GOSHEN — When Gary Fisher was diagnosed with a disease that has no known cure, he had to take time off from work to get the necessary treatment and fight against illness that has no known cure.
Now his daughters, who saw him provide for his family over the course of their life, want to give back.
Jules Boutique and Salon J, both located at 130 S. Main St., are putting together a fundraising event Saturday, August 9, at Bosco’s Place, 117 S. 5th St. in Goshen, and in the alley behind Main Street, between Lincoln Avenue and Washington Street.
Summer Fashion Show
Where: The show will be held at Bosco’s Place
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9
Who: Salon J and Jules Boutique are organizing the event
What: The event will include a hog roast, a cash bar and a silent auction.
Why: Proceeds from the show and silent auction will go to help pay for Gary Fisher’s medical bills
Cost: $5 admission for the fashion show
The proceeds from the event will go to help pay medical bills for Fisher, who was diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis in February. Fisher is the father of Salon J’s owner, Julia Herschberger.
Fisher, 58, of Goshen, started feeling sick in December — as if he had the flu — but his limbs were also swollen, said Lisa Fisher Lewallen, one of Fisher’s daughters.
Fisher didn’t get better. A couple of months later, after a series of analyses, he was diagnosed with Amyloidosis, which is a rare blood disease that can affect different organs in different people. There is no cure for Amyloidosis, but there is treatment that can help manage the symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.
Doctors told Fisher’s family that he is the youngest person to have been diagnosed with Amyloidosis.
Fisher was taken to Indianapolis, where he went through a cell transplant process in April. Now, Fisher is going through sessions of chemotherapy and taking a heavy load of medication to keep his level of amyloid proteins under control.
In some ways the treatment Fisher has received is similar to treatment cancer patients receive, Arlene Long, one of his daughters, said. The cost of the surgery and treatment is hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Aside from the fundraiser, the family has set up an account at youcaring.com for donations to help pay for Fisher’s medical bills.
Because he is still in recovery and because of ongoing treatment, Fisher hasn’t been able to go back to work – something that has taken an emotional toll on he and the family.
“He had his own construction business,” Long said. “That’s pretty much how I remember life growing up, it was him doing construction.”
In the last few years and just before he was diagnosed, Fisher was working for Show Hauler in Middlebury.
Fisher and his wife, Teri, raised 11 children, and both parents worked hard to support their family, Lisa Fisher Lewallen said.
His inability to work and the subsequent fundraising efforts to help have been something hard for Fisher to swallow, his daughters said.
“He is a very hard worker. A humble, spiritual man, so it has been hard for him to accept the help, instead of giving the help,” said Christy Havens, one of Fisher’s daughters.
"We were always the ones who came to him asking for help. Now dad can’t help“ Long added. ”Now it’s our turn to help him.“
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez on Twitter at @Sharon_HT