, check out CaringBridge.org at www.caringbridge.org/visit/jeanmiller2.