Keeping spirits alive

Raissa Tetanish
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Family, friends come together to throw benefit for cancer patient

AMHERST - At the age of 37, Lynn Bristol was told she has six months to a year to live.

That was eight months ago and Bristol said she thinks they're wrong.

"I'm too stubborn to give up," she said.

Just over a year ago, Bristol was diagnosed with primary liver cancer, and it's been all downhill from there she said.

"I was told that it moved into my kidney and then my colon," she said, adding radiation didn't help.

"The radiation made things worse. I now have no immune system whatsoever."

Bristol said the diagnosis came after normal visits to her doctor, who then started sending her for blood work more frequently.

Once she was told she had cancer, another test came back that said she didn't - she then asked to see a specialist who told her right away that, yes, she did have the deadly disease.

"Before I was diagnosed, I weighed 222 pounds. I'm down to 113 now. I take 16 different medications every day - taking 14 in the morning, eight at lunch, 22 at supper and another four at bedtime.

"I'm not doing very good. I don't have many good days anymore and I sleep about 20 hours a day."

Because she's been through so much at such a young age, her family and friends are putting the final touches on a benefit for her this Sunday.

Henry Treadwell is one of the organizers of the event, after knowing Bristol for years.

"When I heard she was diagnosed with cancer, it was so sad because she's such a young woman," Treadwell said. "I was shocked really."

Having been involved with benefits for a while, Treadwell knows it's a time for people to put their hearts out there and leave their own problems behind.

For Bristol, it's been surprising the amount of support that's already been received for the benefit, especially from the musicians and businesses donating their time and products.

Because Bristol hasn't been working since shortly after the diagnosis, all monies raised will be used for travel to and from doctors appointments and prescription medications. The prescriptions themselves have been costing Bristol between $1,700 and $1,800 each month.

The benefit begins at 2 p.m. at the Elm Tree on Feb. 21, and goes into the evening. Seven bands will be performing throughout the evening, including Ed Cooke, Bruce Gibson, and the Three Amigos.

There will be a number of items up for grabs in a silent auction, and money to be won through 50/50 draws.

Donations will be collected at the door.

Anyone wishing to donate can contact either Treadwell at 667-1545, or Bristol's mother-in-law, Dorothy Parker, at 661-0797.

Geographic location: Bristol, AMHERST, Elm Tree

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