Lawrence family seeks help on project for man afflicted with asbestosis

James Thompson, of Lawrence, was diagnosed with stage 3 asbestosis in 2011. His wife, Teresa Thompson, is working to raise funds and materials to build a walkway to their backyard that James can navigate.

A Lawrence woman is hoping to get some community support to make her husband’s life with stage 3 asbestosis more enjoyable.

Teresa Thompson said her husband, James Thompson, was diagnosed in 2011, and in the past year his health has deteriorated. She said he loves to spend time outdoors gardening and keeping the yard in good shape, but, as it is now, the path to the backyard isn’t safe for him.

Thompson said she’s been working since February to collect donations of money and materials to build a walkway with wide steps that James will be able to navigate so he can enjoy time in the yard.

The family has partnered with several organizations and businesses, including their own church and credit union; the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation; VizX Design Studios; Owens Flower Shop and more.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, the family is holding a banquet at the Lawrence Hotel and Convention Center, 200 McDonald Drive. A $40 donation grants entry to dinner, a silent auction and comments from Sandy Robb, a director on the board of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, and a visit from Jeff Hawkins, former Jayhawk basketball player. The Thompsons are also hoping to find volunteers to help with the project itself, scheduled to begin July 22.

Thompson said the estimated cost of the project was $45,000, but with donations and volunteers, the cost should be cut by half. She also said they intend to pay it forward with anything leftover after this project.

“We want to help somebody else, or more than one person if we have enough money,” Thompson said.

Thompson also has a GoFundMe online fundraiser at Saturday’s banquet can be found on Facebook by searching “Believe4James.”