Long-time Brazos County juvenile probation officer Gary Bollinger was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer earlier this year. He hasn't been able to work since he began undergoing aggressive treatment at Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center. Now, his colleagues are coming together to help a co-worker in need.
Two-year-olds Ethan, Callie, and Caleb are the apple of Gary Bollinger's eyes.
Raising triplets keeps Gary and his wife Bonnie quite busy.
The couple had no idea they would face a challenge much larger.
"I'm just real tired all the time," Gary Bolllinger said.
In May, Gary's life changed, when he noticed a lump on his shoulder.
"It's no big deal it's just this little lump on my shoulder," Bollinger said. "But then as the tests started getting more and more intensive and I met more and more doctors it got pretty surreal to me."
After a battery of tests, doctors diagnosed Gary with Epithelioid Sarcoma, a very rare, aggressive form of cancer.
By the time doctors found it, the cancer had already spread to his lungs.
"They told me the day I was diagnosed with it that I was going to be out of work six months," Bollinger said. "She told me right then it would be chemo, radiation, then surgery."
Gary is now undergoing chemotherapy at MD Anderson in Houston.
Each treatment requires him to stay there for several days, away from his children and Bonnie.
"Our main goal is to keep their lives as normal and stable as possible but it's hard when he's gone," Bonnie Bollinger said.
And when he is at home, it's also a struggle. Gary is unable to hold the triplets or really play with them.
"My kids are turning two August 14," Gary Bollinger said. "It's not like they're six and wondering where's daddy for four days, why is daddy so sick, or this and that. I'll be done and this will be out of my life before they even know it even happened."
And Gary is sticking with the power of positive thinking. He says he's not concerned about battling the disease.
"It's a very serious thing, but it's going to go away," Bollinger said. "I'm not worried about it."
Friends of Gary Bollinger are hosting a fund raising hamburger lunch on Friday, August 4.
It will take place at the Brazos Center Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Tickets are $5 and delivery is available for ten or more plates.
For more information contact Linda Ricketson at 979-823-3544.