Mark Mattson: Looking back with fondness and love. Looking forward with courage and resolution, knowing that she will always be with them!
They were 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.”
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.
Last time I saw Bob, he was sharpening an axe and practicing trick throws at an axe-throwing event hosted by Jack’s.
Here I was, several years later, in the Dunn Brothers across town in Eagan, just waiting and wondering if there was more to Bob than what I'd seen of him that day.
Then he stepped into the place, and the entire table of people next to me yelled: “Bob!”
I did too. Why wouldn’t I?
I wondered: is this an Eagan thing or does Bob just command this type of excitement wherever he goes?
Bob Hinkle: dodging darkness, finding light in an enduring love.
He met her at the Renaissance Fair in 2002. She was working in a shop, and he was hanging out with some friends, waiting for one of them to buy something, and talking to everyone who would listen. He was getting impatient, though, and just as he was ready to throw his friend out of the shop, she walked in.
“I was awestruck,” Bob says. “Wow!”
She was Jan, the manager of the shop, and, of course, he talked to her, too. They talked for a short time and eventually exchanged numbers, Bob telling her he’d call her.
Michael Greene: Cancer caregiving, but then dealing with life, too. And then finding himself.
Chris Meuleners: happiness, sadness, hope, despair, and places between.
Caring for his wife, Amanda, who has been fighting AML Leukemia for over two years. Like the flip of a coin, never knowing if it's heads or tails, and living like it landed on its side.
Tony Peterson: Between Seasons
Tony Peterson loves all things outdoors and nothing beats duck hunting in the fall. To him, true beauty is a crisp fall morning, with the sun coming up over the swamp and the geese migrating South, forming patterns across the blue and white sky.
He’s preparing for something he never thought he’d have to prepare for: the passing of his beloved wife, Lynne, who is in the final stages of pancreatic cancer. She is the love of his life, his most cherished friend, who he not only loves but likes and respects and understands and cares for deeply – more deeply than he’s ever cared for anyone.
Through the tragedy of a terminal cancer diagnosis, the desperation of multiple failed treatments, the reality of facing their children with the truth of it all, a mission and hope shines through.