By Chelsea Lacey-Mabe
COATESVILLE, PA. (CBS) — In 2012 Jon Damon was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, telling him he had an increased chance of getting cancer. The same year Jon watched his dad have three serious surgeries as a result of the same genetic condition.READ MORE: Jefferson Hospital Nurse Who Ended Up Patient After Blister On Foot Gets Infected Honored During National Nurses Week
“It’s not the inheritance a dad wants to give his kids,” said Jonathan Damon Sr. who is now watching his son go through the same thing he went through.
People with Lynch syndrome are more likely to develop colorectal and other types of cancers at earlier ages and the condition is passed down from parents to children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jon was diagnosed with stage II colon and intestinal cancers at age 27. He’s currently on a no-lifting ban while recuperating from a major surgery at Hahnemann University Hospital that removed his rectum and a portion of his colon.
“I have about six weeks for my recovery still where I’m not allowed to lift more than a gallon of milk so that means I can’t even lift my own children,” explained the father of two who’s expecting a third son with his wife Leah on June 1. Jon and Leah are hoping the new baby comes in under 10 pounds. If not the soon-to-be family of five is going to need an extra pair of hands to help out.
“[Leah] is a champion,” noted Jon who says he feels like he should be the one taking care of his wife in her third trimester. “I don’t know how she does it. I’m lucky to have her.”
Jon, like his dad is usually the one taking care of people. In 2012 they moved to Pennsylvania to help his mom while his dad was battling prostate cancer.
“You learn so much from being on the other side of the hospital bed,” noted Jonathan Sr.
Jonathan and his wife will be pitching in to help when the baby comes and plan to check in on their son often especially since Jon and Leah live right across from Gateway Church of Parkesburg where Jonathan is an associate pastor.READ MORE: Philadelphia City Council Working To Close Loophole To Get Illegal Dirt Bikes, ATVs Off Streets For Good
Under normal circumstances Jon would be working alongside his father by helping with the church’s upkeep. He also works with a group of young adults who have autism at the church once a week to help them get jobs.
The roles have reversed and the community is now taking care of the Damon family. A GoFundMe campaign set up by Jon’s cousin Gabrielle has raised more than $14,000 in three short weeks to help them pay off medical bills.
“If you’re moving and need a hand or if you’re sick and need a hand. Whatever the thing is, they’re the first people to jump and in,” said Gabrielle Stepan. “They’re not a family that has a lot so it always means a lot more I think when they decide to help out. They don’t always have everything to give but they’re willing to give what they can.”
Nearly 100 church members, friends and relatives have donated so far.
“Even anonymous people where we don’t recognize their names,” Leah noted. “It has been blowing us away.”
“It’s just been an emotional weight of of my chest,” noted Jon. “You worry as somebody who wants to take care of their family but who’s forced into a situation where they can’t do a whole lot. It’s a helpless feeling.”
The Damons are staying hopeful though despite many worries about their future including the possibility that their sons–four-year-old Oliver, 18-month-old Rowan and the new son they have on the way will one day be in Jon’s situation if they too test positive for Lynch syndrome.
“We are trusting that the future of our boys and their health is also in the Lord’s hands,” said Leah.
The family is planning to eventually “bless someone else who is stuck” by setting up a fund to help others with a portion of the money that was raised for them.MORE NEWS: AAA Mid-Atlantic Reveals How Much Potential Gasoline Shortage Could Impact Philadelphia Region