Terminally ill woman fears her death will leave daughter, dozens of cats homeless

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — A McCracken County, Kentucky, woman who is dying of stage four cancer says when she passes away, her family will lose their house — leaving her adult daughter and their many cats homeless.

Janelle Glisson has been battling colon cancer since 2013. Her husband passed away before she was diagnosed, so Glisson’s daughter, Tracy Parnell, moved in to be her full-time caretaker. But, it’s been especially hard on Tracy to watch her mom suffer.

“If you were losing your mother or your daddy, how it would affect you, you know? It’s all of a sudden, bam, it hits you in the face. You know, ‘Hey, you’re not going to live here much longer,’ It’s a very trying time,” said Glisson. “Might be tomorrow. It might be next week. Might be several months or so forth. I just don’t know.”

Glisson and Parnell also have dozens of cats at their home, at one point having about 38. Parnell says the reason they have so many cats is because, in addition to their own, they’ve been caring for cats that were abandoned in the area. Those cats later gave birth.

Glisson says her cats provide a lot of comfort.

“They make me laugh. Whenever you’re lonely, they’re there when you’re sick. They’re there to be with you, and they’ll lay by me sometimes like they know I’m sick and I’m dying,” said Glisson. “They come get in your lap, sit on your lap, and love on you like they know what you’re going through.”

Glisson says, because she has a reverse mortgage, her family will lose the home when she dies, unless Parnell can pay $43,000. But, with Parnell being a full-time caretaker for her mom, she does not have the money.

“If by some grace of God in some way that we can come up with the money or somebody helps us or something, my mom can save her house. That way, the house will be fine. I’ll be fine. I’ll have the house, and I’ll have the area for all our babies,” said Parnell.

Glisson and Parnell want to do everything they can to keep their home and their cats. But, if that’s not possible, they want to at least find good homes for their felines.

“If you adopt them, take care of them. Love them like we loved them, and just hold them close to your heart like we have,” said Glisson. “They’re used to being in this house, and having a good home and being taken care of. As you can see, they’re very lovable.”

Hearing about what the family is going through, local animal group the McGangsters has been providing cat food for the family, paying for spaying and neutering, and helping the family find new homes for the cats. Of the 38 or so cats the family originally had, the McGangsters has found new homes for about 12 of them.

“Maybe in life, those of us that are a little more fortunate, if we can, can take a little step toward helping those with less or almost nothing,” said Kevin Headrick, who founded the McGangsters along with Jim Gatlin. For the past six years, the two men and some volunteers have been feeding and caring for feral cats across McCracken County. The group is called The McGangsters because they started out by caring for feral cats at a McDonald’s restaurant. The group now feeds about 70 cats every morning and every evening at six locations.

The McGangsters group is continuing to help Glisson and Parnell with their cats, including finding new homes for them. Anyone interested in adopting or providing assistance can contact Headrick at gomango70@bellsouth.net or visit The McGangsters Facebook Page. You can also drop off items, like cat food, at PPG Paints at 705 Kentucky Ave. in Paducah.

Anyone who wants to help Glisson’s family can donate to an account at any Paducah Bank location.  Your check should be made payable to the Janelle Glisson Benefit Account.  The family would also like us to let you know that no GoFundMe accounts have been authorized by the family.

Those interested in helping can also call the family at 270-554-7854.

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