Washington farmers harvest crops for neighbor who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer

Larry Yockey owns a 1,200-acre farm in Ritzville, Wash. And this year, it seemed like many of those acres would go unharvested. 

Yockey, 63, was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in February, KREM 2 News reported. The skin cancer soon spread to his bones, leaving him with a broken hip and ribs. 

As harvest season approached, many of Yockey's neighbors began asking him if he'd be able to tend to his wheat fields this year. 

“I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to harvest like I did in years past,” Yockey told KREM. “I finally had to tell them, ‘No.’”

Then those neighbors jumped in with a solution. About 60 of them showed up to Yockey's property last weekend, ready to work. 

“I wasn’t hesitating a bit,” Mike Doyle, one of Yockey’s neighbors, told KREM. 

The group of farmers labored in Yockey's fields all day Sunday, completing an estimated three weeks of work in just six hours. The surprise favor was in the works for months, according to CBS News

"They stepped in unbeknownst to me and said don't worry about the harvest, we'll handle it for you," Yockey told KHQ News.

Yockey's daughter, Amanda, said her father has been harvesting the fields since 1988. She told KHQ it was difficult to see Larry lose his ability to work, but also said she was overwhelmed by the support their family received. 

"Words can't describe what this community has done for my family," Amanda Yockey told KHQ.

Larry Yockey also had trouble putting his thanks into words. 

“It’s just awe-inspiring to see how fast these fields are evaporating now,” he told KREM. “Just gratitude. It’s not describable the gratitude I have for what’s going on.”  

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