'Cruising for the cure' benefit held for church youth director battling cancer

'Cruising for the cure' benefit held for church youth director battling cancer

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Long time church youth director Rod Pierce became ill back in December.

"I was diagnosed with rectal cancer on December 22," said Rod. "They took a CT scan shortly after and learned that it had metastasized to become stage four liver cancer. I had my first surgery on January 7 and then radiation and now I'm doing chemo."

Since the venture began he says he lost 60 pounds. Right now, he says he's in more discomfort and fatigue than pain.

One thing that's getting him through is the support from family and friends.

Over the weekend the Church of Saint Andrew United Methodist held a benefit in his honor.

Friends and family showed up wearing their favorite Hawaiian shirts and leis for the "Cruise for the Cure" benefit, which had a cruise ship theme for Rod, also a former Cruise ship director.

"I was in charge of all activities and entertainment on the largest cruise ship in the world for awhile. It was my ship for nine years. I had a staff of 150. Everyone from fitness staff to dance troops to comedians, entertainers, etc," said Rod. "I'm traveling the world. I'm dining with former presidents like Jimmie Carter and stuff like this. I was his personal escort on the Song of Norway, he and his entourage."

"It's very, very, very exciting to see how many people love him and are helping out, it's very good," said Rod's daughter Kennedy Pierce.

As a youth director at the church Rod says one of the missions he was apart of they brought down 20 people from the youth group to Atlanta Georgia and helped feed the homeless.

Now, those same people are showing him support through his difficult journey battling cancer.

"I'm very blessed to have the people in my life that I do," said Rod.

"You can't really do anything about it. It's like just pulling a name out of the hat, he just got chosen," said Rod's son Ryan Pierce. "You just got to appreciate the time you have with him."

When asked where he sees himself in six months, Rod said, "I want to be on a golf course and take my son out. He's like my best friend in the world. Keep positive, I'm gonna beat this thing. Positive, positive, positive."

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