Cancer patient raising money for cross country trip – one last time |

Cancer patient raising money for cross country trip – one last time

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Greg Gooch, IT director for North Sails in Minden, said that 10 of the 12 sails used in the America's Cup race were made by North Sails.

He just wants to see all the people he loves again.

One last time.

Carson resident Greg Gooch is 42 years old and the odds are against him to see 43.

The father of two has been given a six-month window to live as he battles a particularly aggressive form of throat cancer.

He wants to drive across the country with his brother and sons, Greg, 19, and Jamey, 17 – to Washington D.C., where his mother lives.

He wants to see the country and say good-bye to the places and people he loves.

Gooch is running out of time and seemingly has already run out of choices to fight his disease.

At 13, he was diagnosed with cancer in his lymph nodes. He underwent aggressive surgery with treatment to follow, including radiation and chemotherapy.

This time around, Gooch said doctors have told him his body may not take radiation again, and so, while working full-time as the IT guru at Minden-based North Sails – a high-end sail maker for yachts – he tries to save every dime to afford his trip.

But the clock’s ticking.

“I have friends that I haven’t been able to see forever,” he said. “In addition to that – I kind of want to go on a family vacation.”

A simple wish, but Gooch’s reluctance to ask for help kept co-workers and friends in the dark until recently.

“We all know about his cancer, but didn’t really know he was trying to put this trip together,” said Mekoh Benbrooks, a recruiter for North Sails. “(Greg’s) just so unassuming. He comes in, doesn’t complain even though he’s spent a lifetime going through what would cause many people to just give up.

“To me, family is very important. You have an illness like this that can take you at any second – you think about the family you want to see.”

Benbrooks, along with co-worker Jay Laws, have started a fund for Gooch, encouraging other co-workers and friends to chip in.

“Greg’s office is next to mine,” said Laws, the company’s human resources director. “I consider him a friend.

“From a work perspective, we’re just very proud of him. He’s still dedicated to his work; he’s our IT director and makes sure this place is running smoothly.

“There aren’t many people with dedication like that.”

But accolades embarrass Gooch. He said he’s not trying to be a hero in his fight, rather, he’s just trying to raise the $8,000 it will take to reunite with his family.

“It’s hard to put myself out there, but I’ve got a goal and I want to do this trip in the early part of next year, so here I am,” he said. “The doctors tell me six months to a year if we don’t do anything treatment-wise – so I’m going off that and just trying to do what I can.”

There is no “if” Gooch doesn’t reach his goal, his co-workers said. They feel through the support of co-workers, and a bank account the company has established, and a spaghetti feed tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1, Gooch will be on his way after the first of the year.

The bigger concern, they said, is how long they have to continue to share workspace and a friendship – with their favorite IT guy.

“I know how this sounds, but when he came to help me out, it brightened my day,” said Carol Eastwick, who worked with Gooch for three years. “He’s just the nicest guy in the world, a techie guy that would never get frustrated.

“Now where are you going to find that?”

You can help

Carson resident and cancer patient Greg Gooch is trying to raise $8,000 to travel across the country one last time; here’s how to give:

Bank Account: 501003687437 at Carson City’s Bank of America

To contact Greg:

Fundraiser: A spaghetti and ice cream feed is currently slated for Dec. 1 at the Johnson Lane Fire State, 1450 Stephanie Lane, Minden.