Elderly man with cancer calls 911 because he has no food

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Credit: WTVD

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — An 81-year-old North Carolina man spent months in the hospital being treated and rehabilitated after a cancer diagnosis.

WTVD reports that when Clarence Blackmon, who weighed 115 pounds, finally returned home he was hungry and opened an empty refrigerator. So, he called 911.

“I can’t do anything,” he told 911 operator Marilyn Hinson. “I can’t go anywhere. I can’t get out of my…chair.”

Hinson told Blackmon they would bring him some groceries.

“He was hungry. I’ve been hungry. A lot of people can’t say that, but I can, and I can’t stand for anyone to be hungry,” Hinson told WTVD.

Blackmon asked for cabbage, cans of beans and beets, popcorn, tomato juice and soft drinks.

Hinson went to the store herself and with the help of local police officers delivered them right to Blackmon’s door. She even made him some sandwiches.

“It was like a little miracle ringing in my ear,” Blackmon told WTVD. “I thought, ‘Jesus, you answered those prayers’.”


  • ....

    Wow! So many more people in the world need compassion thank goodness the operator was understanding and didn’t just hang up the phone because that man could be still starving and alone. I hope the man and the operator become friends so he’s not alone.

    • Annie Mezsick

      Larvae, you nailed it on the head! Someone dropped the ball big time! Why wasn’t social services all over this? A frail 91 year old, living alone, suffering from cancer, is discharged to an empty home without checking on his situation? I’m in my 50’s and two years ago I broke my pelvis, I live with my adult son, we have an adequate income and my son is very capable to take care of me if needed, yet, I just about had to fight off social services! They were so worried about my safety, and ability to prepare meals, just activities of daily living. Yet that hospital did nothing for this 91 year old man? Shameful!!

  • Mel

    This is so sad that our elderly need to call 911 to get help for food. I commend the wonderful woman that helped him! Please people, get to know your neighbor, if they are elderly and alone or disabled this could save their lives one day. And its also good to know that someone out there is looking after you.

  • Kelly

    I don’t believe hospitals do much d/c planning when they go home directly from the hospital. They may make a referral to a local human service department but it can take weeks for an assessment due to funding and low staff ratio. I am a social worker and these are questions we ask about prior to d/c planning and attempt to set up services. At times some people refuse assist due to not wanting to pay for services if they don’t qualify for government assistance. It’s not always the fault of medical professionals. There is also a huge shortage of home health workers. Glad someone was able to help him and hopefully they set up some referrals for the future.

  • Sherry

    I hope the hospital gets dinged by Medicare for not making sure this man had a safe environment to go home to. Totally against the law.

  • Denise Hilty Stevens

    God Bless he 911 operator and the Police and the elderly 81 year old man who had no one else to call.. Shame on the rehabilitation center for releasing him without making sure he was properly stocked up at home until he was recovered.

  • Ravonda Medley

    If anyone in interested I have established a Go Fund Me account in Mr. Blackmons name to assist with food and medical expenses. gofundme.com/feedclarence PLEASE SHARE

    I am searching for information about his exact location/contact in Fayetteville, NC so that I can notify him about the account. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • Elizabeth

    I have been trying to contact the Fayetteville non emergency number to get info about how I can help. The police department phone just keeps ringing no answer
    Does anyone know who to contact I would love to help.

    • guest89

      Try WTVD, the station that reported this story. Or try the city of Fayetteville’s official website, or call their city hall. Cumberland County, where Fayetteville is located, must surely have a social services dept. that could help.

      • guest89

        WDTV posted a story this morning, stating that Mr Blackmon is now being well taken care of. He himself has asked that donations be sent to the Salvation Army. ‘”I want everyone that goes hungry, or lives under a bridge, at least they can go to the Salvation Army. They can get some good food,” said Blackmon.’

  • H. Mueller

    Poor fellow. These are the type of people that we should be helping, people who are old, frail, ill, and unable to help themselves. Not so much for able bodied lazy people who make welfare a career and bleed the taxpayers to death. These cops are good people, as most cops are, I would say more than 99% or them are good people such as these.

  • Bill Moyer

    The man really messed up! Now adult social services will be all over him trying to get him into a nursing home saying it is for his own safety, he should have called a church. Never call the cops! He will be sorry! So sad!

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