MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man once able to provide for his family finds himself going through some tough times. But his village of friends reached out to WREG to see if we could help.

Allie Rogers reached out to WREG after seeing her friend and colleague, Mark Cockrell, going through a tough time.

“Unfortunately, back in late November early December, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, pretty severely. He is a carpenter, and that did not allow him to work any longer due to the blood clots from the lungs, going down into the legs, causing major, major pain,” she explained.

Allie, a kitchen designer, used Mark’s expert cabinet carpentry services before he got sick.

“I really hope this will lift a burden of some past due bills that are due. Not only the daily bills that you have every day, but also the medical expenses that he’s had before he was approved for Medicaid coverage because he’s also been without insurance the last five months, so that’s been difficult as well,” she said.

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We headed a few blocks over to surprise Mark, and his friends were all in on the surprise. Soon, Mark learned why WREG was there, too.

Allie counted out $1,800 — $300 from News Channel 3, $700 from our anonymous donor, and $800 from Mark’s friends as a token of their love and support.

“This is great. I’ve seen this on the news, but I never thought it would happen to me. Thank you,” Mark said.

Mark is dealing with stage 4 lung cancer and blood clots, meaning he has trouble standing and walking. He can no longer work as a carpenter.

“Oh, it’s hard. Payments, house payments, everything. Electric bills, water bills. My son, my family, help me. They do what they can, but you get tired of asking, you know. So thank you, News Channel 3. Thank you,” he said.

Allie expressed gratitude for Mark and his work for the past 23 years.

“He worked for me for 23 years during my main installs. I am a designer, installing all my cabinets and everything, and it’s just not the same without him, and we’re making do, but you only make money when you get to do a job, and if you can’t work, you can’t make money so this is beyond a blessing. We can’t think y’all enough,” she said.

Mark is still undergoing cancer treatments and doesn’t know when he might be able to work again. But his friends hope more of his days are spent focusing on his health and less on how he’s going to pay bills.

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