Marion grad diagnosed with cancer

Has started chemo; has 88% survival rate

Staff writer

Watching a loved one suffer through cancer is tough for anyone, but it is especially hard on a mother watching her son, who is too young, struggle with cancer. That is what Mary Shipman is going through.

Her 27-year-old son, Jimmy Shipman, was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma in March.

Jimmy is a 2004 graduate of Marion High School and attended Tabor College on a football scholarship for two years. He met his wife, Micah, at Tabor. The two were married in 2008 and in 2012 adopted three children, before being blessed with one of their own a year later. The family currently lives in Clearwater.

Now with four kids under the age of 6, the family has to struggle to make room for another full time housemate, Jimmy’s cancer. This struggle will put Jimmy on leave from his job for several months while he receives chemotherapy treatments for the next six months. His first treatment was Friday, which Mary said went very well, but it’s too early to tell how his body will react to treatment.

Jimmy is receiving the maximum dose because his cancer is so advanced.

“Everyone is remaining optimistic,” Mary said. “He’s optimistic. He’s determined to beat this.”

With an 88 percent survival rate, all have high hopes for Jimmy’s recovery but know the road to get there is going to be rough. Mary said Jimmy’s greatest worry is losing his hair, particularly his facial hair.

“His kids have never seen him without a beard, and his wife has only seen him without it a couple of times. He’s worried his kids won’t recognize him,” Mary said.

A Facebook page, Jimmy’s Journey, has been set up to keep family and friends apprised on Jimmy’s condition, and a trust has been set up for the family through Homestead Bank in Clearwater for anyone who wants to donate toward medical costs.

Micah works at Beechcraft and received notice this week that she could be laid off as early as next week, causing the family to lose its medical insurance.

“It’s tough, but we’ll get through it,” Mary said. “We have gotten lots of support from family and friends, who have been very generous.”

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