Customer initiates medical invoices from the GoFundMe for Contributor provider
A popular Franklin newspaper seller struggles with a melanoma diagnosis, and his customers are rallying around him with a fundraiser to help pay for medical bills.
Brian Wolz has sold Contributor newspapers to Franklin for the past decade, and he’s known throughout town for his kindness and positive, contagious attitude. Client Donna Willoughby launched a GoFundMe for Wolz in an effort to raise $ 10,000 for him. So far, she has received over $ 2,200 in donations.
“I’m still in shock,” Wolz said upon learning that Willoughby was fundraising for him. “Franklin is really good.”
Wolz is The Contributor’s best seller and even broke a world record for street newspaper sales. But a melanoma diagnosis, surgery and the pandemic have slowed its sales to a trickle, costing it three months of rent with other bills piling up.
“He’s just a very kind soul,” Willoughby said. “No matter what is going on in his past, he has a kind word to say.”
Willoughby and her husband previously owned a hardware store in Franklin, and she often saw Wolz selling newspapers. The two became friends over the years and she brought him food and drink while he worked.
When she learned that her diagnosis had put her out of work, she started fundraising. Her diagnosis was personal, as Willoughby herself had uterine cancer and friends and family died from the disease.
Wolz was diagnosed with melanoma in his arm six months ago. Three spots were on her elbow and spread to her wrist, but they were recently removed in surgery. His arm is tender and he is still months away from a full recovery. He slowly started selling newspapers again, going out a few hours a week, but it left the 61-year-old exhausted and in severe pain keeping newspapers and waving to customers.
“I’m still not out of the woods,” he said. “I’m on the right track. It’s a big turnaround from where it was.”
This isn’t Wolz’s first battle with skin cancer. He had already had it by ear two decades ago while working as a blacksmith. He was fired because he was unable to work in the heat after suffering heat stroke. But he enjoys working outdoors, which is why selling The Contributor is perfect for him.
Selling papers is not easy. Rain or shine, sleet or heat, it is held in downtown Franklin and sells newspapers for up to 5 pm a day. Earlier this year, the city aldermen discussed the limitation of street vendors in the downtown district, but declined the proposal, which would have reduced Wolz’s sales.
Wolz said he was grateful to his buyers and their kindness. When he previously sold newspapers in Nashville, he said people shot him with a paintball gun and threw beer at him. People don’t heckle him at Franklin.
“It’s hard to be there,” he said. “Sometimes you feel embarrassed or you don’t feel good, but you just have to go out, hold your head up high, smile and try not to let it be known. You have to be very positive and upbeat when you are around the corner. street, because you are in the public eye. ”