RICHFIELD - Joshua Mott's Christmas wish this year was to spend his vacation with his wife and three children in sunny Florida.
The 29-year-old Richfield man has been struggling with cancer since doctors first discovered a tumor in his brain last fall. After four surgeries and slightly improved conditions, Mott's doctors agreed that he was well enough to take a Christmas trip with his family, his mother-in-law Linda McFadden said.
So, last week, Josh, his wife Kristin and their three children flew to Florida. He spent a day at Disney World watching his family enjoy the sights and ride the rides.
Josh Mott holds his son, James, with his wife, Kristin, and their daughters Kassie, being held by Kristin, and Kosette. Niemonds Independent Church in Richfield is collecting donations to help cover medical expenses for Josh, who has brain cancer.
But on Dec. 24, McFadden said Josh began to have excruciating pain. He was taken to a hospital in Daytona Beach where doctors found that he was leaking spinal fluid. To relieve the pain, they sedated him and put him on a ventilator, she said.
The doctors in Florida are working with Mott's home doctors at Geisinger Medical Center. He is expected to have surgery today to drain the wound remaining from a tennis-ball-sized tumor that was removed previously.
In his current state, Mott cannot travel; but if the surgery goes well, his doctors want him to come home, McFadden said. Mott's parents traveled down to be with Josh and his wife and the couple's older two children will come back to Richfield to stay with family, she said.
They are not sure if Mott's medical coverage will pay for the services in Florida, and the Niemonds Independent Church - where Josh's father, the Rev. Art Mott, is pastor - is collecting donations to help the family.
Assistant Pastor Steve Osenga said the church has been supporting the Motts through financial and physical donations, such as building a handicapped ramp onto the family's house for Josh, who uses a cane.
Donations may be given in two ways: mail a check earmarked "Josh Mott" to Niemonds Independent Church, P.O. Box 187, Richfield, PA 17086; or bring a donation to any First National Bank of Mifflintown branch for the church's Josh Mott account.
Before being diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma, Josh and his family lived in Tennessee while he was studying to become a counselor. McFadden said last year he quit school, and the Motts moved back to Richfield to be close to family.
The tumor grew rapidly, but Josh's surgery to remove it seemed to go well, she said. His troubles continued when the area did not heal and infection set in, McFadden said.
Since the fall, doctors performed two more surgeries to help the infection heal, and Josh's health began to improve, she said. He is scheduled to begin chemotherapy in January.
McFadden said doctors have never given Mott a good prognosis.
"We all knew Josh wanted to take the family to Florida before he died," McFadden said. "He is a fighter, and we are hoping and praying."