As Cory Delp, 28, spoke of his stage IV melanoma, the tension in the air was broken up by his two little children.
Armed with bright magic markers, Samantha, 6, and Russel, 2, ran around trying to color everything in the room. From the dry erase board to colored construction paper to the finished wood table, they squiggled and wiggled from one space to the next.
They paid little attention to the serious issues their father talked about. They just wanted to color their world pink.
Synchronicity: Cory was born and raised in York County. He and his wife, Becky, live in Codorus Township and have been happily married for nine years. He is the family breadwinner, self-employed as a carpenter with G3 Delp.
The couple met at church but should have met several times before, as they were in the same place at the same time on multiple occasions. There's a spiritual aura around this family, which belongs to Grace Bible Church in New Freedom.
In August 2010, Cory was diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Since then, he has undergone several surgeries and treatments. He is now seeking alternative care -- not just for himself, but for his family.
"My biggest thing in my entire life is my kids," he said. "And I already see how this is affecting them. ... It hurts them."
The cancer: Since Cory couldn't see the unusual mole on his back himself,
it took a while for Becky's pleas to force him to go to the doctor to get it checked out. When he finally did, he found out that he had melanoma. Doctors told him the sun had nothing to do with his diagnosis -- one of the moles on his back just happened to be predisposed to cancer, he said.
According to the National Cancer Institute, just 16 percent of stage IV melanoma patients survive for five years.
Cory has had several surgeries to treat his melanoma. For instance, he said, the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, so doctors removed them from his right side. But without the lymph nodes, there is no barrier to protect the rest of his body from the spread of cancer in the future.
Although the outlook for patients with stage IV melanoma seems bleak, the Delp family hopes its prayers will be answered with a different course of treatment.
"I went from the lowest of lows to 100 percent confident," Cory said. "The amount of hope is unreal."
Oasis of Hope: Cory is now seeking treatment through the Oasis of Hope in Mexico.
The treatment at Oasis will feature vitamin C therapy to attack the tumor and a whole-food, plant-based diet to prevent and control cancer. The center uses a holistic approach, but doctors also perform chemotherapy and surgery, as well as CAT scans and bloodwork to gauge patients' progress.
Oasis has a 46 percent to 48 percent success rate, Cory said. The family heard about the treatment from a friend who underwent it 30 years ago and remains cancer-free.
Chemotherapy isn't very beneficial in treating melanoma, and the more effective drugs produce undesirable side effects, such as infertility and suicidal thoughts in some patients, according to the American Cancer Society.
"I'm totally convinced if we would've done those treatments, I would've been gone by now," Cory said. "It's kind of like burning a house down to get rid of a spider."
Cory said many people simply accept what their doctors tell them.
"I just want to be able to encourage people to take control of their own well-being," he said. "You need to not follow blindly."
Getting there: The Delp family has organized a benefit for Cory's treatment. Set for Wednesday at Heritage Hills, the event will feature a silent auction, and all proceeds will go toward his cancer treatment, which will cost close to $40,000. The Delps said their health insurance won't cover out-of-country procedures.
Family members started accepting donations for items and money last week. They said even people who don't know Cory are giving to his cause.
"Anything anybody does is awesome," said Laurie Delp, Cory's mother. "We just want to be overwhelmed."
Those who want to help the Delp family may attend the cancer benefit Wednesday, and any additional cash donations may be made at a Fulton Bank account in Cory's name.
-- Reach Mollie Durkin at email@example.com.
A benefit event to help Cory Delp pay for cancer treatments will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Terrace Room at Heritage Hills Resort, 2700 Mount Rose Ave.
Tickets are $35 per person and include admission, drink ticket and hors d'oeuvres.
The event will include a silent auction from 5 to 7 p.m. and a cash bar.
Knickers Pub & Grill will donate 15 percent of every bill for patrons with a flier toward Delp's treatments.