JAY — In times of trouble, families pull together. At least that’s what a large family from the Jay-Wilton area is doing.

Since February when her uncle Gary Fitch was diagnosed with lung cancer, Jen Fitch and other family members have worked together holding bottle drives and putting out cans for donations to help him and his family with expenses, she said.

The family has a large benefit planned for this Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Amvets Hall in Jay. A spaghetti supper from 5 to 7 p.m., a silent and regular auction of over 40 items including cords of wood, a snowblower and other donated items and topping the evening, a dance from 8 to 12 p.m. featuring the local band “Crash Road.”

Tickets for the dance are being sold in advance at My Dad’s Place in North Jay and Motor Supply in Livermore Falls or can be purchased from Jen Fitch by calling her at 860-0280 or 897-9250.

Gary Fitch, who has lived in Jay for the past six years, grew up in Wilton, one of seven boys and two girls. He drove a truck until this illness put him out of work last winter, she said.

Surgery removed the upper lobe of his left lung and since then he has undergone aggressive rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, recently finishing a second round of chemotherapy, she said. Now, he’s receiving blood transfusions to help him recover from the treatments.

This benefit will help pay medical bills and travel expenses as he still travels to Lewiston twice a week for blood draws and transfusions, she said.

While his employer pays part of his insurance, the family has tried to raise funds so that his wife, Amy, who’s now supporting the household including two youngsters, doesn’t have to think about that, she said. Through his illness, he has had no income to help with the bills, she said.

“It’s been an emotionally rough ride but we’re a big family pulling together,” Jen said.

The chemotherapy has been too close for tests to reveal his prognosis at this point. Something a later scan will reveal, she said.

Meanwhile, Fitch, an aunt and cousin, are planning on Saturday night to help.

“There’s been an unbelievable response,” she said. “We’re very grateful.”

Everything for the meal, all kinds of stuff to go with spaghetti, has been donated, she said. The band is donating their performance as her boyfriend, Jay Becker, plays lead guitar and over 40 items have been donated for the auctions.

Donations for the meal will be accepted at the door but tickets for the dance must be pre-purchased, $15/single, $20/couple, she said.

More information is available on Fitch’s benefit page on Facebook by logging in and searching Gary Fitch Benefit.

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