‘Joe The Plumber,’ Who Famously Confronted Obama Over Taxes, Was Diagnosed With Cancer

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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  • A fundraiser began for Joe the Plumber, a conservative activist who questioned President Barack Obama about his tax plan during the 2008 campaign, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
  • The fundraiser hopes to raise $50,000.
  • “I’m just pleasantly surprised so many people have reached out and very humbled, to be honest with you. I didn’t realize I touched so many people,” Wurzelbacher told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

An online fundraising campaign is hoping to raise $50,000 to support a conservative activist and his family as he undergoes cancer treatment, according to its website.

Joe Wurzelbacher, known as “Joe the Plumber,” was diagnosed with Stage 3 Pancreatic cancer and is currently being treated at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital and the University of Michigan Hospital, according to the GiveSendGo. Wurzelbacher became a known name during the 2008 campaign after questioning President Barack Obama about whether his tax plan would cost him more, as he was considering purchasing a company that made $250, 270,000 per year, the Washington Examiner reported. (RELATED: Joe The Plumber Likes Trump: ‘He’s A Winner’)

“It’s not that I want to punish your success,” Obama had said. “I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success too.”

Wurzelbacher’s name was frequently mentioned during the second and third debates by both Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain, according to the Examiner. McCain put the media on blast during a campaign stop in New Mexico for attempting to dig into his past.

“By the way, did you see the way Joe the Plumber was attacked? Isn’t that remarkable? We saw this morning where they’ve accessed into […] his background. Remarkable,” McCain said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “Does that mean Americans can’t ask tough questions? Americans have the right to ask whatever they want to ask of our politicians who seek their support.”

“Joe had been having stomach issues for about 3 months, which eventually became painful. On December 26th, he’d had enough of the pain and we went to the VA emergency room in Ann Arbor,” Wurzelbacher’s wife, Katie, said, according to the fundraiser description. “They ran tests and performed scans which showed a mass in the head of his pancreas. The mass was restricting one of his biliary ducts, so they classified it as Stage 3 cancer. They also found that his SMV had a large blood clot. His current treatment plan is 6 months of Folfirinox chemotherapy and surgery to remove half of his pancreas and reconstruct the vein with the clot.”

The treatment causes Wurzelbacher to feel fatigued and, at times, nauseous, Katie said. He has lost 70 pounds.

“I’m just pleasantly surprised so many people have reached out and very humbled, to be honest with you. I didn’t realize I touched so many people,” Wurzelbacher told the Daily Caller News Foundation of the fundraiser.

Wurzelbacher is an Air Force veteran and became a plumber in Toledo, Ohio, where he encountered Obama during a campaign visit during the former president’s first election. The interaction launched him into a brief political stint during which he ran and lost to Democratic Rep. Macy Kaptur, the Examiner reported.

“As a community of friends, we have set up this Medical Campaign to support Joe and Katie during these months when Joe is not able to work,” the fundraiser reads. “We are hoping to raise funds for monthly expenses and are asking for the incredible blessing of helping secure funds and volunteer skill workers to help finish their basement for Joe’s dad. From Joe, Katie and all their family and friends, Thank you so much!’”

The fundraiser has currently raised more than $7,500.

“The prayers are incredible, that’s what’s going to get me through this,” Wurzelbacher told the DCNF. “It just shows how many good people are out there that are willing to help other people. That in itself is pretty awesome.”

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