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WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

Volume 108

Issue 27

W H Y W E R E L AY

WE HAVE SAID GOOD-BYE TO TOO MANY PEOPLE WE LOVED, WAY TOO SOON. WE HAVE FELT THE DESPAIR OF HELPLESSNESS AS WE WATCHED CANCER STEAL FROM US OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. WE RELAY TO BRING HOPE – HOPE FOR A CURE, SO THAT IN THE FUTURE, WHEN OUR LOVED ONES DIE, IT WILL NOT BE FROM CANCER, BUT FROM TOO MANY BIRTHDAYS. - THE UNITED POWER TEAM ■ THIS YEAR IS MY FIRST YEAR AS TEAM CAPTAIN FOR THE METALWEST STEELWALKERS TEAM. I STARTED WORKING FOR METALWEST A LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO AND JOINED THE TEAM UNDER MICHELE LUSSIER WHO HAS BEEN VERY INVOLVED FOR MANY YEARS AND IS HEADING UP THE CPS3 PROGRAM THIS YEAR FOR RELAY FOR LIFE. IT WAS AMAZING TO SEE ALL THE PEOPLE INVOLVED AND EXCITED ABOUT THIS EVENT TO HELP FIND A CURE FOR CANCER. I COULDN’T HELP BUT GET INVOLVED AS I’VE SEEN FRIENDS BATTLE CANCER OR WATCHED THEM AS THEY CARE FOR FAMILY BATTLING CANCER AND SOME HAVE CONQUERED AND OTHERS HAVE LOST THE FIGHT. - DARLA DUCOING - METALWEST STEELWALKERS ■ I LOVE DOING RELAY FOR LIFE. I RELAY FOR THE FUTURE! FOR KIDS & GRANDKIDS EVERYWHERE, MINE INCLUDED. A FUTURE WHERE THERE ARE CURES & TREATMENTS FOR ALL TYPES OF CANCERS. FOR A FUTURE WHERE WE WILL NEVER HAVE TO HEAR THE WORDS “YOU HAVE CANCER” AGAIN! - MONICA VAUGHN-REHM - GREATER BRIGHTON NEIGHBORHOOD VOLUNTEERS ■ THE RELAY FOR LIFE IS A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO CELEBRATE BEING A CANCER SURVIVOR. I FEEL SO HUMBLED TO WALK WITH OTHER CANCER SURVIVORS AND TALK WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST LOVED ONES TO CANCER. TEAM INDIAN SUMMER’S TAG LINE IS “DRUMMING UP HOPE, TO BEAT CANCER.” - LAVON WATSON - INDIAN SUMMER, TEAM CAPTAIN ■ MY REASON FOR BEING INVOLVED IN RELAY FOR LIFE IS SIMPLY THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE THAT I KNOW AND CARE ABOUT ARE STRUGGLING WITH, OR HAVE LOST THE BATTLE TO, CANCER. I WANT TO DO WHAT I CAN TO HELP FIND CURES AND PREVENTION. - LINDA YOUNG ■ OUR FAMILY JOINED RELAY FOR LIFE SEVERAL YEARS AGO BECAUSE MANY FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE LOST THEIR FIGHT WITH CANCER. WE CONTINUE TO HELP RAISE MONEY FOR THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY WITH THE HOPE OF HELPING OUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES THAT CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE BATTLE. - MIKE, LORI MASSEY AND MCKAYLA ANNESSER - TEAM MASSEY ■ I GOT INVOLVED IN THE RELAY SEVERAL YEARS AGO AS A CARETAKER FOR MY MOTHER. THIS YEAR, I DECIDED TO GO ONE STEP FURTHER AND DO THE RELAY UNDER MY BUSINESS NAME OF CC’S CERAMICS AND CRAFTS. MY SISTER, DONNA, AND I WANTED TO PAY TRIBUTE TO ALL OF THOSE WHO HAVE HAD CANCER AND SURVIVED OR FOUGHT THE BATTLE BUT LOST. OUR MOTHER, MARIE LIPPINCOTT (MANN), WAS DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST CANCER 35 YEARS AGO. AFTER A RADICAL MASTECTOMY, SHE HAS BEEN CANCER FREE SINCE. AT THAT TIME, RADICAL MASTECTOMY WAS THE PREFERRED SURGERY, AND CHEMO AND RADIATION WEREN’T USED MUCH. THE SCARRING WAS TERRIBLE, AND THE REHAB TIME WAS LONG AND PAINFUL. MOM WENT THROUGH ALL OF THAT AND WENT BACK TO WORK AT THE CLEANERS ON 4TH & JESSUP JUST 3 MONTHS LATER! SHE’S MY HERO, AND SHE DESERVES ANY APPRECIATION SHE RECEIVES. - CATHERINE STUART - CC CERAMICS AND CRAFTS ■ WE RELAY IN MEMORY OF THOSE WE HAVE LOST AND FOR THOSE THAT ARE STILL FIGHTING. - FRIENDS & FAMILY TEAM - JENNIFER CULVER, TEAM CAPTAIN ■ THE BRIGHTON HIGH SCHOOL REFLECTIONS YEARBOOK TEAM BECAME INVOLVED WITH THE RELAY FOR LIFE BECAUSE THE STAFF WANTED TO FIND AN ORGANIZATION AND CAUSE THAT THEY COULD GIVE BACK TO. BRIGHTON HIGH SCHOOL ITSELF STANDS BEHIND GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. THE YEARBOOK STAFF BELIEVES THAT WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THE RELAY FOR LIFE IS THAT OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO COME TOGETHER WITH OTHERS IN OUR COMMUNITY TO CREATE AND MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE A REALITY. - JUSTIN DAIGLE - BRIGHTON HIGH SCHOOL REFLECTIONS YEARBOOK TEAM ■ WE ARE PARTICIPATING IN RELAY FOR LIFE BECAUSE CANCER HAS IMPACTED THE LIVES OF SO MANY PEOPLE AROUND US. THIS IS OUR WAY TO STAND UP AND FIGHT WITH THEM. - PARTYLITE PARTY NITE ■ OUR TEAM GOT INVOLVED IN RELAY FOR LIFE TO RAISE MONEY FOR CANCER RESEARCH TO SAVE LIVES. OUR TEAM HAS FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT HAVE DEALT WITH THIS DREADED DISEASE. SOME OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS ARE SURVIVORS AND ONE IS CURRENTLY DEALING WITH BREAST CANCER. - ST. AUGUSTINE CANCER CRUSADERS

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Help Find A Cure

With your purchase of this week’s special edition of the Brighton Standard Blade, you are helping in the fight against cancer. All proceeds from this issue will be donated to support the Brighton Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

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2 Brighton Standard Blade

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

BRIGHTON SENIOR CENTER HAPPENINGS

575 B U S H S T R E E T • 303-655-2075 O P E N M O N . – F R I . 8:00

AM

– 4:00

HOPE - 2011 Brighton Relay For Life

Brighton residents can take part in cancer study Christine Hollister

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M EDICARE C OUNSELING If you need help with Medicare issues, receive one-on-one assistance with a SHIP counselor who is specially trained on Medicare programs. Call Ermie at 303-655-2079 to make an appointment with our SHIP counselor who is here on alternate Tuesdays from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Adams County residents with general question about Medicare can also call Centura at 303-629-4940.12:30-3:30 p.m. - Tues. July 12 & 26 - Free

