Community rallies to help Buffalo veteran battling lung cancer

Posted at 9:03 PM, Oct 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-02 23:34:20-04

Dozens of Western New Yorkers packed into a banquet hall Sunday to benefit John VanHoff.  The 57 year old Buffalo man is battling stage 4 lung cancer.

VanHoff grew up in the City of Tonawanda and spent four years in the U.S. Army, serving in Georgia and Germany.  He moved to the West Coast after returning home and lived in several states.  In 1988 he moved back home to Western New York and stayed ever since.

Friends and family say the former warehouse worker always has a smile on his face.  VanHoff's sense of humor was on display during the benefit.

"He's always there.  He really is," his wife, Lynn, said.  "So I'm there for him."

"I have no choice," John joked.  "I can't walk."

VanHoff has dealt with a lot in his life.  A car accident left him permanently disabled.  In 2013, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  A year ago, he suffered a stroke and as a result is blind in his left eye.  This year he discovered he had lung cancer.

"If you sit around depressed, stay at home, it's going to make it worse," VanHoff said.  "You know, you go out and joke around.  Go to the bar have a beer.  Meet some friends.  That's what I do.  It always keeps me in good spirits."

Through everything, VanHoff's family said he's never lost his smile or his positive outlook on life.  After doing so much for the community, Lynn said he really deserves the help he's getting.

"He helps everybody else.  It's his turn," she said.  "We have a lot of support here and we appreciate everyone for all that they've done for us."

VanHoff's family has created a GoFundMe page to help pay for the medical expenses.  You can find it here.