BURRTON — Looking at the list of events for the Burrton Hometown Christmas this weekend, a listing for "craft vendors" might not stick out — it is, after all, competing with a visit from Santa Claus, snacks with the man in red and a visit to his workshop.
But one booth should stand out, operated by Bobbie Bascue. She won't be keeping any of the money spent at her booth Saturday — it will all be donated to Richard Bingham's family. Bingham is in the middle of a cancer fight.
"The booth will be filled with donated items from my friends and family, with the proceeds going to the Richard Bingham family," Bascue said. "All the items will be sold for donations."
For a little more than five years, Richard Bingham, 67, of Burrton, delivered The Hutchinson News. He drove through rain and snow, happily delivering the early morning papers. Then on Jan. 29, 2018, his life changed when he found out he had colon and kidney cancer.
“It was a shock to us,” said Linda Bingham, Richard’s wife of 45 years. “He has to have medicine every other week.”
Operations to remove the cancer were not totally successful, and in February, Bingham nearly died. In 2018, he was hospitalized six times.
He had a biopsy in June 2019, and his cancer had spread to his stomach.
"Richard has four specialists, one of whom is an infectious disease doctor. They have been making twice-weekly trips to Newton for his chemotherapy and CT scans, and Wichita for PET scans," Bascue said. "He will stay on the medication indefinitely. Richard's medication costs them over $300 a month, and as of the beginning of 2019, they had over $7,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses."
Along with the mounting bills being paid off — including a $7,000 chemotherapy bill — Richard wants to make sure Linda is taken care of after he is gone. He has a bucket list, and everything on it is to make her life comfortable. He wants to make sure the trees are trimmed, the garage door opens and the lawnmower is fixed.
“He’s my world. He was a big bear that has the biggest heart,” Linda said. “He wouldn’t ask people for anything, but we need help.”
The couple has three married children, Wanda, Richard and Shirley, and one grandson.
On Oct. 22, Richard was admitted to St. Francis Hospital because his blood counts were low. He learned he had an infection and started running a fever. On Nov. 21, Richard came home to Burrton utilizing hospice care.
"He wanted to be home with him wife, Linda; and be close to his children, Wanda, Shirley and Richard Jr.," Bascue said.
Bascue hosted a pancake feed, at the behest of her grandson, a week ago to begin fundraising efforts. That raised $462. A GoFundMe page has raised an additional $475.
The GoFundMe page is located at https://www.gofundme.com/f/richard-bingham-cancer-fund.
— Alice Mannette of the Hutchinson News contributed to this report