M UFFIN M ADNESS What can you buy for a quarter these days?? Start off your day with a cup of coffee and a fresh baked muffin-all for only a quarter! Muffins are sold on the second Wednesday of the month and sales benefit the senior center. 9:00 a.m. Wed. July 13 - 25¢ each

S CRABBLE D ROP - IN Enjoy playing scrabble? Beat the heat and drop in on the 2nd and 4thWednesdays of the month to play with others who love the game. We currently have about 6-8 players that consistently play and have a great time! 1:00 p.m.Wed. July 13 & 27 - Free

F ISHING R ED F EATHERS Red Feather Lakes are a series of lakes at an elevation of 8,640 feet. The lakes contain brook, rainbow, and cutthroat trout, as well as other species. We will decide which of the lakes we will fish based on the current fishing report. Bring your fishing license, fishing gear, bait, sunscreen, folding chair, lunch and beverages. 6:00 a.m. Fri. July 15 - $5 Deadline: Tues. July 12

B Y R EQUEST - O RTHODOX F OOD F ESTIVAL The 8th annual Orthodox Food Festival in Globevilleoffers outstanding cuisine from Russia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Eritrea, Greece, and Mexico at food booths throughout Argo Park. Linger to enjoy free live cultural music, dance entertainment, and craft booths. Take a tour of the historical landmark Orthodox Church at 12:30 p.m.10:00 a.m. Sat. July 16 - $4 (plus meal $10+) Deadline: Wed. July 13

B RIGHTON S ENIOR C ENTER D AILY N OON M EAL Monday, July 11, 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, noon Choice I: Macaroni and Cheese One Choice: Enchilada Pie Choice II: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham Thursday, July 14, 11:30 a.m. Choice I: Bratwurst on a Bun Tuesday, July 12, 12:00 noon Choice II: Hamburger on a Bun One Choice: Pizza Burger on bun A hot, nutritious lunch with your choice of two entrees is provided by Volunteers of America, Monday through Thursday. Daily donations for meals are greatly appreciated – requested contribution is $2.50 per meal if 60 & older. Cost is $6.75 if under 60. Reserve your meal two days in advance by calling 303-655-2075 between the hours of 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday – Thursdays.

“Celebrating over 30 years of Carefree and Assisted Living at its best.” 2195 East Egbert St., Brighton, CO 80601 303-659-4148, www.inglenookatbrighton.com

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B

y enrolling in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 at the Brighton Area Relay for Life Friday evening, area residents will not only have the opportunity to honor their own loved ones who have battled cancer in the past and who will in the future. They will also be honoring local resident Michele Lussier, who was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in late June. Lussier had been working as the chairperson on the project since November. Colorado Springs resident Patti Phelps will take over the duties enrolling volunteers who would like to participate in the CPS-3 study at the Brighton Relay Friday. Phelps served as chair of the CPS-3 enrollment June 17 in Colorado Springs. “Michele has been a lifetime resident of Brighton and there are a lot of people who know her here,” she said. “What an awesome way to honor her hard work if all of these people come out.” The Brighton area was one of two spots in Colorado chosen to participate in the CPS-3. Volunteers are needed to participate in this long-term study, Phelps said, that will help researchers better identify the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer. CPS-3 will take place over

Remember, Celebrate Continue in the Fight Against Cancer

In Honor of Bev – An inspiration and blessing to others even in the midst of her own battle. And to all others like her! 628 E. Bridge St. Brighton 303-654-0882 We Support

the span of about 20 years. It will consist of completing mail-in or online surveys about once Michele Lussier every two years after the initial enrollment. Initial enrollment will take place at the Brighton Relay Friday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Brighton Recreation Center and participants can only enroll at the Relay itself. Initial enrollment in the study the night of the relay should take no longer than 20 minutes, Phelps said, and will consist of a short survey, waist measurement and a blood draw. About a week later, participants should receive a longer survey that they will need to complete and return. “What I love about this study is that it’s so simple and it’s so short,” Phelps said. “It’s such a simple, easy procedure that can have a huge impact on our future and our children’s future.” CPS-3 is the third of longterm studies that began in the 1950s. Some key findings from previous studies include: the discovery of the substantial connection between cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke on lung cancer and premature death; the first to show the significant impact of obesity on the risk of dying from cancer; the first to show the link between aspirin use and lower risk of dying from cancer; and the considerable impact of

Who’s eligible to participate in Cancer Prevention Study-3?

• Between the ages of 30 and 65 • Has never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer) • Needs to be available for 20 minutes July 8 between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. for initial enrollment at the Relay for Life of Brighton • Willing to make a longterm commitment, involving completing periodic followup studies at home air pollution on heart and lung conditions. “This is a wonderful way to see our research dollars in motion,” Phelps said. “With some things, you never get to see where your money is going and how it works. With this, you get to see where your money is going.” Phelps encourages area residents to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime study in honor of their loved ones, and for Michele Lussier. The goal for Brighton is to have 300 people signed up for CPS-3 by the end of the evening, she said. “Michele’s worked so hard, I think if we could do this for her, it would be really wonderful,” she said. “A lot of people wonder, ‘What can I do to help?’ If we meet her enrollment goal, then wow, I think that would be so helpful in her recovery.” Visit the Cancer Prevention Study-3 website at cancer.org/ cps3 for more information.


WWW.THEBRIGHTONBLADE.COM

BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE 3

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

HOPE - 2011 B RIGHTON R ELAY F OR L IFE

Seasons of Hope…

THERE’S STILL TIME TO SIGN UP FOR BRIGHTON RELAY

CHRISTINE HOLLISTER

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issy Levario, chairperson for this year’s Brighton Area Relay for Life, has an invitation for those who have never experienced a Relay event in the past. “Come and check it out and see what it is for yourself because there are no words to describe what it is,” she said. “You just have to see it and feel the energy and you understand what we’re fighting for.” This year’s event is Friday and Saturday at the Brighton Recreation Center. Levario said teams or individuals still interested in participating can do so up until the start of the event. Levario has been involved with relay events for eight years, but got even more involved after her grandmother died from cancer four years ago. “I was involved before, but it really didn’t hit me so hard until that happened,” she said. “If we can do anything to get rid of this I would do it.” Last year’s Relay brought in more than $90,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society. Levario said donations for this year’s event have come in ahead of schedule. They’ve seen more donations to date, as well as more teams than what was registered in the past—45 as of press time Tuesday, as compared to 38 teams last year. “This is such a great cause and we expect this year’s event to be really big,” she said. In addition, this year Brighton will be one of two locations in the state that will offer area residents the opportunity to participate in the Cancer Prevention Study-3. Enrollment is available on a drop-in basis from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. “We’re hoping to get some extra people because of the CPS-3 traffic and we hope we can retain some more people and get them on for the following years,” she said. Relay events kick off at 4:30 p.m. Friday with team and survivor registration. Opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m., followed by the survivors and caregivers walk at 6:30 p.m. and the team parade at 7 p.m. “A lot of times once you get there and experience it and understand what it is, you’re pretty much hooked,” Levario said. “It feels like such a family atmosphere.” The touching luminaria ceremony will be at 9:30 p.m. “My favorite part is definitely the luminarias,” Levario said. “They’re in honor

