By Jennifer Mayerle


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family rocked by a double cancer diagnosis struggles to accept what’s coming next. Last year, parents Jennifer and John Payton were diagnosed with different forms of cancer.  And it’s John that can’t let go of how he might leave his family.

“Everybody knows the cancer word can mean so many bad things,” John Payton said.

It’s a word the Payton family heard too many times last year.

“September of 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Jennifer Payton said.

Weeks later John lost his job, and then learned of his own kidney cancer diagnosis.

“That was even more devastating. We had surgery a week apart,” John Payton said.

Jennifer has been cancer free for a year. John’s cancer spread to his lungs.  And doctors told him there’s no treatment, just medication that could slow the growth.

“In real words I could have months, months or some years,” John Payton said.

They had to have a real conversation with their sons.

“It’s been devastating. It’s really hard, it’s scary, it’s sad,” Jennifer Payton said.

“It’s the worst pain in the world knowing that you’re not going to be there for your wife and kids,” John Payton said.

And that’s why John started a GoFundMe page at the insistence of friends. So that he, through the goodness of others, can give his family the stability he wants for them.

“Just that my wife and my boys are able to live a happy, normal life and that that they’re happy,” John Payton said.

John had successful surgery after Thanksgiving to remove cancerous nodules. Doctors told him it increased his chance of living five years from 10 percent to 75 percent.

Click here for the GoFundMe information. John’s hope is to pay the home mortgage so when the time comes, his wife is able to support their family on her own.

Jennifer Mayerle

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