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Family’s faith strong for cancer fight

Katie Beth Case, a senior homecoming maid at Brookhaven Academy,was escorted Friday night by her brother Allen since their dad wasgetting ready for what could be the most important trip of hislife.

Mark Case, who has spindle cell sarcoma, travels to Houstontoday in preparation for his Wednesday surgery. While it’s only hiswife Lisa, herself a two-time cancer survivor, who is travelingwith him, his family has decided he definitely isn’t fighting thisfight alone.

The Case family has all thrown their hat in the ring on Mark’sside, said his older brother Steve. To assist with medicalexpenses, a fundraiser has been scheduled for Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. atExchange Club Park and will include gospel singing, barbecue andentertainment for the kids.

“Mark’s had cancer now for about a year and a half, and it’sbeen an ongoing, long, drawn-out deal, and the family just decidedto get together to get this up to try to help them out,” Stevesaid.

Steve said family members, besides leaning on each other forsupport, are looking to God to guide them through this difficulttime.

“The Bible says the fervent prayer of a faithful man availethmuch,” he said. “I believe in prayer and I think if it’s God’s willMark will be healed. And if it’s not, I tell God I hope he’llreconsider.”

Mark said it’s overwhelming to think of the lengths his familyis willing to go to to help him. He said sometimes the words justdon’t come when he sees how much they care about hiswell-being.

“Sometimes I just don’t know what to say when I’m around them,”he said. “You want to say thank you, it’s just that you don’t knowhow to say it. Every part of my family is behind this and they’regoing to make it as big as they can, and I just don’t know how todescribe it.”

In addition to family support, Lisa said, the Cases’ churchfamily at First Baptist Church have been on hand since Mark wasdiagnosed last year.

“Our church has been there from the very beginning, and they’vebeen there for us in many ways,” she said. “They’ve been prayerfuland giving and we’ve been blessed through not only our church butsurrounding churches in Lincoln County. They’re all praying andsending cards and whatever they can do.”

And the prayers will be concentrated toward Wednesday, whenMark’s brain surgery at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houstonwill hopefully provide a break in the long months oftreatments.

“What they’re doing, the surgery on is actually the left lowerpart of his brain, but there’s also a mass in his chest,” saidSteve. “They’re afraid of putting him to sleep locally or inJackson, and at M.D. Anderson, they say they can do it and wereally don’t have any choice.”

And Lisa said in the trips to M.D. Anderson, they’ve found acomfort and a home. She said she and Mark feel like God hasdirected them to just exactly the place that can help Mark with hiscondition.

“We felt we were led there because everything fell into place,”she said. “One we met with the surgeon, we felt good about it.”

Mark and Lisa will be able to return to their family after thesurgery, as well. Lisa said the post-operation radiation treatmentscan be done in Jackson, which she said is a great relief.

Meanwhile, the Cases said the most important feeling in theirhearts, besides the faith that God will do His will, is thegratefulness they have to the friends and family that havesustained them all throughout the Brookhaven and Lincoln Countycommunity.

“It’s such a blessing to be a part of a town that’s so caring,with so many people who have been there for us,” said Lisa. “Thisseems just like an extended family, and we have people praying fromall over the country. The best part is that we just know that whenpeople say they’re praying for you they really are and they meanit.”

Mark said with everything as busy as it can be coordinatingplans for travel and treatment, as well as everyday life, he can’tsay enough about the blessings he’s received from the people who goout of their way to show him their love and God’s.

“I’m sure we’ve forgotten to send some thank-you notes, but Ireally hope everyone will know how much we love them and howgrateful we are for their prayers and support,” he said.

Tickets for the Oct. 18 benefit are available at Case’sGrocery.