Missy Levario is serving as chairperson for the Brighton Area Relay for Life for the second year in a row. This year’s event is Friday and Saturday at the Brighton Recreation Center. P HOTO

of and in memory of people’s loved ones. It just kind of gets you right in the heart and puts everything in perspective.” A popular contest that began three years ago will repeat itself this year at 11 p.m. Friday. Formerly the Mr. Relay contest, the competition will return this year as the Mr. and Mrs. Relay contest. If they choose to participate, one male member of each team is eligible to

participate by dressing up as a woman or one female member of the team can dress up as a man. Competitors ‘beg’ for money from Relay participants. “Last year it turned into a dance contest between two guys,” Levario said. “I think that it’s really started to catch on.” Another new thing this year, Levario said, will be the frozen t-shirt contest at 8:15 p.m., where contestants have to

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unfold and put on a frozen t-shirt. There will be entertainment throughout the evening, as well as themed laps all night long including a pajama lap and a crazy sock lap. Levario encourages the community to stop by and see for themselves what Relay is all about. “And if people still want to sign up and be a team, they can,” she said.

2011 B RIGHTON RELAY FOR L IFE SCHEDULE Friday ■

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

4:30 p.m.: Team and survivor registration opens, turn in money, t-shirt pick-up for survivors, registration for endurance walkers 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.: Cancer Prevention Study-3 Enrollment 6 p.m.: Opening ceremony 6:30 p.m.: Survivors and caregivers walk 7 p.m.: Team parade with team banners 7:15 p.m.: Dinner and live entertainment 7:30 p.m.: Deadline to purchase luminarias 8:15 p.m.: Frozen t-shirt contest 9:30 p.m.: Luminaria ceremony 10:30 p.m.: Root beer floats 11 p.m.: Mr./Mrs. Relay contest

Saturday 12 a.m.: Midnight Bingo, end of bidding for silent auction items, midnight snacks ■ 12:15 a.m.: Holiday season lap ■ 1:15 a.m.: Glow stick lap ■ 2:15 a.m.: Pajama lap ■ 3:15 a.m.: Silent lap ■ 4:15 a.m.: Crazy sock lap ■ 5:15 a.m.: Favorite sports team lap ■ 6:15 a.m.: Noise maker lap ■ 7:30 a.m.: Breakfast ■ 8 a.m.: Closing ceremonies and awards ■


4 Brighton Standard Blade

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hope - 2011 B righton R elay F or L ife

‘Our Relay Life’

www.thebrightonblade.com

Local family fights back against cancer

Christine Hollister

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righton resident Dee Durland credits the Relay for Life for saving the life of her son who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer several years ago. “One of the drugs that was funded by Relay for Life was used to save my son’s life,” she said. “We learned first-hand that the money we work so hard to raise is paid back right here in our community over and over. When I raise money for Relay I know it comes back.” Dee’s son, Richard Brookman, had been diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma at the age of 37. “There was no treatment known and they basically told him to go pick a head stone as he would not see his children graduate or any of that,” Dee said. Self-described as “a very stubborn family,” Dee said she and her loved ones immediately began researching doctors, hospitals and treatments. “We were in the living room and I stood up and said, ‘No,’” she said. “In my gut I never had any doubt he would come through this. Accepting a death sentence was simply not acceptable to any of us.” The family learned about an experimental treatment and a doctor who was in the U.S. from Great Britain working on research for this type of cancer at Anschutz Cancer Research Center in Denver. “Richard was told up front that the treatment he would be getting was experimental and risky but he opted to accept the challenge,” Dee said. “It was a very difficult journey, but with the support of his entire family, the devotion of his wife and children, he made it through and is now in remission. He worked very hard to become a survivor.” Doctors had told Richard that he wouldn’t see his kids grow up, and now his children have graduated from college, Dee said. The family had experience dealing with cancer prior to Richard’s diagnosis. They had been dealt a couple of cancer blows previously, as first Dee’s brother, Dan LaPointe, died at age 49 of mesothelioma, a incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

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Brighton residents Dee and Ed Durland have seen cancer ravage their family but they are more determined than ever to help find a cure through events like the Brighton Relay for Life. Then, during the week of her brother’s memorial service, Dee’s husband, Ed, began complaining of not being able to sleep and simply not feeling well. She begged her husband to see the doctor, and when he did, he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. He is now in remission. And cancer still wasn’t yet finished with the family. In April of 2007, Dee’s sister became ill and within hours they diagnosed her with fast-growing ovarian cancer. She had major surgery and fought a courageous battle for the next two and a half years before dying from the disease in October of 2010. Most recently, Dee and Ed’s grandson, Matt Durland, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009 at the age of 18.

Read the inspirational story of Dee and Ed’s grandson, Matt, on page 11 Dee credits her husband for saving their grandson’s life. “He was with Matthew when he fainted and grandpa insisted he see a doctor,” she said. “Grandpa wouldn’t give up and made him go to the doctor.”

After months of treatment, Matt is also now cancer free. “Cancer changes every single aspect of your life,” Dee said. “Every day from that day forward, every dream, every plan, everything you do, it changes. “Sometimes at night I just have to sit in my bathtub and cry,” she said. “Then the next day you meet these gallant souls and I think, ‘What happens to me is so trivial compared to these people.’” But, Dee repeated, the Durland family is stubborn. They choose to stand up to cancer and one of the ways they do this is to be involved

in the Relay for Life. Dee served as chairperson of the Brighton event for two years and even has the Relay for Life logo tattooed on her ankle. Her five-year-old grandson commonly refers to the Relay for Life as “Our Relay Life.” It’s an unintentional slip that really does hold meaning—Dee said he’s been involved in Relay for as long as he can remember. And Dee and the rest of her family, by seeing the evidence through Richard’s recovery that it does make a difference, plan to keep Relay a big part of their lives

“Sometimes at night I just have to sit in my bathtub and cry. Then the next day you meet these gallant souls and I think ‘What happens to me is so trivial compared to these people.” Dee Durland Brighton Resident

in the years to come. “Prior to our journey, there was no cancer in our family and I, like everyone, believed it was a horrible thing that only happened to others,” Dee said. “Each of you will be touched with cancer at some point. This disease does not discriminate. That much I can promise you. I have seen infants sitting in their little seats getting chemotherapy right beside people in their 70s. “The thing to understand is that our family is not alone,” she continued. “In my time sitting with family as they got treatment, I have met so many families who share the same experiences. We are not unique. It can happen to everyone.” Dee said her family has learned the value of family and friends, to appreciate the moment and live each day to its fullest. “Let me tell you what,” Dee said. “We celebrate every birthday and we celebrate everything. “My son says it best when he tells people he would not wish his terminal illness on anyone, but he would wish his terminal experience on everyone,” she added. “It puts life in proper perspective.”


