Bunco benefit for South Hill family

Facing the uncertainties of Stage 4 prostate cancer, one South Hill family is trying clinical trials in hopes for a cure.

The Ladies of the Lake Cancer Support Team are holding a Bunco benefit to help them make it through.

Yuell and Evelyn Chandler, originally from Hawaii, moved to South Hill last year to live with family because, according to Evelyn, health treatment in Hawaii was putting her husband at risk and because they could no longer pay the bills.

Yuell, who was formerly in engineering and manufacturing, was also a mentor for Hawaiian students, according to his wife. He was unavailable for comment because he was suffering from the aftereffects of his treatment during the interview.

Evelyn, who was diagnosed 10 years ago with a benign acoustic tumor very close to her brain stem, said because of the health system in Hawaii, the family paid for most of her treatment out of pocket, and it left them in dire straits.

“So we ended up in California to have my tumor removed,” Evelyn said. “Whatever savings we had were used for my surgery. The succeeding years were not enough to recover from debts.”

When Yuell was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January of 2015, Evelyn commented that she and her husband received no help. They were on a fixed income and doctors in Hawaii were not doing all that could be done for Yuell.

“We wouldn’t have survived there,” Evelyn said. “My sister-in-law has been very good to us.”

According to Evelyn, Yuell took radiation treatments, and while his tumors stopped spreading during the treatment, after the treatment they once again became active.

She said now, because Yuell’s cancer is already in Stage 4 there’s not much doctors can do locally, but Johns Hopkins Hospital is holding clinical trials for a new chemotherapy that Yuell is qualified for.

She said he recently took his first treatment and, fortunately, there was no allergic reaction, although he did experience side effects.

“This is the tryout,” she said. “Every person has different side effects, so I’m watching him very carefully.”

While the clinical trial may save Yuell’s life, the cost of travel and staying overnight in Baltimore is once again putting a strain on the family finances.

“We have to go to Johns Hopkins for 12 weeks of treatment,” she said. “After 12 weeks they will do other tests to see how he’s responded. After 12 weeks, if there is no other extreme reaction he will continue with the study… It’s hard because he still has to fight.”

Evelyn said she and Yuell are grateful for everyone who is helping them during this trying time in their lives.

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” she said through the tears. “I’m just trying to be strong. The financial side is getting us down. We’re wondering what to do. The airfare and other expense of moving — it’s piling up and piling up.”

The benefit Bunco for Yuell and Evelyn will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Central Rescue Squad Building at 5736 Gasburg Road, Gasburg, Va. For more information and to make contributions email ladieslkg@gmail.com.