Supporters of an 80-year-old man who spent his life’s savings to pay for his late wife’s cancer treatment have raised $50,000 to help him.
Kenneth Smith of Gulfport, Mississippi and his wife Helen sold kindling on the side of the road for $5 a bag to help pay for her cancer treatment.
However, when she died last month, half of the couple’s social security payments were stopped.
Kenneth Smith, left, pictured with his late wife Helen, right, sells bags of kindling on the roadside to help clear the debts accrued during his wife’s cancer treatment
Kenneth Smith of Gulfport Mississippi has been selling kindling on the side of the road to help pay for his late wife’s medical bills, but a GoFundMe account has so far raised almost $50,000
Smith, left, sells the bags of kindling to passers by for $5 a bag to help support himself
Despite the tragedy, Smith continued to sell his kindling on the roadside until passers-by brought attention to the story.
As a result, Smith’s son Leslie established a GoFundMe page, which has so far raised almost $50,000 over the past four days.
According to Leslie Smith: ‘This fund is for my father Kenneth Smith. He is 80 years old and has always been a hard working man all of his life.
‘His wife (my step-mom) has been battling cancer for a few years. He was selling kindling fire wood to make ends meet.
‘On a fixed income of social security alone, it can be hard to do. His wife lost her battle with cancer a few weeks ago and now his income has been cut in half.
‘They spent their life savings during her cancer battle. He is still selling fire wood for extra income but some people have asked if they could help him out so this is the reason I have setup this account for him.’
Recently in Chicago, well-wishers raised more than $300,000 for 89-year-old popsicle salesman Fidencio Sanchez so he could retire as he was unable to push his heavy cart.
Smith and his wife Helen, who died last month, spent their life’s savings on her treatment
Jessica Pittman first noticed Smith standing on the side of the road when he saw him remove his straw hat as a funeral cortege passed.
She wrote on Facebook: ‘Last year he was there selling as well but he had his sweet little wife Helen with him.
‘He was selling to help pay for his wife’s doctor visits and bills. This year he is alone.
‘He said his wife Helen lost her battle to cancer a few weeks ago and he is still selling to cover pay for her doctor bills.
‘My heart breaks every time I pass him. He waves at every single car that passes.
‘Friday I was at the stop sign as a funeral procession was passing by. And he was standing alert with his straw hat over his heart. Precious man. I can’t buy it all.’
That original post raised considerable interest in Smith’s case.
He was later interviewed by WLOX.com about the support he is now receiving.
He said: ‘It makes me think that we live in a good country and this is part of it.’