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BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE 5

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

HOPE - 2011 B RIGHTON R ELAY F OR L IFE

Taking Back Life: KEVIN DENKE

A YEAR AFTER CANCER DIAGNOSIS, SIMON LOOKS AHEAD TO THE FUTURE

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ongtime Brighton veterinarian Sheri Simon has taken some of life’s toughest blows over the past year. At the same time her 25-year marriage crumbled, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. But Sheri is standing tall in the face of her struggles. She has found new love, new faith and the courage to take back her life from a cancer that left the future uncertain. “My daily goal is to meet the world head-on and take on what needs to be taken care of that day,” Sheri said. “I thank God everyday that I have that day and it’s a blessing.” Sheri was diagnosed in June 2010 with biliary cancer (a cancer inside the bile duct of the liver). But the seeds of her cancer diagnosis were sewn about 18 years earlier shortly after the birth of her son, Lucas. Sheri was diagnosed with a disease that blocks drainage from the liver bile ducts. Doctors told her it meant that she would eventually need a new liver. She was placed on a liver transplant recipient list but was always on the lower priority side of the list. Other possibilities from the disease included ulcerative colitis, which Sheri developed, and bile duct cancer. “I was kicking along thinking I beat this thing. I’m never going to need a new liver and I’m doing great,” she said. And her year-to-year blood work seemed to bear that out, until last year. That’s when tests revealed elevated tumor markers. After a battery of tests spread out over a month, doctors determined it was – by process of elimination and because of her liver disorder – biliary cancer that spread to the lymph nodes. The difficult part was trying to grasp a cancer diagnosis when she didn’t feel ill. “I’d look in the mirror and I’d say, ‘I’m not sick. I don’t see

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Sheri Simon is overcome by emotion at a tribute in her honor at the 2010 Relay for Life. Sheri was diagnosed with cancer five days before the event and met an oncologist for the first time that day. that I’m sick,’” Sheri said. “It would be hard because I’d tell somebody and they’d say ‘Well, you look great,’ and I say, ‘But I’m not.’” The enormity of her diagnosis along with the other personal challenges she faced caught up with Sheri at last year’s Brighton Relay for Life – she’d met with an oncologist for the first time that day. That night, friends outlined Sheri’s name in candles in a show of support. She cupped her hands over her face and wept. “It was just huge to have seen that,” Sheri said as she fought back tears. “Knowing that people in the community had come together to share that support, it was just … wow.” She was adamant, despite the requests of others, she wouldn’t walk in the survivor lap. “I can’t walk in that lap. I literally just found out five days ago that I have cancer,” she told them. “They’re like, ‘You’re a survivor.’ “’No, not yet,’” she added. “I’m not convinced of that yet.” And Sheri – admittedly always the perceived strong one –

has needed to accept a new level of vulnerability, a willingness to accept help from others. “I’m not one to ask for help,” she said. “I pretty much, if I want to do it, I find out a way to get it done. There are just some times you can do it and you do need help. I had to figure out how to ask for help and willingly accept the help, too. It’s something she is still learning. She counts it as one of the biggest lessons of the past year. “I don’t really like being the strong person,” she says as her voice breaks. “I wish sometimes I wasn’t supposedly that strong person because I just feel like there’s a lot of expectation. ‘She’s a strong person. She can handle that.’ I can’t really handle this all the time. “It’s a little embarrassing to admit that you do have weaknesses, but I do,” she added. “Sometimes I just wish I could just curl up and let somebody hold me for a little while.” She leaned on the support of her new husband, Dave; her two children as well as her staff at Brighton Animal Clinic. There is an eagerness for

Sheri, 49, to embrace life in a new way. Her cancer comes with no prognosis and no odds to beat, which she admits can be frustrating especially from someone in the field of medicine. It also comes with no chance of remission. That’s not to say Sheri is not beating cancer. The

oral chemotherapy she is taking and will likely take for the rest of her life has greatly reduced the number of cancer cells in her body. But it will always be there. She and Dave planned to celebrate their first wedding anniversary (July 4) with a skydiving trip. They’ve also planned a trip to Alaska. She’s already fulfilled a dream of going on a hot air balloon ride. The ability to plan, to look ahead to the future is something that Sheri said cancer initially robbed from her but no longer. “I feel strong enough to say, ‘Yes, I’m going to be doing in this two years.’” Her newfound faith plays a huge role in the inevitable sense of mortality that envelops a cancer patient. She enjoys the confidence she finds in the Bible. She finds comfort in the promise of something greater when earthly life has ended. She’s not ready to call herself a survivor just yet. She will, however, participate in the survivor lap of this year’s Relay. And she is the leading individual fundraiser for this year’s Relay.

■ see SHERI page 18

1229 S. Fulton Ave. • Brighton, CO 80601

Honoring the ones who lost the fight and helping in the battle against Cancer

Expert advice

from your local community insurance agent. Hilda Chavez • Rick Meis Kacy Mitchell • Robyn Waterman

LSI Insurance Brighton 667 East Bridge St., Brighton

720-685-3438

www.lsibrokers.com

Proud Supportor of


OPINION

6 BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

WWW.THEBRIGHTONBLADE.COM

An emotional journey to the heart of our community

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his week’s paper should come with a warning label. Something to the effect of “Proceed with caution. Extreme emotional content ahead.” What a journey it has been over the past month for myself and features reporter, Christine Hollister, to put together this special Relay for Life edition of the Brighton Standard Blade. Yes, the idea of devoting an entire paper to one topic is out of the realm of what we normally do. The goal from week to week in the newspaper business is to put as much of a variety of different news into the papers as possible. This project, no doubt, prompted a change in mindset. But it was much more than that. The stories are alternately uplifting and heart-wrenching. Just as a cancer diagnosis or the struggle of having a loved one with cancer is an emotional roller coaster so is the process of sharing those stories. You look at the story of Dee Durland’s family and you wonder how much more cancer can one take before it breaks the spirit of a family? And likewise with former Brighton city manager Ron Hellbusch who has lost his beloved wife, Irma, and his daughter, Kylee, to cancer. You read the story of Brighton veterinarian Sheri Simon, battling a cancer without hope of a permanent cure or even a prognosis.

KEVIN DENKE EDITOR’S DESK Kevin Denke is managing editor of the Brighton Blade. Contact him at kdenke@metrowestnewspapers.com or 303-659-2522, ext. 225. How do you not become discouraged or bitter? We might have found lots of tears, lots of heartache but we found no bitterness. We also found hope. Hope in the future. Hope for a cure. Hope that, someday, we will vanquish this horrible disease that takes so much from us. That’s what this weekend’s Relay for Life is all about: hope. We’ve lost so much but, in the search for a cure, we will gain so much. We don’t need to tell you about cancer and its devastating impact. It’s touched us all. We’re honored to use our paper this week as a way to help work toward a cure. Thank you for sharing our hope.

