While it is impossible to put a dollar amount on how much Erath County residents value their own, the Levi Lewis family has a good idea.
On Friday, friends and neighbors of Levi and his wife, Kasha, and their children, Kaden, 2, and Braelynn, eight months old, hosted "Share the Care," a fundraising event to benefit the young family.
The event was held at the Huckabay Community Tabernacle, where an estimated $30,000 was raised, according to Debby Lowe.
Levi, 30, is suffering from a rare type of cancer that has spread to his brain and central nervous system, making simple tasks like walking difficult, his sister-in-law, Kristi Rodriguez, said.
While he works to recover, Levi is on leave from Walco International. Kashsa is a kindergarten teacher at Huckabay ISD.
While an exact head count was not tallied Friday, Lowe estimates at least 500 showed up to offer support.
A cake and live auction drew donors, who anted up an estimated $17,000, according to Lowe. She also said auction organizers took $500 cash to Gifford TV and Electronics which was matched by the Stephenville retailer to purchase a state-of-the-art television, purchased for $2,000 by Bob Smith.
Perhaps the biggest gift, however, was the fact that Levi and his family were on hand for the entire event.
Cottonwood Baptist's Pastor Mike Fritscher said the strength shown by Levi on Friday as he worked to thank everyone in attendance is the same strength the couple has shown throughout their struggle.
Fritscher said the church has stayed closely connected to the family since November, and the family's response to what they have been dealt has been a "blessing" to the church family. In addition to an outpouring of gratitude, Fritscher said Levi and Kasha have expressed "total faith" while at the same time being completely open and honest about the difficulty they face.
"I have seen them grow through this horrible ordeal and touch so many lives along the way," he said. "I truly admire them. Their spiritual and emotional growth has been stellar."
Anyone interested in making a donation to help cover medical expenses can contribute to the Levi Lewis benefit account at Town and Country Bank.
Levi's 31st birthday is on Friday and well-wishers are encouraged to send birthday greetings to 36243 N. FM 219, Stephenville, TX 76401. As you read this today, Kasha is celebrating her 31st birthday.
And while the couple has made a tradition of sharing their birthdays, this year they will pray for a miracle.
Stay connected to Levi's progress at www.caringbridge.org/visit/levilewis.