Nonprofit farm supports veteran with stage-4 cancer

By Rob Manch - Reporter

BOTETOURT COUNTY (WSLS 10) - A non-profit that formed just last year to help veterans in Botetourt County is working to help one man fight cancer. Steve Goodwin fought in Vietnam and was recently diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

New Freedom Farm in Buchanan wants Goodwin to know, he's not going through it alone. This is the second time that Steve Goodwin has had to face cancer. The last time was three years ago, when chemotherapy caused him to lose his hair. This time, he wanted to take the fight to the disease, and the folks at New Freedom Farm wanted to be right there beside him as he did.

Dressed in his Captain America uniform, and with his team of super heroes behind him, Steve Goodwin declared a fight Sunday against the disease threatening his life.

"You have to deal with it in your own way, and my way was to make fun of it and thumb my nose at it," said Goodwin.

Goodwin says the support he has at New Freedom Farm stands in stark contrast to his first fight three years ago.

"One night after about the second round of chemo, I was sitting in the man chair and I just reached up to scratch my head, and when I brought my hand down, I had a handful of hair... The feeling of it, emotionally it tears you up," said Goodwin.

But with friends around him, some even shaving their hair in solidarity, Goodwin says this time is different.

"Before it has a chance to take my hair, we're going to do it this time," said Goodwin.

A crowd watched as Goodwin's long, silver hair fell to the grass. He'd been growing it out since he beat cancer the first time three years ago. Emma Beard with New Freedom Farm says doing things like this to help veterans is the whole reason they started the non-profit last July.

"If we can help one to two to however many we can by allowing them to have this place to come out and spend time here, that's our biggest mission," said Beard.

And Beard says more and more veterans like Steve do spend time there, bonding with the animals as therapy. Steve's favorite is a mule named Maury.

"He was supposed to be a stand-offish kind of animal and he walked up to the fence and we kind of hit it off, and he's been my buddy ever since," said Goodwin.

A buddy that will be with him as he faces the biggest fight of his life. Steve says, despite the disease, he has a lot to be thankful for.

"I'm just very fortunate to have this place and these people," said Goodwin.

New Freedom Farm says it is now providing therapy for more than 20 veterans, and is working with the VA Hospital in Salem.

You can learn more about the work they do by heading to their website.

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