PERRY, Ga. — Before he got his cancer diagnosis, James Pike led a career of helping others. In November, the Army veteran and former Houston County firefighter was no longer able to work, leaving them in a financial bind.
"We only dated for like a month before we got married. He was leaving, so if I wanted to be with him, we had to be married for me to be able to go with him," Brittany Pike said about meeting her husband James.
In their now-12-year marriage, "in sickness and in health" is the vow the couple are living.
"He had a lymph node starting to appear here and it was just a little pea-size, and over the course of a weekend, it grew to golf ball-sized," she said about her husband’s health.
She says the Army veteran and former Houston county firefighter started with an itch and then he got to the point of fatigue and losing weight, ultimately being diagnosed with stage II lymphoma cancer.
"It didn’t show up on bloodwork, it didn't show up anywhere. Eventually, we had a biopsy done and had it tested, and in January, we got his diagnosis,” she explained.
With two children and James no longer able to be the sole provider, the couple ran out of savings in February and decided to make a GoFundMe account, raising more than $3,000 of their $15,000 goal.
"Honestly, most of that comes from the community, people we don’t know, just me sharing on social media and so forth," she said.
Now that James' chemotherapy may end as early as July, she says he's in good spirits and they couldn’t have done it without the community proving true to being #HoustonCountyStrong.
“It is nice to know that there's people out there that they’ll just take your word for it and help you just because they know they’re trying to help someone. I mean, it is nice, for sure," she said.
The couple says they’re not out of the woods just yet. They’re still asking for help with bills while James undergoes chemotherapy until July. You can donate to their GoFundMe account.