Whitehouse (WTVG) - A Metroparks Toledo ranger is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Friends and co-workers have teamed up to help the family. Rusty Maneval has been a park ranger for 25 years. Most of his career has been spent at Oak Openings, and that's where a fundraiser will be held next month.
Rusty was diagnosed with cancer last fall, just as he was getting ready to retire. His mother Lana say the diagnosis caught everyone off guard, "He went in for a routine test and they found the cancer. It is very aggressive and it's growing very fast."
His dad Russ says Rusty was looking forward to his retirement, "Just being so healthy and then this happens so close to retirement was surprising. He had so many plans and was truly looking forward to all of it, but all that has been put aside. It has been very rough on the whole family."
Lana says Rusty has stage four duodenal cancer. It's a cancer in the beginning section of the small intestine, "It's incurable. They can;t get it all out because it's wrapped around his aorta and partially on his pancreas. The doctor's got as much as they could but they couldn't get it all."
Rusty has been in and out of the hospital six times since he was diagnosed. Along with his family, friends and co-workers have been by his side, "To have something so tragic happen to someone you care so much about has been so difficult."
Joe Fausnaugh is the Chief of Operations for the Metroparks. He has worked with Rusty for two decades, "He is one of the good guys. He comes to work with a real passion. It's the same passion he had 20 years ago when I first met him. He brings a real energy that is contagious to the rest of the staff."
That's what inspired Joe and so many others to help organize the fundraiser."In my mind it's the least we can do in this time of great need. A lot of money will go toward his medical expenses, but it's really for whatever the family needs. They are great people and they deserve all the help we can give them."
Rusty's mom says all that help has been a Godsend, "He's overwhelmed by all this kindness, and so are we."
The Ranger "Rusty" Maneval fundraiser is April 7th. It will be held at the Oak Openings Lodge from 1-8pm. An Italian dinner will be served. There will also be auctions and raffles. Tickets are $8.
You are asked to make a reservation for the fundraiser. The contact email address is firstname.lastname@example.org