Poker tournament to benefit Wood County man

Mike McIntyre of Wood County appreciates the prayers and support as he battles pancreatic cancer.

Friends, co-workers, former co-workers and even people McIntyre did not know have raised money for the McIntyre family through events such as the pancake brunch benefit Feb. 18 at First Baptist Church in Williamstown.

“I am grateful. The support has been a blessing,” McIntyre told me on Thursday.

McIntyre, who lives near Williamstown along West Virginia 2 North, celebrated his 51st birthday on Friday.

He has had four rounds of chemotherapy in hopes of shrinking a tumor in his pancreas before having the Whipple Procedure to remove the tumor.

Backwoods Poker Club in Torch, Athens County, is hosting a benefit Texas Hold’em poker tournament for McIntyre beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday. Even if you do not play poker, the fundraiser also will feature spaghetti, hot dogs, desserts, 50/50 drawings and raffles.

The poker club building at 4645 North Torch Road is situated a short distance off the Torch exit of U.S. 50 West, across from the Torch rest stop. Signs will be posted in the area.

McIntyre enjoyed playing Texas Hold’em on Saturday nights at the nonprofit Backwoods Poker Club before his cancer diagnosis. Larry Buck of Torch built the community building and enjoys playing the “non-gambling” poker as a way to relax “for a couple of hours.”

Buck said Sunday’s poker tournament and dinner for McIntyre is a way to help “a good guy.”

McIntyre said the people he had been playing poker with at Backwoods Poker Club are “good people” and that the Saturday evenings there were fun, with good food. “It’s not like gambling,” he said of the poker games.

Buck rents out the building for parties, wedding receptions and other community functions. A quilting class used the building to watch the opening night of the Winter Olympics this month.

The Saturday night poker games attract about 20-25 players, men and women, from Ohio and West Virginia, Buck said.

McIntyre said he plans to attend Sunday’s fundraiser in Torch.

McIntyre also plans to attend today’s 46th annual Davis Anderson Memorial Cub Scout Pinewood Derby at Grand Central Mall. He wants to enter a car he helped to build for his 11-year-old daughter Ashtyn, who raced it in the recent Girl Scouts’ Powder Puff Derby.

Ashtyn’s teal green car carries a sticker stating, “I race for my Dad!”

McIntyre said he was diagnosed with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer on Dec. 20, 2017.

He had lost weight and noticed other physical changes but wasn’t overly tired and the pain wasn’t severe, McIntyre said.

McIntyre’s message to others is: If you don’t feel well or notice changes in your body, get checked by a doctor. Listen to your body.

McIntyre’s co-workers at Dominion Energy (Hope Gas) have supported him in his cancer battle. They have helped to raise money by selling McIntyreStrong shirts and provided the McIntyre family with gift cards.

Employees at the Beverly Center in the Fort Frye Local School District, where McIntyre’s wife, Shelly, works as a teacher, have provided meals for the McIntyre family and have given them gift cards.

He appreciates the ladies group at First Baptist Church in Williamstown for putting together the pancake brunch benefit and selling T-shirts last Sunday.

McIntyre said his cancer fight and the kindness of others have given him a new perspective on life.

“People take good care of others,” he said, adding his experience has opened his eyes.

Any encouragement displayed by others helps him, McIntyre said.

“I am asking the Lord to heal my body. I am trying to beat this,” McIntyre said.

Contact Paul LaPann at