Spotlight on Dustin Cesarek: A Jack Story Presented by AARP
A Jack's Founding Story, Part 3
Spotlight on Justin Nicolay: A Jack Story Presented by AARP
A Jack's Founding Story, Part 2
September, 2013 - he was 8 months into it.
Michelle, his wife, had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of Stage IV melanoma in February. They had an infant son. Treatment options were limited and would be horrific; the odds of surviving a year were in the single digits.
In the cancer world the saying no one fights alone is commonly used, that is a true statement as your caregiver is right next to you. Going through each treatment, scan and scare. They go through the same emotions as a cancer patient whether they show it or not. For example, my last scan Eric asked me if I was ok I was like I’m scared for the results and he said everything will be ok, we’ll get through each hurdle what ever that may be. Him asking me that pretty much told me he was scared too, even though he never said it.
Written By: Ashley Schepers
Allan Hammell has always liked to fix things. He’s good at it. It’s a trait that has served him well, in his personal life and in his career as an engineer and project manager.
“When I encounter a problem, that’s when I go into ‘problem-solving’ mode,” says Allan.
And that’s usually the end of the problem.
So, this past spring, when his wife, Hilary, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroendocrine Lung Cancer, he naturally started working, trying to ‘figure it out.’ He went into ‘problem-solving’ mode.
Says Allan, ‘at times, this is helpful and I’m usually able to solve the problem, but it’s been tough, because stage IV cancer isn’t a normal problem. It’s not something I can solve!”
A Little Light in Heavy
[It started slowly as we caught up to where we had left off the last time we talked.]
[Just] Mike: The last time we talked, we were talking about the fact that guys, in general, don’t like to ask for help; they basically don’t reach out, even when they need help. One of your statements was that it is a strength to admit that you need help; it doesn’t show that you’re weak, because no one can do everything on their own.
The first time he met her, she laughed in his face.
It was a cold, January morning in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, in 1992. Dan Cramer was working for a political campaign at a Democratic meeting at the local Holiday Inn, and between presentations, he spotted what he describes as a ‘really beautiful young woman’ sitting at a rival campaign table. He walked up to her, in his brand-new suit and tie (something that made him stand out at the mostly informal event) and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Dan Cramer. I don’t believe we’ve ever met.”
That's when she laughed in his face. That was it or so he thought.
“I remember being in the doctor’s office,” Eric begins. “The oncologist and healthcare coordinator came in, and I knew it wasn't good by the look on their faces. Ashley was holding Madelyn when we got the full cancer diagnosis. They gave us the news, started talking about survivorship, and asking us all sorts of questions.
“I remember thinking that I was going to be a single dad to a new baby. I’m like, ‘how are you going to do that, Eric?’
“I got up, said I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to get out of the room. But I also knew I couldn’t leave. I’m standing there, and the next thing I know, I passed out.
“I wake up and nurses are checking my blood pressure and I’m saying, ‘Don’t worry about me - Ashley’s the one who’s sick.’ I’m looking over to her. She comes over, holds my hand and says, ‘Live with no regrets.’ That was something my dad used to say.
“I knew that from that point on, whatever happened, everything was going to be okay.”
It wasn’t a big thing. Many people may not have even noticed it. They might have just turned their heads, stared through the dusty, bus windows and gotten lost in the Peruvian mountainside and the music playing in the one earbud.
To Andrés, though, it was a lasting, meaningful impression that would stay with him throughout his life.
And Eva had just made it.
The Meysembourgs came into 2018 on a high note.
Their daughter, Mila, was born 3 months earlier, in October, and Nick just became partner in a sales company he’d worked at for over 11 years.
They were on a roll.