**UPDATE- The benefit date has been changed due to inclement weather. It will now be April 7 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Eagles Lodge.
His e-mail nickname is "glass man" and he spent most of his adult life repairing windshields and windows. But after ignoring a growing pain in his hip, Mike Lanham found two years ago that carrying the weighty windows became impossible, even with help.
"I got to where I couldn't handle a 400 pound piece of glass with three other guys," Lanham, who lives in Columbia, said.
After putting it off too long, Lanham went to see a doctor two years ago this month.
"It's a feeling you can't describe," Lanham said while describing the intense pain. "It's a deep internal feeling."
After seeing multiple specialists, a day before his 48th birthday in October of 2011, Lanham learned he had bone cancer. Called multiple myeloma, it is a blood disease where the body makes too many plasma cells. According to the Cleveland Clinic where Lanham will be treated next month, in multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) build up in the bone marrow, forming tumors in many bones of the body. As the number of myeloma cells increases, fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are made. The myeloma cells also damage and weaken the hard parts of the bones.
In Lanham's case, it ruined his right hip. To fight the cancer, he had chemotherapy, ten rounds of radiation and a hip replacement.
But he still has signs of cancer in his back and head. Lanham has chosen to undergo a stem cell transplant.
Called an autologous transplant, doctors have already removed his stem cells and Lanham plans to travel to the Cleveland Clinic next month to have them re-introduced into his body.
The long road of treatment has kept Lanham out of work for the past year, and now his wife, Tammy, will not be earning an income either. She will be Lanham's primary caregiver, traveling to Ohio with him for the transplant and again for two follow up treatments. She expects to initially be out of work at least a month and a half.
That's why Lanham's family, friends, former co-workers, and fellow Eagles Lodge members are planning a benefit auction to raise money for his expenses. The event is Sunday April 7 at the Eagles Lodge, 2513 N Stadium Boulevard in Columbia. There will be a chili lunch, music and a live auction. It runs from 1 to 5 p.m. There is also a benefit fund set up at Landmark Bank.
Doctors tell Lanham the stem cell transplant isn't a cure, but could buy him some time.
"I have a 6-year-old granddaughter who I would like to see go to school," says Lanham. If successful, the transplant could allow him to spend five to ten more years with his growing family.
Benefit fund set up by his sister Connie Taylor:
Connie Taylor/fundraiser for Michael Lanham
P.O. Box 1867
Columbia, Mo 65205-1867