Sarah DeBord lived with stage IV colon cancer since November of 2011, when she was diagnosed at the age of 34. She knew early on that there was no way out of this disease and that it would probably take her life.
Tom Scott: Giving all he had and finding all that matters most.
A lot has changed for Tom in the past 3 years.
Three years ago, his wife, Dani, was diagnosed with breast cancer and given 3 years to put her ‘affairs in order.'
Early in the spring of this year, two and a half years after her diagnosis, Dani passed away.
Logan Greene: Talking a lot and saying more.
In a year of monumental, global upheaval, where COVID-19 grips the world, and calls for social justice tear at the fabric of our society, people want to get out, but they’re told to stay in. They want to speak, but they’re told to cover their mouths.
The world of certainty is no more, and nobody can tell you for certain when it will be back.
Amid this chaos, the Greene's world was flipped upside down too.
Allison Breininger: beyond the pain, the fear, the unknown, finding the grace to accept her role and recognize her own limitations as a caregiver, and sharing those truths with other caregivers.
When she was younger, Allison marveled at the exciting and interesting lives others had.
She’d grown up a pastor’s child in a town in Indiana, in a stable family, where ‘nothing’ interesting ever happened to her, and she expected the rest of her life would progress as it always had.
Erik Therwanger: caregiving, one goal at a time. Building on the momentum of hope.
Erik Therwanger is all about setting goals and meeting them, then building on that momentum to do even greater things.
He’s all about giving back, serving others, and looking forward, with hope, toward the future.
Brian Zahn: From real love to real loss, to learning to live again - for their son and because that’s what she would want!
Somewhere between classes, tests, parties, and everything else that goes on when young people go off to college, Brian and Melissa met.
It was 2005 on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
They had their whole lives ahead of them.
Mark Mattson: Looking back with fondness and love. Looking forward with courage and resolution, knowing that she will always be with them!
High school sweethearts
They met in high school through mutual friends. Soon after, they started dating and continued dating through college.
“We just hit it off and dated through high school, without all the drama of breakups and getting back together. We just got along well and were a great fit together.”
Ishmael Israel: Dreams interrupted by parent’s worst nightmare. Waking up every day now, thinking: ‘it’s the first day of the rest of my life.'
Ishmael Israel has spent much of his life helping others.
Over the past 2 decades, he has advocated for people in his community and around the country through his work with the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC) and the Umoja Community Development Corporation (UCDC).
At NRRC, he first volunteered for years and later answered the call to serve as Interim Executive Director. It was in this role that he met his wife, Julia.
NRRC is a nonprofit organization that serves Near North and Willard-Hay neighborhoods in Minneapolis, encouraging economic development projects for residents in those neighborhoods.
“NRRC allowed us to represent our community when dealing with the city of Minneapolis, but we founded another nonprofit called Umoja Community Development Corporation that was not bound to a certain geographic area so it allowed me to advocate for policy change nationwide.”
The First Year of Grieving
By: Heather Erickson
Today, April 26th, marks the first anniversary of my husband’s death. What a difference a year can make in your life. At this time last year, I was running on very little sleep. I was so afraid that he would die while I was asleep on the couch next to him. By the day he did die, I was so tired that I asked his brother to come and stay with him while I took a nap. Another hour later, and the nurse arrived. She told us that it was time.
Rich Anderson: Breaking down, reaching out, living each moment to its most, every day.
It was 2017, two years into their cancer journey, and Rich was feeling the weight of it all. He was struggling, trying to parent their daughter, Brielle, run a successful and growing business, take care of ‘business’ at home, and be the sole caregiver for his wife, Ali, who had colorectal cancer. Ali had undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation over the years and had just completed major surgery that had failed to cure her cancer.
He was starting to lose it.
That’s when a friend suggested he get in touch with a guy who ran a local nonprofit that supports men who are caring for a loved one with cancer. That’s when he met Kyle Woody, founder of Jack’s Caregiver Coalition. It was a meeting that changed his caregiving outlook.
He couldn’t do it all. He began to accept help.
He wasn’t alone. He found others out there who ‘got it’ and who he could talk to.
The weight became a little bit lighter.