Editorial

news@metrowestnewspapers.com

Managing Editor Kevin Denke

Office Fax Mail

303-659-2522 303-659-2901 139 N. Main St. Brighton, CO 80601

www.thebrightonblade.com Publisher

Allen Messick

Ext. 204

amessick@metrowestnewspapers.com

Ext. 223

chollister@metrowestnewspapers.com

Sports Editor

Steve Smith

Ext. 224

ssmith@metrowestnewspapers.com

City Editor

Gene Sears

Lussier grateful

Editor, I wanted to thank many people that sprung into action the day of my motorcycle accident. There was a car behind me when the accident happened and I want to start there. Thank you for stopping and calling 911. I apologize that you had to witness it but forever grateful you were there. Platte Valley Ambulance, Greater Brighton Fire and Brighton Police Department are next on my list of gratitude. You arrived quickly and took care of me with great care and consideration with very few clues of what my injuries were but paramedic Steve Steele reacted quickly and Carbon Valley Emily Dougherty

Ext. 217

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My family (immediate and extended) were there to support my husband and daughter during all of this. My family is not always defined by blood but, in this case, I had both blood relatives as well as those who are close enough to me to be called family. They supported my husband and daughter around the clock the first couple of nights and I am forever grateful. Lastly, the community of Brighton. All of the heartfelt wishes and prayers have been accepted whole heartedly and help during the 'tough' nights to get me through, knowing that people really do care. Michele Lussier and Family Brighton

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WWW.THEBRIGHTONBLADE.COM

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

HOPE - 2011 B RIGHTON R ELAY F OR L IFE

BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE 7

Up to the Fight:

CANCER SURVIVOR WOULDN’T LET ILLNESS GET THE BEST OF HER

KEVIN DENKE

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cancer diagnosis is perhaps the most devastating piece of news one can receive. It’s even worse when it comes over the phone. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like that at all,” said Phyllis Kildahl of her 2008 cancer diagnosis. “They should never tell anybody that way. You need that support. You need somebody there.” Her daughter Amy Frazier got the bad news from her mom via the telephone, too, as she drove through pouring rain. “She pretty much just said ‘I have cancer’ and hung up on me,” Frazier remembered. “I just started crying, called my best friend, she came over.” “I just kind of blurted it out,” Phyllis added. “I didn’t mean to say it that way.” “You couldn’t really talk to her that first day,” Frazier said. “I think that first day was the lowest day. Then the next day she was like ‘I’m not going to let this get me.’” Phyllis said all it took was the words of encouragement from her husband, Ted, that evening to get her mind refocused on what was ahead. “He said, ‘It will be OK, everything will be OK,’” Phyllis said. “After that, it was.” Phyllis, 54, beat cancer. If you ask her – despite some complications – she’ll tell you she beat it pretty easily. This year, Phyllis, who works at Platte Valley Medical Center, is part of the hospital’s largest-ever effort to support Brighton’s annual Relay for Life. “She’s got a wonderful story,” said hospital marketing director Mark Baros. “She certainly beat the odds.” Phyllis might be a relatively new cancer survivor but she’s a familiar face to some of Brighton’s older residents. Phyllis grew up in Fort Lupton, moved to Brighton after she was married and owned and operated the Chuckwagon Café from 1993 to 2000 on Fourth Avenue across from the former county administration building in Brighton. “We had a good business here in Brighton,” she said. “We (served) a little bit of everything.” The work of owning a restaurant was grueling but Phyllis loved it and still sees former customers from time to time. Business was so good that they started a second restaurant in Keenesburg. She leased the Keenesburg business but then the new lessee sold the building.

Cancer survivor Phyllis Kildahl, left, with daughter, Amy Frazier, overcame a cancer diagnosis that left her with a 40-percent chance of survival. P HOTO

“I look back on it, I was kind of upset when she sold the building out from under me, but then I got cancer, I didn’t have insurance. Things work out. I came here, got good insurance.” Phyllis has worked in the Silver Aspen Bistro inside PVMC for four years.

“Y

eah, cancer’s bad stuff,” Phyllis said when she reflected back on her own diagnosis. The official diagnosis was Stage 4 Metastatic Adenocarcinoma of an unknown primary. “A lot of words,” she said. The cancer was found in her back and in her side. The “unknown primary” aspect of the diagnosis meant doctors couldn’t determine where the cancer originated. “I felt fine, just had a side ache,” she said. The cancer was revealed during a CT scan. And, with treatment, Phyllis was only given a 40-percent chance of survival. “When you’re facing death, your whole life changes,” she said. “Things that you thought were important aren’t

as important anymore. Things like family and being able to do things you want to do that’s more important to me anyway. “You always think I’ll do it later,” she said. “You never know if you’re going to get that chance.” It changed her daughter as well. Frazier, who works as a surgical technician at PVMC, saw patients in a different light. “My job always makes me appreciate what I have because I always see people that are worse off,” Frazier said. “When it actually affects you, you become more caring, I think. Usually, it was just another patient, another patient. It’s not like that anymore for me.” Because the cancer is hereditary, it prompted Frazier, 35, to get a physical and drop 30 pounds of weight. “I started eating better, so, yeah, it changed me,” Frazier said. “It changed all my kids, I think,” added Phyllis, who also has two sons.

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hyllis beat her cancer with such ease – it was essentially gone after three chemotherapy treatments – she sometimes jokes with family members as to

BY

M ARK B AROS

whether doctors lied to her about really ever being sick at all. She did lose her hair during chemotherapy but that didn’t stop her from coming to work everyday, wearing a bandana to cover her bald head. There was a scary complication when a chemotherapy port – a small appliance used to painlessly administer medicine – broke off in her chest and nearly pierced her heart. There was also the mental aspect of fighting cancer. She saw fellow cancer patients lose their battles. “When you’re up there doing chemo, there’s other people doing it, too,” she said. “You’re up there in a big room. I’d be there one time and people were fine and then, the next time I’d go, they’d lost their battle. “Horrible,” she added. That’s why the Relay for Life effort and, more importantly, the work of the American Cancer Society that it supports is so vital to Phyllis. She has been a fundraising machine this year – raising more than $1,500 through bake sales and garage sales for one of the two PVMC teams.

