Cedar Rapids man battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer sees huge show of support from community

Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 3:57 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Joe Gluba from Cedar Rapids is in the fight of his life after a diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer just weeks ago.

According to the American Cancer Society, stage four pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of 3%.

Joe Gluba had been losing weight at an alarming rate before the diagnosis- five to ten pounds each week - and says the pain was unbearable. He says a CAT scan showed the cancer has spread to his liver, gallbladder and lymph nodes. His regiment of chemotherapy will last around 24 weeks. The diagnosis came in late May, then the generosity started pouring in.

Jeremy Brown, Joe’s best friend since first grade at Taylor Elementary, and Joe’s twin brother, Gabe, have borne witness to the man Joe Gluba is.

“He played Santa for his daughters’ class, and made sure he could get in for the little kids and the preschoolers,” says Gabe, “He’s played the Easter bunny, he’s done Lego league as the coach there.”

“Your friend, over time, turns into family. And from day one it’s been like that with Joe,” says Brown.

Now 41, he was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. He is an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and a fixture at his six-year-old daughter, Aly Kay’s, school.

His loved ones galvanized after learning the prognosis. Gabe Gluba says they saw overwhelming support come in not just from friends and family, but from local businesses as well.

“It took us all by surprise and shock,” says Gabe, “Jeremy contacted me with the idea for a GoFundMe. Our goal I think was $10,000.”

The GoFundMe now stands at more than $27,000. Funds to help cover medical bills, create memories in the time they have, and set up a tuition fund for Aly Kay.

”It really illustrates when we say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to support a loved one,” says Gabe.

“Now I know for sure, Aly Kay, when she’s gonna hear stories about her old man, stories getting passed down about her old man, there’ll be a lot of good ones,” says Joe, “She’ll be proud of me.”

Joe’s family and friends are hosting a benefit fundraiser for him and his daughter on Sunday, June 27th.

It’ll be at Rumors Bar and Grill, and includes music, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle.

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