A farmer who was diagnosed with cancer was the recipient of a stunning show of generosity when dozens of his tractor-trotting neighbors showed up to help him harvest his crops in time for the season.
According to WFMY, 63-year-old farmer Larry Yockey was given a crushing medical diagnosis in February — he had stage IV melanoma, which meant his skin cancer had spread to other parts of his body. Once it reaches stage IV, the disease is very difficult to cure, according to the Melanoma Research Alliance, though some patients do have positive results from treatment.
“The cancer has spread to my bones, so I have a broken hip and ribs,” Yockey, from Adams County, Washington, told the news station.
As his disease progressed over the coming weeks, Yockey found himself unable to tend to his fields in Ritzville for long periods of time.
When his neighbors asked if he’d still be able to prepare his harvest in time for the upcoming season, Yockey slowly came to the conclusion that he couldn’t deliver due to his health.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to harvest like I did in years past,” Yockey said. “It’s bittersweet, but I finally had to tell them, ‘No.’ ”
After hearing his answer, farmers in Yockey’s community came together to help him in his time of need.
“I wasn’t hesitating a bit,” Mike Doyle, one of Yockey’s friends, told WFMY.
Doyle, along with 60 other farmers, spent weeks planning how they would pull off three weeks of work in six hours on Yockey’s 1,200-acre farmland.
Then, on July 27, the team of farmers gathered their crews, along with wheat combines and 18-wheelers, and went to work on the farm to get the harvest prepared.
“We’ll be able to get it done,” farmer Steve Meye told the news station as the team was at work on the fields. “We’ve got a strong team of people out here.”
As they went to work, Yockey, his wife and their three daughters marveled at the extraordinary display of kindness — and one of Yockey’s daughters, Amanda, said the moment was special for her.
“I plan to be the fifth generation out farming our grounds someday,” Amanda told CBS News. “So, yesterday we had a few moments that were bittersweet for the both of us.”
For Yockey, the help he received from his community was overwhelming.
“It’s just awe-inspiring to see how fast these fields are evaporating now,” he said. “Just gratitude. It’s not describable the gratitude I have for what’s going on.”