By Sherrie Norris
It comes as no surprise that when someone in the High Country needs assistance, family and friends are there to help.
Such is the case for local nurse, Elaine McGuire, who was diagnosed last year with a rare form of cancer.
Wife of Eugene McGuire, mother of three (Chad Mcguire, Jason McGuire and Nila Gilgano), “Grammy” to six and friend to many, McGuire is faced with astronomical medical bills related to her care and treatments, including a very expensive medication that is not fully covered by her insurance.
With that in mind, and because she has done so much for others through the years, family and friends are rallying by her side to help raise funds to alleviate the financial burden that she and her husband are currently facing.
The community is invited to come out to show its support during a spaghetti dinner-fundraiser scheduled for McGuire on Saturday, January 11, from 4 – 7 p.m. at Willowdale Baptist Church, located at
133 North Westside Drive in Vilas.
The meal will include spaghetti, salad, a roll and dessert, with tea or lemonade. Donations will be accepted and greatly appreciated, an event spokesperson said.
A nurse for 34 years, McGuire is well known for her compassionate care administered to patients at Watauga Medical Center, Glenstone Health Care Center, Total Health, and most recently with Maxim Home Care.
In early 2019, she began to tire easily, she “felt bad,” in general, she said, and by the first of May, she lacked strength to walk across her living room.
Appearing very pale and weak, McGuire saw a local nurse practitioner who ordered lab work, which signaled the immediate need for a blood transfusion. Further testing and symptoms indicated the possibility of leukemia and the need for a bone marrow biopsy. Complications set in. McGuire experienced a severe reaction which resulted in damage to her heart and lungs and a critically low blood count, which placed her in intensive care at Duke Medical Center for a month.
Released on June 4, she received a call the very next day with the dreaded news: She had large B cell Hodgkins lymphoma, stage 3, requiring intensive IV immunotherapy and eventually was prescribed a hopefully helpful, but very expensive medication.
McGuire is able to stay at home currently, with frequent visits back to her medical team in Durham for evaluation/follow-up.
She is thankful, she said, that she is able to be with her family at home, and while hoping the medication will eventually put her into remission, she still experiences decreased immunity and very low blood counts.
Along with her family, McGuire said she is also very grateful for the support she is receiving, and especially during this upcoming fundraiser.
“I don’t know how we could make it without the love and support of our loved ones,” she added.
Please plan to come out on Saturday to help the McGuire family.
For those who are unable to attend the fundraiser and wish to help, you may send donations directly to Elaine McGuire at 1260 Hwy. 194S. Vilas, NC 28692.