GREENUP A Greenup non-profit organization is raising funds during “No Shave November” to be donated to the medical expenses of a 29-year-old terminal Greenup man battling cancer.
Jerrid Clarke, 29, and his wife, Jasmine, 27, have been happily together for 10 years. The couple have two beautiful daughters together — Ella, 2, and Jaylah, 5. The Greenup family spends their time taking adventures, camping, crafting and finding ways to make lasting memories throughout what are expected to be the final days of Jerrid Clarke’s life.
Jerrid Clarke is diagnosed with glioblastoma, a rare form of cancer, and is terminal.
“The life expectancy of glioblastoma is about two years,” said Jasmine Clarke. “He was diagnosed last December.” Jerrid Clarke went through radiation, chemotherapy and clinical trials. Now, his treatments have ended, and he’s focused on the time he has remaining and spending it with his family.
Jerrid Clarke said, for him, it’s best not to think about how close he’s getting to the end of his life and is focusing on making memories that will last in the hearts and minds of his two young daughters.
The family owns a camper, and they spend a lot of their time camping together.
“We spend a lot of time at home, just watching movies and playing games with the kids; we do a lot of crafts with them and cook with them a lot,” said Jasmine Clarke. “It’s hard to get him out. He’s declined. He can’t do things he used to do, so we just do what we can at home.”
Jerrid Clarke found out about his cancer after having a seizure at work on Aug. 10 of last year. He woke up at a hospital in Lexington and was informed he had a tumor on his brain that required immediate surgery.
“They sampled the tumor and it turned out to be cancer,” said Jerrid Clarke. “It’s glioblastoma.”
Glioblastoma is a rare form of cancer, with fewer than 200,000 United States cases per year, according to information by the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s not common for people my age,” said Jerrid Clarke.
“It’s the deadliest cancer,” said Jasmine Clarke.
Jerrid Clarke did have medical insurance, which the family said has covered a chunk of their medical expenses, however, they still have co-pay costs and medication costs, and will ultimately need to cover the expense of Jerrid Clarke’s funeral.
That’s when a local non-profit organization intervened and began raising funds for the Clarke family. RiseAbove Greenup has been participating in “No Shave November” for four years now, said director Aaron Montgomery.
Montgomery said there are five families that RiseAbove Greenup is raising funds for, however, the Clarke family is the only family local to Greenup County.
“We’ve got about $1,500 in already,” Montgomery said. “Most families were somehow connected to the people of RiseAbove. As a group we put it out there, and so many came back and referred the Clarke family.”
Scott Robinson, a board member with RiseAbove Greenup, grew up in Martin County. Robinson lost his mother to lung cancer and his father to pancreatic cancer, so the mission of “No Shave November” was particularly significant to him.
“‘No Shave November’ is usually around fighting another type of cancer, but for me it’s bigger than that,” said Robinson. “This is whatever we can do to help someone fighting cancer.”
“You don’t realize how much people do care, until you’re just ... you’re here,” said Jerrid Clarke. “You don’t realize how great your life is until it’s given an expiration date.”
“No one fights alone,” said Montgomery. “Having the community come together to prove that is important.”
“I couldn’t do this without family and friends and our community,” said Jerrid Clarke, then turning to his tearful wife. “But all that aside, I’d probably be dead if it wasn’t for her. There is no other woman that’s done more than her. She carries our family on her back every day. She’s a rock. I can’t do it without her.”
“We went to bed and he was fine,” said Jasmine Clarke. “Then one day he wasn’t. Cancer sucks. Don’t take your life for granted.”
The Clarke family said they will continue to make memories and hopes their story will spread awareness on glioblastoma.
“I think people should research cancer and get checked regularly,” said Jasmine Clarke. “Jerrid was healthy as a horse; all these years I think he went to the doctor once, and it was for a kidney stone.”
To donate to the Clarke family and the RiseAbove Greenup “No Shave November Campaign,” people are urged to send checks payable to RiseAbove Greenup to 616 Perry Street, Greenup, KY 41144. Donors can also PayPal the non-profit at Paypal.me/RiseAboveGreenup or participate in their Text-to-Give Campaign by texting (606) 244-0696.