As a fixture in the downtown community for many years, John Ray is most known as the guy behind the counter at Cheap Thrills here in Fayetteville.
John had cancer several years ago and was treated with heavy and extreme chemotherapy which left his heart weakened. After multiple unsuccessful heart stints, he finally had to have open heart surgery a few weeks ago on July 1st. Unfortunately, he has no health insurance.
So after years of helping others find the best-fitting vintage jacket or the perfect costume for a party, it’s John that’s in need of help now. And in an effort to provide some relief from the mounting medical bills, one local individual has organized a fundraiser that will take place later this month.
“John and I are good friends and if anyone deserves some help, it’s him,” said Taylor Housley Sutton, a stylist at Dead Swanky Salon. “I knew that a lot of people wanted to help, but no one had taken steps to get something started.” So she began throwing ideas around and came up with the “I Heart John Ray” campaign.
The fundraiser is set to take place at the Dickson Theater on Thursday, August 13th at 7pm. Tickets are $25 each and are available at Cheap Thrills, Dead Swanky Salon, or at the door the night of the event. There will be live music by Lloyd Marley, A Good Fight, and Matt Buell, as well as a cash bar and food from Boar’s Nest Barbeque, Little Bread Co., and Kelly Russell, a local pastry chef. There will be a raffle and a silent auction with items from local businesses.
“So many people around town love John and Cheap Thrills. I have had people coming out of the woodwork to help me out,” said Sutton.
John is currently back in the hospital battling double pneumonia in his lungs and it’s uncertain whether or not he’ll even be able to attend his own fundraiser.
Besides purchasing a ticket to the event, anyone interested in helping out can make a donation through an Arvest Cares account under the “John Ray Fund” that has recently been established.