A group of friends are banding around a Crystal Lake native and her husband, whose fight to fend off brain cancer and stay alive for his kids has taken its toll on the family’s finances.
Connie Wolfe, who grew up in Crystal Lake, said her husband, Craig Plain, in May surpassed the five years he was given to live when he first received his diagnosis of oligodendroglioma. A month before the milestone, Plain was fired unexpectedly from the job he’d held throughout treatments and surgeries, cutting the family’s income and invaluable health insurance.
Now, led by Kim Brady-Cummings, Wolfe’s friend from Crystal Lake South, four locals have formed a group called “4 Friends by Friends” to fundraise for the family.
It’s an endeavor much appreciated by Wolfe and Plain, who live north of Milwaukee in Germantown, Wis.
“It’s $19,000 for one shot a month,” Wolfe said. “He has two.”
The group will host an Insane in the Membrane Poker Run on Sunday. Registration for those in the run starts at 9:30 a.m. at Offsides Bar & Grill, 680 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock, with the ride kicking off at 11 a.m.
It will conclude with an event at about 4 p.m. at KC’s Cabin, 309 Route 173, Spring Grove, that will include a pig roast, live entertainment and a silent auction.
On hand will be Plain, who doctors consider him “stable” at the moment.
His diagnosis came when his daughter, Emmalee, was just 2 years old. He had some numbness in his face, and doctors decided to run a CAT scan, which turned up what they thought was a fairly harmless polyp in his brain. Plain had his doubts.
“The doctor said, ‘I don’t know what you’re so worried about,’” Wolfe remembered. “My husband said, ‘I’m worried it’s cancer and you’re going to take me from my 2-year-old daughter.’”
Plain’s fears were confirmed when they sought a second opinion, and two days after the diagnosis, he was wheeled in for surgery.
Six weeks of radiation and six months of chemotherapy followed that. But a year and a half later, the facial numbness was back, and Plain was back in for another surgery.
Before his most recent surgery in December, doctors said there was a 90 percent chance Plain wouldn’t make it out.
“When he went in, we were literally saying goodbye because we didn’t know if he was coming back out,” Wolfe said.
The surgery was supposed to last an hour and a half. Seven hours later, Wolfe got her husband back, she said.
Now, with Plain working a temporary job that doesn’t offer insurance, the family – which includes three boys to whom Plain is a stepdad – keeps its eyes focused forward.
Emmalee is 7 now.
“She’s the trouper,” Wolfe said. “She’s never known dad anything but having cancer. He’s had it all her life.
“He’s got a big scar that goes from the top of his ear to the top of his head, and people will stare at it,” she continued. “And she’ll tell them, ‘If you have questions, just ask. Don’t be afraid to ask.’ She’s his rock.”
If you go
What: Insane in the Membrane Poker Run, to benefit family of Connie Wolfe and Craig Plain, who’s fighting terminal brain cancer
Where: Starting at Offsides Sports Bar & Grill, 680 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock, and concluding with an event at KC’s Cabin, 309 Route 173, Spring Grove, that will include a pig roast, live entertainment and a silent auction
When: Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Ride begins at 11 a.m. Event begins at 4 p.m.
For information, visit facebook.com/events/150512228474180
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/3ixitc