■ see KILDAHL page 18


8 Brighton Standard Blade

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hope - 2011 B righton R elay F or L ife

www.thebrightonblade.com

Something to smile about: Dental office supports Relay effort Christine Hollister

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r. Mark Ehrhardt and the staff at his dental practice, The Art of Smiles at 27 South 18th Ave. in Brighton, had participated in the Brighton Relay for Life several years ago, but signing up again this year took on a whole new meaning. “In May, my wife was a four-year survivor,” Ehrhardt said. “It means a lot more when you have people where it hits home—it’s more personal. “She’s a breast cancer survivor, my grandfather died of cancer and her father is a cancer survivor as well. And my neighbor is going through chemo. It just seems like it’s closer and closer to home.” Angela Martinez, the receptionist at Ehrhardt’s office, participated in the Brighton Relay once before as part of the United Power team. She looks forward to walking this year with her co-workers and patients. “We all have been affected by cancer in one way or another,” Martinez said. “We want to contribute to the cause, have fun and interact with the community.” Ehrhardt has practiced den-

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tistry in Brighton for nearly 20 years and was recognized as one

of Colorado’s top dentists by 5280 magazine for the last two

years. He and his staff look for ways to get involved in the local

writes children’s book to help kids Giving children hope: Survivor deal with cancer diagnosis of a loved one Christine Hollister

A

fter going through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, Carol LaBelle-Ehrhardt, the wife of Brighton dentist Mark Ehrhardt, decided she wanted to do something to help other families forced to deal with similar hardships. Carol said she had always wanted to write children’s books, and after doing a little research, she realized there weren’t many on the subject of cancer. She began writing, found an illustrator and her children’s book, “My Mom Can Swing Again,” was released in 2008. “I was running one day and

by

K evin D enke

The staff of Art of Smiles dental office with their Relay for Life fundraising meter and a children’s book about cancer, written by cancer survivor Carol LaBelle-Ehrhardt, the wife of Dr. Mark Erhardt.

the idea came to me,” she said. the whole process.” “My Mom Can Swing Carol was diagnosed with Again” is about a young girl breast cancer in December and her mother who enjoy of 2006 at the age of 43. She going to the park and playing went through six months of together. After the mom is intense treatment and has diagnosed with now been a “My Mom Can Swing Again” cancer, the girl survivor for By Carol LaBelle-Ehrhardt can’t underfour years. Paperback, $10; Hardcover, $15 stand why her Breast cancer Available at www.amazon.com, mom is tired runs in her www.bn.com or at Dr. Mark Ehand sick all of family, Carol rhardt’s dental practice in Brighton. said. Her the time. The Call 303-659-1825. book ends on aunt died at a positive note age 48 of the when the mother is able to disease and her grandmother once again do the things she also died of breast cancer. used to enjoy doing with her Her own two children daughter. were teens at the time of “The book takes them their mother’s diagnosis. The through the journey,” Carol book is geared more toward said. “It takes them through younger children, but Carol

said she wrote the book as one that kids of all ages could find comfort in. “It gives a child hope for their parents,” she said. Carol said she’s heard back from several adults who say the book has been helpful and enjoyable for their children, one mom in particular said her daughter won’t go to sleep before reading the book every night. After presenting the book to a cancer support group, one of the participants offered Carol some encouraging words. “They told me, ‘This makes me smile,’” she said. “I think they can relate in more of an inspirational and positive way.”

community, he said. “My staff brought the idea to me,” he said. “I think it’s just that we have a lot of patients who have cancer and it’s a nice way to pay back so we decided to start again. “The average person, we don’t feel like there’s anything we can do to help—we can’t help with meds or the diagnosis,” he added. “This makes you feel like you’re able to do something.” Ehrhardt looks forward to returning to Relay, an already meaningful event that will no doubt mean even more to him, his staff and his patients this year. “I think it’s a statement of my staff that they want to be that involved in the community,” Ehrhardt said. “They’re just a really compassionate group and this is just another example of that.” “We’re looking forward to having a good time and contributing to the cause,” Martinez said.


www.thebrightonblade.com Wednesday, July

Brighton Standard Blade 9

6, 2011

Hope - 2011 B righton R elay F or L ife

St. Augustine’s Cancer Crusaders Team Trujillo: come together to stamp out cancer Christine Hollister

T

orrianna Trujillo, 9, really can’t remember a time when she didn’t participate in the Relay for Life. “I want people to know that it’s fun,” she said. “You get to stay up all night sometimes.” Torrianna is part of the St. Augustine’s Cancer Crusaders team who will be participating in the Brighton Area Relay for Life Friday and Saturday. Her grandmother, Priscilla Trujillo, has also been involved in the event for a number of years. “I’ve been involved in the Relay since the very day it started in Brighton,” Priscilla said. Cancer has hit Priscilla’s family especially hard. Her father died in 1945 of stomach cancer when she was just four years old. Her oldest brother died of cancer, her oldest sister battled kidney cancer, another sister had breast cancer and her surviving brother had prostate cancer. Priscilla’s daughter is a cervical cancer survivor and she herself has been a cervical cancer survivor since 1992. “I just want to stamp out this cancer,” she said. “I really want to help get money for research. I’m a survivor, so I know something’s being done. “And I do this to honor people that have dealt with this disease, just to give them honor,” she added.

“It’s not easy going through that.” In addition to helping provide dollars for research and to honor survivors as well as those who have died from the disease, Priscilla said she continues being involved in the event year after year for another reason—to know she and her family are not alone and to offer support to others. “In Relay there’s that camaraderie all over, that excitement that you’re in it with everyone else,” she said. “There are survivors from little kids all the way to seniors. How could you not get emotional? I get emotional.” The St. Augustine’s team is made up of several of Priscilla’s family members, as well as friends and church members. Her daughters, Kristie Hazlett and June Serrano, are serving as captains of their team. And this year Relay takes on even more special meaning as one of the team members is currently battling breast cancer and had surgery July 1. In addition to the Relay event itself, Priscilla encourages people to participate in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 offered at the Brighton Relay this year only. “With this study they’re doing, I think whoever can should be able to take this study and just to honor the ones who have struggled with it so they can make some kind of headway,” she said.

“... I do this to honor people that have dealt with this disease, just to give them honor. It’s not easy going through that.” Priscilla Trujillo Brighton Resident and Relay for Life team member

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J ohn C arr

Priscilla Trujillo, front, and other members of the St. Augustine’s Cancer Crusaders team bring their own personal history with cancer to the walk. Torrianna said one of her favorite parts of the evening is decorating the team’s campsite at the event each year. The most memorable for her was when they decorated with a Wizard of Oz theme. Priscilla said she enjoys the different themed laps every hour and the entertainment throughout the evening. Adding another dose of entertainment last year was her son, who was the team’s ‘Mr. Relay,’ meaning they dressed him up as a woman and had him ask for donations. Priscilla said there are

too many things to mention about Relay that she enjoys and are meaningful to her, but one of the biggest is the friendships made and continued through involvement in Relay. “It’s just that camaraderie and that we remain friends,” she said. “Even the ones that aren’t family, and maybe we’ve just met, we remain friends for the rest of our lives. It’s about helping others.”

Contact Christine Hollister at chollister@metrowestnewspapers.com or 303-659-2522, ext. 223.

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10 BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

HOPE - 2011 B RIGHTON R ELAY F OR L IFE

Not Walking Alone: CHRISTINE HOLLISTER

LOCAL WOMAN PENS BOOK TO HELP CANCER PATIENTS, CAREGIVERS moment is special. You need to treasure each moment.”

