Durand community hosts "Pizza Man" benefit dinner for Papa Joe's owner battling cancer

DURAND (WJRT) (11/10/19) - A mid-Michigan business owner known for his generosity in the community is fighting a life threatening illness that's left him unable to work.

On Saturday night, his community is returning his kindness with some of their own.

"This is not John asking for help. This is the community coming together to help John," Bob Hooper said. Hooper has been friends with the owner since second grade.

The business owner's name is John Bost, but people in Durand know him as 'John the Pizza Man' and the owner of 'Papa Joe's.'

Bost was diagnosed with lung cancer this past April. Bills have started to pile up, so the Durand community is rising to the occasion as he battles the disease.

"I had never been sick my entire life. I had always joked with the nurses that everything going through this process that I had saved it all up at once," Bost said.

Back in April, Bost felt like he had pneumonia-like symptoms. After visiting an after-hours clinic in Durand, he found out it was something much worse: an 11 millimeter large tumor in his upper right lung.

"It was a stage IIIB cancer. I didn't have much hope for living much longer, but through my family and the community, and everybody rallying around behind me, slowly but surely, I started getting a little stronger, putting on some weight, and fighting it," Bost said.

Just a month and a half ago, Bost went for his last CT scan, and learned the tumor had shrunk and his cancer is now in remission.

"It's unbelievable what had happened. It really is. He's not out of the woods. He's not cured, but it's really good news for him, for me, and for all of us," Hooper said.

Despite the great news, Bost still hasn't been able to work and collect a pay check. On Saturday night, his friends and family hosted a benefit dinner at the Durand Eagles Club to help pay his bills and get him back up on his feet.

The event included pasta dinner, silent auctions, 50-50 drawings, and live entertainment in hopes of raising as much as $10,000.

"When I told him that we were going to do this, I told him that he didn't have any choice in it. He could say, 'No,' but we were still going to do it, so he might as well come along for the right because he's that kind of guy. He's very self-reliant, independent, and doesn't ask for help," Hooper said.

Thankfully, the cancer is not growing right now, but the support continues to spread throughout the community.

Bost says he has to keep an eye on it and return back in January for a follow-up CT scan.

He says by this time next year, he hopes to be back at work 'slinging pies' and hopes to pay it forward by hosting a fundraiser for someone else in need.

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