PERU — Neal Young landed his dream job in April when the 28-year-old was hired as the head basketball coach at Goshen College.
Then earlier this month, he received devastating news.
After waking up one night and having a hard time breathing, Neal went to the doctor where he was told he had a kind of cancer called T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.
The cancer attacks the body’s lymph nodes and tears down the immune system.
Since then, Neal has started going to chemotherapy treatments once a week in Chicago.
Now, area residents are helping to raise money for Neal and his wife, Maggie, this Saturday during the Fear Not 5K run and fundraiser.
Maggie is a 2003 graduate of Maconaquah High School. She’s currently a first-grade teacher in Goshen. Her father, Dave Noonan, is the current principal at Maconaquah High School.
Event coordinator Jessie Myers said Neal and Maggie are staying positive despite the diagnosis. “They’re being very aggressive about fighting it,” she said, noting Neal was fortunate to discover the cancer early.
Myers said people 30 years old or younger diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma have a 70 percent survival rate. After 30, that number drops to 40 percent.
The 5k walk or run starts and finishes at Hometown Federal Credit Union, 151 N. Broadway, Peru. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and costs $30. The race begins at 9 a.m.
People can also bid on 40 items including Chicago Cubs tickets, Connor Prairie tickets or gift cards to local businesses during a silent auction from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Lunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for $5.
Myers said 40 people already have registered to run in the 5k, but she hopes to get at least 50 people participating in the event.
She said Goshen College will send volunteers to help man the fundraiser.
“Even if you’re not a runner or walker, come on out and rally around Neal and Maggie,” Myers said. ““They’re a cool couple.”
She said they named the fundraiser Fear Not because Neal’s favorite Bible verse comes from Isaiah 41:10, which says, “So do not fear, for I am with you.”
Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go: WHAT: 5K run/walk WHEN: 9 a.m. Saturday with 7:30 a.m. registration WHERE: Hometown Federal Credit Union, 151 N. Broadway in Peru COST: $30 WHY: To raise funds for cancer treatments for Neal Young