'Joe the Plumber,' Who Confronted Obama Over Tax Plan in '08, Diagnosed with Cancer


Ohio native Joe Wurzelbacher, known as “Joe the Plumber,” is fighting Stage 3 pancreatic cancer according to a fundraiser set up to benefit his family.

Wurzelbacher made national headlines in 2008 when he confronted then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at a campaign stop near Toledo.

“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes about $250,000, $270,000, $280,000 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Wurzelbacher asked.

Obama conceded under his proposal the plumber’s taxes would go up for anything he earned above $250,000.

He went on to point out his plan would reduce taxes for lower wage earners.

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“I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Obama said.

The Washington Examiner reported that Wurzelbacher’s name played prominently during the final debate between Obama and Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona as the two jousted over tax policy.

A GiveSendGo campaign looks to raise $50,000 for Wurzelbacher, who is currently being treated for pancreatic cancer at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital and the University of Michigan Hospital.

According to the site, Wurzelbacher, an Air Force veteran, went to the Ann Arbor VA Hospital in December with stomach pains.

His wife, Katie, recounted, “Joe had been having stomach issues for about 3 months, which eventually became painful. On December 26th, he’d had enough of the pain and we went to the VA emergency room in Ann Arbor.”

“They ran tests and performed scans which showed a mass in the head of his pancreas. The mass was restricting one of his biliary ducts, so they classified it as Stage 3 cancer,” she said.

“They also found that his SMV [a vein that drains blood from the small intestine] had a large blood clot. His current treatment plan is 6 months of Folfirinox chemotherapy and surgery to remove half of his pancreas and reconstruct the vein with the clot.”

Katie wrote that the treatments Wurzelbacher has received make him nauseous, and he has lost 70 pounds.

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Joe and Katie have three young children and his father also lives in their home.

“As a community of friends, we have set up this Medical Campaign to support Joe and Katie during these months when Joe is not able to work,” the fundraiser read.

“We are hoping to raise funds for monthly expenses and are asking for the incredible blessing of helping secure funds and volunteer skill workers to help finish their basement for Joe’s dad.”

So far over $11,000 has been raised.

“I’m just pleasantly surprised so many people have reached out and very humbled, to be honest with you. I didn’t realize I touched so many people,” Wurzelbacher told the Daily Caller News Foundation concerning the fundraiser.

“The prayers are incredible, that’s what’s going to get me through this,” he added. “It just shows how many good people are out there that are willing to help other people. That in itself is pretty awesome.”

Those who would like to contribute or leave messages of encouragement can do so here.

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