Teams are still needed for a benefit dodge ball tournament scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14 in Aurora.
The benefit is for Terry Buffalow, who was recently diagnosed with spinal hemangioma, a tumor that has wrapped around a portion of his spine, nerves and blood vessels.
Buffalow and his wife, Amy, have lived in the Aurora area since 1979. He started working in emergency management services in 1984 and has taught thousands of emergency medical technicians and emergency responders across southwest Missouri.
The couple started their own business, EMS Training Associates, in 1997, teaching emergency medical technicians advanced cardiac life support, basic trauma, CPR, advanced life support and advanced pediatric life support classes,
Buffalow is also a firefighter instructor and a fire investigator and has taught many local fire responders throughout the area.
"I've spent my life helping other people," Buffalow said. "I tell my students that they won't get a lot of money, but there is a lot of gratification in helping their fellow man."
Now, Buffalow is in need of help.
A proposed trip to the Mayo Clinic has fallen through after the couple received a letter from the hospital stating that there was no hope of a successful surgery at that facility.
"The tumor has taken over a part of the neuropathways and spinal cord," Buffalow said. "There is no known procedure to remove it. The only thing that they could do was remove some ribs and a vertebrae. That's too radical."
"And that would leave some of his internal organs unprotected," added Amy.
A recent visit to a Springfield specialist has revealed that the only hope at present is to try and manage the tumor so that it does not continue to grow and to install a morphine pump to control the pain.
"The pain that he's been in," Amy said. "I don't see how anyone could live through it."
"I didn't know there was that kind of pain out there," Buffalow added.
Doctors have indicated that Buffalow's physical ability is not likely to improve, but that pain management will at least give him some quality of life.
"The previous medications he's been on have left him in a fog," Amy said. "It has been very difficult not to be able to talk to my husband.
"What hurts most is seeing the amount of pain that he is going through and knowing that there is nothing I can do to help him," she continued with tears in her eyes. "He's a good man. A wonderful husband. I'll never turn my back on him."
"I feel worse about what Amy is going through," Buffalow said. "This has put such a load on her. Things that would normally be my job around the house. It's not my fault, but I still feel guilty."
In the middle of the pain, the couple is finding out that they have a wealth of caring and compassionate friends ready to step up and assist with their needs.
"The overwhelming thing is finding out how many wonderful friends we have and how outstandingly supportive they are," said Amy. "We know that we can call them day or night to help, and they will be there."
The Seligman Fire Department is hosting the benefit dodge ball tournament, which will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 14 at the Pate Early Childhood Center, located at 400 Terrace Dr., in Aurora. Participating volunteers from Aurora City and Rural Fire Departments and Monett City and Rural Fire Departments are assisting in the effort.
Entry fees are $50 per six-man team in double elimination play. A silent auction and 50/50 pot will also take place at that event. Concessions will be available.
"Terry has served our communities for over 36 years," said Aurora Firefighter Curt Mooneyham, who is helping coordinate the event. "He has been a kind and comforting voice to us and our loved ones in the worst hours of our lives. His influence can be felt in the hands and voices of those he has helped train to serve in EMS.
"Now is our time to give back," Mooneyham continued. "Now is our chance to bless him the way he has blessed so many of our lives."
"I can't begin to express how grateful we are to our fire, police and EMS family," Amy said. "We love and appreciate each and every one of them."
Buffalow will attend a portion of the tournament, health permitting.
For more information, contact Shane and Ashley Anderson at 417-489-4554, Curt Mooneyham at 417-830-0713 or Donna Allen at 417-847-2485.