By MIRANDA ORSO
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Everyone knows Norman Shappy simply as “Beaver.”
Since being diagnosed with cancer in July 2008, the 47-year-old Peru native has had his right arm amputated and has undergone lung surgery, chemotherapy treatments and radiation.
He recently found out his aggressive form of cancer caused new tumors to grow in his lungs, dangerously close to his pulmonary artery.
“From day one, I’ve fought,” he said. “I don’t dwell on it. I try to have as much fun as I can when I can.”
Beaver has traveled to New York City, where he will meet with doctors this morning at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to discuss treatment options.
Living on a fixed income, he knows how hard it can be to afford trips for treatment but keeps a positive outlook that everything will work out.
“Every penny matters. I just need to get down there and see what they’ve got to say and see if we can slow this thing down or if we can stop it because time is ticking by,” he said by phone Tuesday. “At this point, I am losing time, and I need to be gaining time.”
Members — or “brothers” as Beaver calls them — of the Un-Easy Riders Motorcycle Club and others will meet at noon Saturday at the Un-Easy Riders Motorcycle Clubhouse, 65 Number 37 Road in Saranac to raise money for trips and treatment. A $10 donation is asked for the fundraiser, which will have food, music and live entertainment.
He has been riding with the club for three and half years.
During that time, he has helped raise money for others in need. He is thankful his friends are doing the same for him — even though he originally declined assistance.
“They told me they were doing this and to keep my mouth shut. I had no say in what they were going to do,” he said.
“I am thankful for the support of my brothers. The response from all of them, north, south, east and west, is phenomenal.”
Despite losing an arm, Beaver still rides his converted black Harley Davidson Street Bob with the club for what he said is the best “therapy” money can buy.
“It took me a while to get back on the bike, but just being with them and traveling to three or four different states, it’s an atmosphere that’s unbelievable,” he said.
He hopes to share good news with all supporters after returning from his hospital visit in New York City.
Beaver said he will continue to do his best to remain happy and busy, regardless of what the future may or may not hold.
He will find peace in caring for his sheep, goats, chickens, dogs and pot-belly pigs.
And, of course, in riding with his biker brethren.
“That’s what keeps me going. If you sit down and think about it too much, you get depressed,” he said.
He encourages anyone battling cancer or illness to try to do the same.
“Look up and keep on fighting, and don’t lie down or think it’s over — because it’s not. Think of a good future and the outcomes.”
For more information about the benefit, call 293-7804.
Email Miranda Orso: firstname.lastname@example.org