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Tracy Creek Memorial Church Reverend Gives His Final Sermon

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A reverend at Tracy Creek Memorial Church had his world stop on a dime in 2016 after receiving the news he had cancer. Fox 40 was in Vestal to watch his career come to a close.

Reverend John Lucas has been preaching in the Tracy Creek parish for the past 17 years.

But three years ago Lucas's world would change forever.

Lucas says, “On November 3rd, 2016 my world came to a grinding halt, I literally couldn't go any further I physically collapsed through weakness and pain”.

After a CT scan at Lourdes hospital, Lucas would find out he had multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer.

"50% of my platelets were cancerous where cancer originates and I had 2 softball sized tumors growing off my pelvis and right side eating the bone away and had cancerous lesions along my spine,” says Lucas.

But Lucas would bounce back with the love and support from his community.

Lucas says, "I was overwhelmed by the communities response when I was stricken with cancer, not only did the church rise up to support but the community did the same thing, we had no idea what the financial burden would be and the church organized a benefit for us and the community response was overwhelming."

After months of chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell replacement, Lucas got good news during his 2 year check up.

“I got a good report so it's exciting to see how far I've come from such a disastrous condition," said Lucas.

That good news came at a cost though, Lucas's condition would force him to step away from the church as a reverend.

Lucas said, “It has been hard to come to grips that I'm unable to do ministry at the full level I use to do it, it took me a number of months to come to the place where I could accept a decision like this, it's what I've done my whole adult life its so difficult to admit it”.

While Sunday may have been his last sermon here, Lucas says the Southern Tier will always hold a special place in his heart.

“We have heartache from moving away from the people we know, the people we love, the people that are deep in our hearts... in all of the places we lived we’ve really enjoyed our time here and loved it more than anywhere, if my kids lived here I would stay here and retire” said Lucas.