Vicco community aids local diagnosed with cancer

Cris Ritchie — Editor

November 4, 2013

It was only two months ago when Russell Eldridge’s life changed and he learned that he had developed a form of cancer. It is a disease for which he is currently undergoing treatments, but those treatments are coming with a cost both physically and financially.

He recently attempted to take out a loan local with a local finance company to help offset the cost of traveling back and forth to Lexington for treatments. But, as he said, he was turned down on account of his diagnosis.

“They wouldn’t loan me the money,” he said, saying the company was afraid he might die before he was able to repay the money.

A former employee with the city of Vicco, Eldridge discussed his situation with Mayor Johnny Cummings and employees at City Hall. He said the response was quick that the city would help out in a community effort to raise funds to help Eldridge with his treatments. That effort culminated in an event on Monday as a portion of City Hall was transformed into a make-shift kitchen, where volunteers sold soup bean dinners with the proceeds going to Eldridge.

“He has to go back and forth to Lexington (for treatment), and frankly, he can’t afford to have someone take him back and forth and stay down there,” explained Lana Rose, who volunteered during the dinner sale on Monday. “He needed a little help.”

Eldridge said it was a good feeling to receive such an outpouring of support from the community in Vicco, a community he has called home since the age of 10.

“It feels great,” he said. “This is the only bunch that’s ever helped me do anything in my life.”

Monday’s effort was simply for a good cause, added city commissioners Lula Gibson and Claude Branson, who both applauded Mayor Cummings for his willingness to help.

“We support him (Cummings) with every decision that he makes, and it’s not just him,” Gibson said. “If anybody else in the community needed help, we’d do the same thing for them.”