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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 21, 2011

Stricken with cancer
John Bushnell’s family hosts dinner to raise funds

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — A year after finding out he had lung cancer, John Bushnell was diagnosed with brain cancer last month, so his family and friends hope to raise money to help pay some of his medical bills, which have been piling up with his ongoing treatment.

The fund-raising dinner will take place at the Maple Inn in East Berne, beginning at 8 p.m. this Saturday, July 23. There is currently no set ending time for the event.

Bushnell, now 56, owes the discovery of his lung cancer to an incident that occurred back in 1992.

“I was in a logging accident that damaged my insides,” Bushnell told The Enterprise. “They had to take parts of the intestines out back then. And it came back, last August 31.”

During the intestinal surgery last September, the doctors found a tumor on his lung. He underwent chemotherapy from November 2010 through this past March, and returned to work for Berne’s highway department.

But last month, “things went to hell,” Bushnell said.

“I went back in, and they determined that it did go to my brain,” he said. “I’m still getting treatments, and there are two different specialists; each one has their own team. I was being treated with chemotherapy for 16 weeks. Now, it’s radiation therapy, and that’s probably another five or six weeks, and then I get switched to a different team.”

He concluded, “The goal isn’t to save my life, it’s to give me as long a life as I can, and be as close to comfortable for as long as I can.”

This weekend’s benefit will help fund the process.

“It’s a potluck kind of thing,” said Bushnell’s daughter, Heather Schwenk. “Somebody’s bringing ziti; someone’s bringing sweet and sour franks; meatballs; chicken and rice; there are going to be desserts,” and all additions to the menu are welcome, she said.

But despite the nature of the dinner this weekend, Bushnell just wants to have a good time with whoever shows up, and to show his appreciation to those who have supported him, and will support him in the future.

“I appreciate, with the economy the way it is nowadays, that people are willing to do things like this for me; I wish I could do it for them,” Bushnell said. “The biggest thing is everything that’s on my mind, like financial stuff. I can’t do anything right now. Can’t drive; can’t work; can’t do anything.”

He’s taking it one step at a time. The next step is Saturday’s dinner.

“It’s a lot better now than it was,” Bushnell said. “The pain — I was pretty much a cripple when I went in; now I can walk.”

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