As Bob’s step-son, Phillip Merrell, explained to iSurf News, “Following the diagnosis, he immediately started chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He went through 35 radiation treatments and one chemo treatment a week for 6 weeks. At the end of the treatment, the doctors told us that the cancer had started to shrink. In March of this year, after a visit to the oncologist, we were told the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. He started another round of chemo once every six weeks. In June, we were told the cancer had spread to front left lobe of his brain.”
From there, Phillip said that Bob started yet another round of radiation treatment. However, before finishing therapy, his physician abruptly stopped all treatments.
“The doctor said the fluid from his brain was dripping into his spine and had cancer in the fluid,” said Phillip.
At that point, Bob was placed in Hospice care and given 3 weeks to live.
“He isn't able to get out of the bed any more, and he is lucky if he can eat half a bowl of oatmeal a day,” said Phillip. “As a result of the radiation and the medicine that he is on, he is extremely swollen, and can hardly talk. When he begins talking, he loses his train of thought very easily.”
Before his cancer was found, Bob and his wife, Becky, were employees at Whirlpool until the business closed down. As of right now, Becky’s only income comes in the form of an unemployment check, said Phillip.
However, Phillip explained that he has come up with a possible solution to the financial burden the family will inevitably face, but they will need to the generous support of the community to reach their goals.
“I have opened a personal account at Integra Bank to handle the donations until I can get a tax identification number,” said Phillip. “I plan on having a memorial fund set up by the end of next week. It is going to be called the ‘Robert Rickabaugh Memorial Fund’.”
He added that, “The hospice nurse came in yesterday and said that Bob’s digestive system was starting to shut down and that it wouldn't be long before the rest of his body began to do the same. Right now, the services are looking to be around $6500, and his life insurance will not cover his death. So if anyone can help out in any way, it would mean a lot to us.”
“If anyone would like to donate between now and next Friday, October 1st, they can donate with a check. It will have to be made out to myself, but after that, it would be the ‘Robert Rickabaugh Memorial Fund,’” said Merrell.
Phillip Merrell’s address is 112 South Daves Street, Madisonville, KY, 42431 and the account he opened is currently at Integra Bank.
Again, any support that you can give to Bob, Phillip, and the rest of the family is greatly appreciated and will go a long way in supporting fellow members of our community.
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