I

t is possible to step through the devastating diagnosis of cancer and all that comes along with it. Deborah Hardy should know. She’s lived it. Through her experiences dealing with her husband’s cancer diagnosis and death from the disease, she’s penned a book, “Stepping Through Cancer: A Guide for the Journey,” to help others fighting cancer and their caregivers. If you are facing cancer, don’t face it alone,” Deborah said. “If you have a friend or loved one with cancer, this book will help you know what to say and what to do.”

Dealing with loss

B

ryan Hardy, a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, died just three short months after his diagnosis and only four days before the couple’s 13th wedding anniversary. “After Bryan died, I’d go walk around the house and I would yell at God,” Deborah said. “You know the five stages of grief? I lived them all. I was angry at God, and it took about a year of grieving. “It took a while, but I finally came to the realization that God had two choices – to let me have Bryan for 13 years or to not let me ever meet him,” she added. “I thanked God for the time I had with him.” Deborah took part in grief support groups and attended counseling sessions offered through her employer. But in the end, it was her faith that strengthened and saved her. “My faith came to the surface,” she said. “It’s situations like these where the rubber meets the road. I wondered, ‘What I’ve been believing all these years, is it really true?’ And Christ came through and helped me to find it. “This cemented my faith,” she continued. “When push comes to shove it is really what is going to get you through.”

Happy times

D

eborah and Bryan met in 1995. Bryan recently lost his first wife to cancer, and Deborah had been divorced for nearly four years. They met at a potluck dinner through their church and married six months later. “It was a very good marriage,” Deborah said. “He was my happily ever after.” Bryan worked as a printer and always had a dream to be a painter. He was able to finally live his dream of painting full time for five years prior to his death. He painted pictures of cars and flowers and traveled the country with his wife attending car shows and selling his paintings. But the couple’s dreams were unexpectedly cut short. “I had planned that my life was going to be a certain way, and then life happens,” Deborah said. “Sometimes the Lord takes you in a different direction from what you have planned. It’s one step at a time.”

The diagnosis

B

ryan had been suffering from heartburn for months, getting only minimal relief from antacids and medications. At 3 a.m. one morning, he awoke with severe pain and went to the emergency room. Doctors thought the pain was simply due to a non-threatening infection. They sent Bryan home and put him on a week’s worth of antibiotics. When Bryan was still feeling horrible days later, Deborah took her husband again to the E.R. After a series of testing, they found out the heartbreakinging diagnosis two days later. Just days after his 67th birthday, Bryan was diagnosed with bile duct can-

WWW.THEBRIGHTONBLADE.COM

A book is born

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BY

J OHN C ARR

Deborah Hardy took the pain of losing her husband to cancer and translated her experience into the book called “Stepping Through Cancer.” cer. That type of cancer is 100 percent terminal, Deborah said. Many patients die within two years. Bryan was not a candidate for surgery, and his liver couldn’t take chemo. So he spent much of his remaining months at home, with occasional emergency visits to the hospital. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and frightening for both the patient and the caregiver, Deborah said. “You cry a lot, you talk a lot, you laugh when you can,” she said. “Some people crawl into a shell and stay there.” Even with Bryan growing weaker and more ill by the day, he and Deborah tried to make the best of what they knew would be their final months together. The couple watched sitcoms and funny movies. Deborah read to her husband.

She even recalled one special memory – Bryan told her he wanted to listen to Neil Diamond. She asked him if he wanted to dance, and they held each other and swayed to the music. Deborah had been a harp player for decades and said that her husband used to enjoy Sunday afternoon naps on the couch while she practiced her harp. It always helped him relax and fall asleep, he told her. One afternoon when Bryan was sick, Deborah sat down and began play the harp, just like she had for so many years. Her husband jumped up, startled, when she began to play. “Oh, that’s you!” he said. “I thought I had already died and gone to heaven.” Deborah laughed. “You need to find humor whenever you can,” she said. “The magic is in the moments, helping us to realize that each

D

uring Bryan’s illness, Deborah kept friends and family up to date by email, ending each note with a word of hope or encouragement, even in the darkest hours. Many reported that those words caused them to make positive changes in their lives, repair relationships, accomplish goals and improve their attitudes. “We knew early on Bryan’s cancer was terminal, and I was trying to find something helpful. I needed something positive,” she said. “I found hope and encouragement in newspapers and books and I would insert something positive at the end of my emails.” Her husband was sick for only three months before he passed away. In that time, Deborah gathered more than 1,000 email readers. Bryan died in October 2008. Deborah retired in October 2009 and began to devote her time to writing the book.

■ see HARDY page 11


WWW.THEBRIGHTONBLADE.COM

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

HOPE - 2011 B RIGHTON R ELAY F OR L IFE

Fulfilling a dream: B CHRISTINE HOLLISTER

I

n late 2009, while spending time with his grandfather, Ed Durland, 18-year-old Matt Durland blacked out. “It panicked him more than it panicked me,” Matt remembered. “He made sure I got a doctor’s appointment.” Matt’s grandfather insisted he go to the doctor and, in an attempt to diagnose the cause of Matt’s blackout, a nurse marked which test to give him. Matt said doctors thought he must be suffering from iron deficiency, but they needed test results to confirm the diagnosis. “But it was something a little more major than iron deficiency,” he said. On the day Matt learned his true diagnosis, he took his AP chemistry final with a 103 degree fever, went home and took a nap, then went to the doctor. Matt said he couldn’t have been more surprised at his doctor’s words. “I didn’t even have any thought in my mind that it could be something like cancer,” he said. In a fortunate twist of fate, the nurse had accidentally marked the wrong

HARDY

from page 10 She worked at the phone company for her entire life. Before beginning her book, the only writing she had done in her lifetime was writing emails and journals along with her Bible study. Mark Cerdena, a co-worker of Deborah’s at the phone company, was diagnosed with stomach cancer a year before Bryan was diagnosed. “When Bryan and I were sitting there in the hospital room and we were just given the diagnosis, we just sat there not knowing what to say,” Deborah said. “A half-hour later, Mark called and said he was in remission. He helped us get through an awful time.” Through her encouraging emails, Deborah unknowingly helped her friend through his own journey with cancer when it returned. “Mark died the next March at the age of 48, more at peace just from reading what we went through in the emails,” she added. “It really made a difference in his attitude and his ability to cope. That’s when I knew I had to write a book. I had no idea how to write a book, but I knew I had to do it.”

BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE 11

RIGHTON TEEN BATTLES CANCER, REALIZES A DREAM

type of test and Matt’s white blood cell count was tested inadvertently. It was discovered that Matt suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells. Matt began chemotherapy treatments and was required to do them at Matt Durland least once a week for the next year. The first couple of months of treatment were the worst, he said, as the dosages of chemo were particularly strong then. “For the first couple of months I couldn’t do much of anything,” he said. “I had to wear a mask everywhere. It was really boring. I was watching a lot of TV.” “The doctors approved it and it was something I wasn’t going to miss,” he said. Doctors put Matt in remission status the first couple of months after he was diagnosed. He still has to get chemo treatments about once every four weeks now, but said he’s back to feeling much more like himself again. He recently endured a surgery to implant a port

through which the chemo is administered and he must be monitored carefully. “After the first couple of months my immune system started to rebuild and my life stated to get back to normal,” he continued. “I could go out and do some things with my friends and not have to worry about who was sick or not sick.” While on a trip to the hospital for chemo last year, a nurse mentioned to Matt that he might be able to have a wish granted through national children’s charity Kids Wish Network. One of Matt’s favorite memories of his childhood was the time he watched the flying demonstration squad of the U.S. Air Force, the Thunderbirds, with his grandfather, an Air Force veteran. Since that time, Matt has been fascinated by aviation and is majoring in the subject in college. His uncle is a pilot for Delta, which also encouraged his interest in aviation, he said. It was to a Kids Wish Network wish coordinator that Matt entrusted his wish of wanting to meet the Thunderbirds. Matt said he was thrilled when he found out he would have a chance to meet his heroes through the charity.

