David Van Wagner holds a wooden eagle sculpture during the Auction to Benefit Cory Pike on Saturday afternoon at the OP Bar & Grill. Community members donated the items to raise money for medical expenses accumulating as a result of Pike's battle against lymphoma.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

David Van Wagner holds a wooden eagle sculpture during the Auction to Benefit Cory Pike on Saturday afternoon at the OP Bar & Grill. Community members donated the items to raise money for medical expenses accumulating as a result of Pike's battle against lymphoma.

Auction raises $21,000 for MCHS grad

Tests show Cory Pike is cancer free

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J.J. Pike sits at a table surrounded by family friends during the auction benefiting her son, Cory, on Saturday afternoon at the OP Bar & Grill. J.J. and her husband, Dave, alternate between providing 24-hour support at Cory's hospital room in Denver and working here in the Yampa Valley.

J.J. Pike was sitting in the hospital room of her son, Cory, in Denver while the warm, late summer weather enticed her from the window.

"I feel like I haven't seen the sun since June 9," she said. "I've got to get outside."

"Take me, take me," replied 20-year-old Cory.

For a family that does everything outside, Cory's June diagnosis of Burkitt's lymphoma has turned the Pike's world upside down.

Dave Pike, director of Craig Parks and Recreation, sometimes only sees his wife when he passes her on the highway, when they switch locations so one can be by their son's side at all times.

An auction Saturday at the OP Bar & Grill raised money for the Pike's unexpected expenses, such as gas and an apartment in Denver.

Longtime friends of the Pikes put on the auction, and businesses, individuals and organizations around Craig and Steamboat Springs donated the more than 300 items.

Becky Otis, who organized the auction, said it raised $21,269.

"I am so proud of this town," Otis said. "Dave and J.J. were so shocked."

J.J. said she was surprised and humbled by the people who made the auction possible and those who turned out in support of her family.

"There's coach Haddan," she said, watching Moffat County High School teacher John Haddan take a seat at the start of the auction. "He was one of Cory's first football coaches. Cory just loved him as a coach."

Also in attendance were J.J.'s co-workers from City Market in Steamboat Springs, who have helped the Pikes by walking and feeding their two dogs at their house.

Cory's dog, Brandy, is one thing he will look forward to having back when he can leave the hospital.

"He loves Brandy and misses her so much," J.J. said.

Brandy has received a series of shots and tests so that when Cory is ready, Brandy can visit him in the hospital.

Until then, he has photographs of her in his room to hold him over.

He also has plenty of movies and an Xbox, J.J. said, but lately he has been too sick to enjoy them.

On Sept. 12, he received a bone marrow transplant of umbilical cord stem cells. A recent test found Cory to be cancer free, but he is still struggling with accepting the new cells.

"He has good days and bad days," J.J. said. "Yesterday was really bad because he was undergoing tests all day, but today he's feeling really good."

She said her once athletic son has tried to stay strong during his illness.

He does his physical therapy exercises at the end of his bed and has gotten up to three quarters of a mile on his stationary bike.

"He's got a good attitude," she said. "He's stayed strong."

And the Pike family will continue to stay strong by his side, despite the mounting medical expenses and interruption to their daily lives.

"It's a juggling act," she said. "But Cory's the only thing that matters right now."

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