Fundraisers aim to help man reclaim his voice
WHITEWATER Jim Picknell has spent years helping others.
Now, it's time for the community to help him, friends said.
The 49-year-old Whitewater man lost his voice to cancer and needs help buying a touch screen device that will give him the ability to communicate.
It costs $5,000, but his health insurance will pay for only a portion of it, his wife, Shelly Picknell, said.
Fundraisers are planned Wednesday, Nov. 21, in Whitewater and Sunday, Nov. 25, in Janesville.
Lucy Newell-Anderson, advertising manager/events director at Kutter Harley-Davidson in Janesville, encouraged the public to get out and help.
"This is one of those folks you see doing things for others all the time without wanting anything back," she said.
"This isn't about wanting. This is about need," Newell-Anderson said.
Newell-Anderson said the Picknells almost single handedly run registration for the annual Muscular Dystrophy Tub Run.
"That's no small feat with 2,500 people coming in," she said.
They also handle the event's Friday night Poker Run, which last year involved 600 entrants.
"They've been hugely instrumental in helping raise a large chunk of money since they've been part of the committee the past six years," Newell-Anderson said.
Shelly explained why.
"My side of the family has nine generations of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. My brother has it, our grandson has it, and my cousin has it that is living. So we've been involved with the MDA doing a lot of fundraising to benefit muscular dystrophy research, send kids to camp and help kids get the equipment they need."
Shelly described her husband of 22 years as a great guy who would do anything for anybody who needed help.
"He has such a big, caring heart, and he just gives so much of himself to others,'' she said.
Now, he needs help, Shelly said.
Jim, a grocery manager at Walmart in Jefferson, was diagnosed in February with head and neck cancer. Since then, he has had biopsies, repeated sessions of chemotherapy and radiation and surgery to his throat and tongue. His voice box was removed.
"That's when he lost his ability to speak," Shelly said.
Jim isn't able to use an electric larynx because he no longer has the needed tongue muscle.
For now, Jim uses pen and paper to communicate. The fundraisers are intended to help him buy a NOVA Chat 5, an electronic touch screen device that would help him communicate.
"It's important for him to have the machine," Shelly said.
"It will help him continue to work, be able to communicate with his three grandchildren and mother, who lives six hours away and was just diagnosed with liver cancer," she said.
"Unless you've been through this, you just don't get the grasp of what people go through," Shelly said.
"You live a normal life, and then suddenly your voice is taken away from you. It's a big change in your life, and it's very difficult to accept. But life goes on and the technology today is phenomenal," she said.
IF YOU GO
What: Help Him Speak Again! fundraiser to benefit Jim Picknell
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.
Where: Time Out Pub & Eatery, 101 E. Milwaukee St., Janesville.
Featured: Raffles, food, silent auction and fun.
What: Jim Picknell fundraiser
When: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21.
Where: Jessica's Family Restaurant, Whitewater.
Details: 10 percent of sales will benefit Picknell