James Earl and his wife, Linda, arrived at Caring House on the first day of June - the same day as their 48th wedding anniversary. “We’re here together to get her treatment. To take care of her. And to heal her,” says James Earl. Linda was diagnosed on May 25 with stage three lung cancer. James Earl tears up when he talks about it.
“Staying at Caring House has been one of the most wonderful things I have ever done in my life. There are so many people here that have welcomed us and shared their stories. That was the most important thing - it’s like we are surrounded by one big family. We talk about the cancer. We talk about the treatments. It gives us comfort.”
Cooking also brings James Earl comfort. On most days you can find him in the kitchen whipping up fresh peach ice cream, homemade pound cake or sautéing vegetables straight from his garden. He shares all of these treats with the entire house - guests, staff and volunteers alike. His acts of kindness have fostered an unprecedented amount of community giving within the house this summer.
Hallways once sparse and quiet now radiate with the buzz of friendly conversation. Guests take turns cooking meals for one another. There have even been dance lessons held in the Great Room!
Thus, “Cancer Camp 2021” was born - a name officially given to the group by Monica, a 26 year-old guest and fellow DCI patient from Snow Hill, NC. As Monica puts it, “if you have to be away from home you might as well be here making lifelong friends!” We couldn’t agree more. The Caring House staff will forever cherish the shared moments of laughter, fellowship and the best pound cake we have ever tasted from James Earl and the “Cancer Camp 2021” group.