TOPEKA (KSNT) – A beloved business in Topeka is closing its doors not just from the effects of the pandemic, but because one of the co-owners is dealing with a major medical issue.
Steve Stutzman co-owns the Stutzman Leather Shoppe with his wife Rachel. He also works as the director of facilities for the Topeka Rescue Mission. Now, he has the community to thank for supporting his recovery from a serious illness.
Stutzman went into the hospital on July 1 believing he had kidney stones. It turned out he was suffering from a tumor on his pancreas. Doctors said he could try chemo, but that surgery wasn’t an option. He began to seek other options and ended up finding Hope 4 Cancer, an organization that uses holistic treatments based in Mexico.
Without insurance in the country, his family began to fundraise, and they decided it was time to close their store.
“Just an incredible outpouring of generosity and support from friends and family,” Stutzman said. “We were able to get the money to go down to the clinic.”
When he was supposed to leave, his gallbladder needed to be removed, another hassle in the recovery process. But in the end, the treatment ultimately helped him.
“We were down there for 3 weeks and the report we got at the end was very encouraging,” Stutzman said.
The NOTO Arts District, Open Way Church and the Topeka Rescue Mission will hold a fundraiser for Stutzman on Thursday. There will be a fish fry in Redbud Park in NOTO put on by a professional chef.
The store is now in liquid sale, and the owners plan to close by the end of October. The store is located at 840 North Kansas Avenue.