LAUREL, MS. (WDAM) - Mitch Mauldin of Jones County is a family man, avid sportsman, dog lover, barbecue master and business owner. He is also battling a rare type of bile duct cancer. Mauldin was diagnosed with the illness in December 2010.
"On December the tenth they performed an operation to try to remove the tumor and in my case they were successful," said Mauldin.
He then went through six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Later this May, Mauldin is heading back to Birmingham, Alabama for additional chemotherapy treatments.
While being treated at the hospital in Birmingham, Mauldin and his wife stayed at the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge. That facility shelters cancer patients and their families. The Mauldin's had other options in terms of where they could stay, but the couple enjoyed the support of fellow cancer patients.
"Most of those people I would say I think probably the majority of them I think would not be able to afford to stay out of town for six weeks for treatment had it not been for something like the Hope Lodge," explained Mauldin.
Funds to support the Hope Lodge are raised through the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life fundraiser. It's an event Mauldin believes in, due to his own cancer diagnosis.
Mauldin said, "Once you've been told that, you find out how big a need there is then you look for opportunities to try to help other people."
Relay for Life events are happening throughout the Pine Belt region this spring. For more information log onto www.relayforlife.org.