Today, Tom and Renee Tash of Dover-Foxcroft are scheduled to meet with doctors at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to help determine the best course of treatment for Tom, who was diagnosed recently with colon cancer, which has spread to his liver.
Life has not been easy lately for the couple and their 14-year-old son, Trevor.
In 2009, they lost Renee’s mother to ovarian cancer and then, this summer, Tom realized he was feeling a bit more tired than usual and in some pain, “thinking he had pulled a muscle,” Renee told me. The family found themselves facing the difficult reality of cancer once again.
Since his diagnosis, Tom, 41, has been receiving treatment at Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer and has been able to continue working part time, when he feels up to it, as an oil delivery driver for McKusick Petroleum of Dover-Foxcroft.
Tom and Renee, who is a substance abuse counselor for Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston, are extremely grateful to their employers for the consideration they have received, both last year and this year, Renee said, as they face these unexpected life challenges.
“We’ve had our share of crises lately, and they’ve been wonderful to us,” she said of their respective employers.
They are thankful, as well, for all the support they’ve received from family, friends, fellow employees, neighbors and community members who are doing what they can to help.
“Words can’t describe it,” Renee said.
“We greatly appreciate it. All the help and support just keeps us going. It’s unbelievable.”
Among the many efforts to help the family with the additional expenses such an illness can incur are two fundraisers organized by friends and employees of McKusick Petroleum.
A baked bean supper and silent auction to benefit the Tom Tash Family will be held 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at the American Legion Hall on Park Street in Dover-Foxcroft.
Admission is by donation, and the event will include a silent auction with a multitude of donated items.
The other major fundraiser is a raffle, with the drawing to be held Nov. 19.
Tootie Bennett reports that tickets are $3 each or two for $5 and can be purchased at McKusick Petroleum, Monument Square Shell, Bears Den Restaurant, Mountain’s Market, Modern Image Hair Salon and Wild Monkey Hair Salon, all in Dover-Foxcroft; at Riverside Shell in Guilford, at Harmon’s Shell in Milo and at John-son’s Burner Services in Harmony.
The prizes include two tickets to University of Maine men’s ice hockey games, one against the University of Massachusetts on Dec. 12 and the other against Boston College on Jan. 16, both at Alfond Arena in Orono and donated by the UMaine athletic department.
Among the other prizes are a Flexcon well pressure tank with a fitting package donated by Blake Equipment, a lobster and steak dinner donated by employees of McKusick Petroleum and a quilt donated by Bev Kaufman.
The raffle also includes a muzzleloader and pack basket with ice fishing traps donated by Mountain’s Market; two cords of cut and split wood to be delivered within a 20-mile radius of Dover-Foxcroft, and 14 yards of gravel and 14 yards of loam, all donated by Flint Construction; a gift certificate to Nor’easter Restaurant do-nated by Seth Ostrosky; a gift certificate to the Bears Den Restaurant, a $100 gas card donated by McKusick Petroleum, a $30 gift certificate to Abel Blood’s Pub Restaurant and two dried floral wreaths donated by Carmen Smith of Carmen’s Greenhouse in Dover-Foxcroft.
Despite the diagnosis, both Renee and Tootie said that Tom’s attitude remains optimistic and positive.
Tootie, who works with Tom at McKusick Petroleum, told me Tom is “one of the nicest, happiest employees any company could ask for.”
If you cannot attend the benefit or can’t get to the area to purchase raffle tickets, give Tootie or anyone at McKusick’s a call, at 564-2355, and they’ll be happy to give you more information.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; firstname.lastname@example.org; 990-8288.