Local businessman, Pat Pennington, battles cancer
Between COVID-19 and now cancer, local businessman Pat Pennington of Miramar Beach has been beat down, but not out.
Pennington, 52, received a cancer diagnosis about 18 weeks ago.
“It just kind of came out of nowhere,” he said.
After experiencing some bleeding in his throat and a trip to the emergency room, he was diagnosed with tonsil cancer.
Pennington said they found a 1.8-centimeter mass, went in right away and took out both tonsils and was able to get the mass out with clean edges.
Now he’s going through the process to make sure nothing spreads with chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Pennington, along with business partner Steve Tisa, own Emerald Coast RC and Funzone next to LuLu’s on the bay, which includes inflatables and obstacle courses.
Tisa started a Go Fund Me account to help Pennington with medical bills and such.
“After losing health care due to COVID-19 and the business being shut down several separate times due to COVID, he finds himself in need of asking for help to fight this cancer,” Tisa wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“Between this and COVID, it’s destroyed me. … It’s literally has destroyed me,” Pennington said.
“This is the first time in my life where I’ve had to accept kindness,” he said, noting a friend recently helped with a truck payment.
Pennington tried to file for unemployment for the lost days of work, but he was told they couldn’t process his claim.
In the meantime, the bills continue to pill up.
“The surgery was a beat down,” he said, noting he had to pay a certain amount. “That took all my savings … just to get the operating theater.”
Right now, Pennington is looking at $70,000 in medical bills plus just basic living expenses, which he said he doesn’t have a lot of.
Last Thursday, he went for chemo and radiation treatments and then spent the rest of the day in the emergency room because he spiked a fever of 103 degrees.
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“You have to be so careful with everything because there is so many reactions with everything,” he said.
Pennington said his doctor has been very straight forward with him.
“He says he plans to have me back up and running … don’t give up,” Pennington said. "I’m going to fight. I’m not ready to go anywhere, I’ve got more to do."
If you’d like to donate, go to www.gofundme.com/f/enz2y-help-me-beat-cancer?qid=41149eb74782eca9d3749e209d0ab88a