Jack Bankston, the terminally ill Durham man who feared losing his apartment after a major rent hike, has raised enough money to remain in his home.
Bankston, 70, who has pulmonary disease and a heart condition, reached out to local media last month. After his story went public, donations and offers to help poured in.
An online campaign raised about $13,000, enough for Bankston to remain in the Berkeley at Southpoint apartment where he has lived for the last 15 years. The money will go toward the $145 rent increase he received earlier this year, raising his rent from $950 a month to $1,095.
“I’m grateful,” Bankston said. “There’s enough to stay the next year.”
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He had been given until March 13 to tell management whether he would stay or leave.
Bankston is too sick to move and had said, living on a fixed income, he could not afford it. His hospice aids, including nurses and doctors, and his power of attorney lobbied the apartment complex and owner David King to freeze the rent to ease the burden.
The increase would be “devastating,” Duke HomeCare & Hospice wrote King in a January letter. Bankston’s “greatest wish is to be able to live out his final days in the apartment that he has enjoyed over the last 15 years,” the letter said.
Attempts to reach the apartment complex management or its owner for comment were unsuccessful.
Bankston said he harbors no ill will.
After neighbors heard his story, they anonymously delivered groceries to the office to be taken to his home.
Strangers even chipped in to help pay part of the vet bill for his ailing pet Pomeranian Casey, his “best friend.”
Bankston is trying to get life back to some sense of normalcy after the recent events. He said it hasn’t been a “cakewalk” going public in his condition but it paid off.
“I don’t think any of it should have happened in the first place,” he said. “All I needed was a hand.”