The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 5, 2013

Community rallies behind firefighter with cancer

EDMOND — A few weeks ago, Edmond Fire Capt. John Werhun returned from the MD Anderson Cancer Center with disheartening news.

In March 2008, Werhun had been feeling sick off and on for some time. His doctor suspected he might be suffering from something worse than a stomach virus. A couple of months later, the symptoms had gotten much worse.

On July 15, 2008, the day after undergoing a colonoscopy, Werhun was diagnosed with colon cancer. John and his wife Joyce had to break the news to their two daughters who were age 9 and 11 at the time.

An oncologist recommended that Werhun seek an opinion from MD Anderson. In August 2008, John and Joyce had their first appointment at the center. They were in Houston during their 17th anniversary; John’s weight had dropped to 152 pounds. The couple left feeling hopeful about his chances of beating the cancer.    

In May 2009, after chemotherapy, related surgery and a scan Werhun was declared cancer free. He returned to work, worked out and regained weight up to 200 pounds. The family had a great summer vacation in South Carolina.

In September 2009, Werhun had another clear scan.   

In January 2010, just a couple of months later, a scan showed small spots in both lungs and new spots on the liver, meaning they were fast growing. Werhun was told he had 9-12 months to live. He started chemotherapy again.

About a week ago, after meeting with the oncologist, the Werhuns were heading back from Houston. After nearly five years of battling cancer, the cancer was winning. Werhun learned his liver was not functioning properly. And there were too many tumors to remove with surgery.

In a recent update at, where Werhun has been updating family and friends, he wrote about his prognosis: “I may live anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. No one has guessed longer than 3 months, they’ve seen lots of this before, so I believe it.”

On March 27, Werhun posted and expressed his appreciation for all of the support he’s been getting from fellow first responders and the greater community including church friends. He wrote about planning for his funeral, seeing his body failing and the individuals pledging to help his family.

Werhun urged supporters to enjoy life, to have fun at whatever they are doing: “Make it so fun you just laugh half the day, that’s what I want for all of you reading this.”

Edmond Fire Maj. Bill Brown, who has known Werhun for eight years, said he is a professional for which others should aspire.

“He has always proven to be an inspiration to everyone that spends time with him,” Brown said. “Both professionally and personally, he is fast to respond and even quicker to serve. Always offering a quick smile and kind words, he draws people to him for his upbeat outlook and resilient pursuit of happiness.”

As a husband and father, few could match the unselfish dedication he has shown, Brown said.

“His love for his family has been demonstrated and reciprocated more than anyone could put into words,” he said. “Through his faith and love he is always a champion for which we should all hope to become.”

Edmond resident Andrew Martin works at the city’s emergency operations center. Martin said supporters are selling solidarity bracelets as a fundraiser and starting an “I pledge” campaign. On April 5, supporters donated $3 and dressed casual.

Other acts of kindness toward the family are encouraged, Martin said. They might include mowing their lawn for a year, helping with their taxes, ensuring their cars are safe to drive, making them a meal during the coming holiday season, cutting hair or working on their air conditioner unit, contributing to an education fund for the two girls. Martin pledged to pay for Werhun’s daughters’ prom dresses.

“I absolutely refuse to let John’s last thoughts be ones that question if his family will be OK when he is gone,” Martin said. “He was taken care of our families for years; it is our turn to help him.”

Financial donations can be made to the “John Werhun Family Support Fund” at any Citizens Bank of Edmond branch. For more information on helping the family, email Martin at | 341-2121

Text Only
Local News
  • Boston 1 Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

    A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Anne Josette Hill Police seek teen last seen in Edmond-north OKC area

    The family of a missing teenage girl made a plea to the public Friday to help them find the Casady honors student.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-19 Calendar

    For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results