“I was really excited,” he said. “My original wish was to fly with them, but I wasn’t allowed to do that because I couldn’t pass my doctor’s test, but seeing them was the next best thing.” Before he knew it, the big day had arrived with some special surprises: accommodations at the famous MGM Grand, a trip to the Vegas strip and dinners each evening. After the flight to Las Vegas earlier this spring, Matt and his mother were met at Nellis Air Force Base and escorted with VIP treatment to watch an approval ceremony with an aerial performance by the Thunderbirds. “It was really, really cool,” Matt said. “The ceremony was great. After (the performance), we met all of the Thunderbirds, a four star general and a couple of other generals, there were lots of generals. It was really amazing.” Matt and his mom were also treated to a special tour of the base and its onbase museum. “My wish was definitely granted,” Matt said. “It was all totally cool. I just loved seeing them so close and take pictures with the pilots and the generals. It was just fantastic.”

‘Stepping Through Cancer’

easy to understand, and it’s not one cancer specific,” Deborah said. The book leads readers through the cancer diagnosis through a number of steps – medical, information, treatment, physical, waiting, emotional and relationship. Deborah also added a chapter called, “Steps you wanted to know about but were afraid to ask.” These are all steps Deborah went through on the journey with her husband. She learned many things along the way – keeping a tote bag by the door and keeping everything in it — money, sweater, water bottle, books, crossword puzzles, cell phone charger — just in case of an emergency room visit. Another helpful step for her was to create a notebook to record all kinds of information related to doctor’s visits, medications, as well as some important points for emotional health. “We made a bucket list of things we wanted to do,” she said. “It took our mind off of what was going on, and it helped to have a glimmer of hope and freedom from what we were going through” “Stepping Through Cancer” was released in February and is available at www.amazon.com or on Deborah’s website, www.steppingthroughcancer.com. A version of Deborah’s notebook will also

be available soon for purchase. Those interested in a sample of the book can get the first chapter through her website. “This is a practical guide,” Deborah said. “You can take a look at, ‘What am I facing today? What do I do today to deal with this?’” Deborah continues to offer hope and encouragement through her speaking ministry and her two blogs, Stepping Thru Life and Stepping Through Cancer. She is available to speak about her experiences for groups of 10 to 2,000 she said. Email her at debbie@steppingthroughcancer.com.

D

eborah describes her book as a howto guide for caregivers and cancer patients. When she first learned her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was overwhelming, she said. She wanted to provide a resource to help patients and caregivers feel comforted and more in control of their situation. “One thing the book and notebook offer is to help people find a little bit of control in an uncontrollable situation,” she said. “There’s so much about cancer that you can’t control. You need to take control when and where you can and this is one way to do it. Knowledge is power.” Stepping Through Cancer is a practical guide written in a comforting, caring and thoughtful tone. A few of the chapters are titled “We just got the diagnosis. Now What?” “Meeting with the oncologist” “What’s a PET scan?” “Chemotherapy won’t work. What now?” “Should we try alternative forms of mediation?” ”What can we do about the pain?” “Dealing with anger” “We’re afraid” “Who do we tell? And how?” “It’s not all in medical terms so it’s

We Want To Know Your neighbors want to know about your family milestones. Send birth, death, engagement and other announcements to:

news@metrowestnewspapers.com or 139 N. Main St., Brighton, CO 80601


12 Brighton Standard Blade

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

www.thebrightonblade.com

Hope - 2011 B righton R elay F or L ife

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by

K evin D enke

Ron Hellbusch sits in his Westminster home with a picture of his wife, Irma. Irma, a former Brighton High School teacher, died this spring after a second battle with cancer.

Someone to Remember: Hellbusch remembers wife’s love, genuineness Kevin Denke

WESTMINSTER – In 17 years of marriage, Ron and Irma Hellbusch learned to complement each other in a way few married couples could ever imagine. Ron remembers when they would go to a public function and, despite his affability, the name of a person he was speaking with would slip his mind. All Ron needed to do was utter six simple words, “Do you remember my wife, Irma?” That was the only cue that the strikingly beautiful Irma would need to extend her hand and say, “I don’t think we’ve met.” It was a winning combination. If Ron might have forgotten a name from time to time, there are few who could have ever forgotten meeting Irma. Her personality was warm. Her care for others

was genuine. “She was someone who always made you feel – when she was talking with you – that you were the only one in the room, that you are the most important person at that moment,” Ron said. “She was able to do that better than most of us in a very sincere way. She really appreciated anyone around her. And when she talked to them, she was more interested in them than her.” Their love, their friendship carried them through the many ups and downs that life brings, including Irma’s valiant battle with cancer that ended this spring.

Friends first

Ron will be the first to tell you Irma was far more than beauty and charm. She first made her mark as a beloved high school

English and drama teacher at Brighton High School. And later in the airline industry, she worked as Frontier Airlines director of marketing and later was a key part of United Airlines move to Denver International Airport, the launch of the 777 airliner. She spent more than a year in Chicago – flying home on weekends – as she helped design United’s new flight attendant service center. “Everybody liked her so you wanted Irma to be on your team, to lead the team or you wanted to be involved,” Ron said. She always found a fine line between her career and her family. Ron said she declined numerous offers to permanently work out of United’s Chicago headquarters. Ron always assumed if Irma followed that career trajectory, she might have ended up a vice president of United Airlines.

“She was grounded well in her kids,” he said. “I suppose most mothers probably take on a stronger feeling or commitment maybe than typical fathers. I know she did. Where they lived and their lives were more important, and I think Irma liked where she lived, too. Ron knew Irma long before they became romantically involved. He became friends with Irma’s first husband, Brighton High School teacher Lyle Wood, during his first tenure as city manager of Brighton in the 1960s. As friends, Wood and Ron often talked about a mutual agreement that, if something would happen to the other, they would care for the other’s family. When Wood died suddenly in 1970 of heart attack, Ron and his family – true to his word – helped Irma and her family through the

tragedy. In the years following Lyle’s death, they would chat sporadically. While Ron points out that he and Irma’s marriage was predicated on far more than any promises he made to Lyle, it made merging their families (Ron also had children from a previous marriage) much easier. “We were friends before we were spouses,” Ron said of he and Irma. “And that meant a lot to her and I. As a family, there was really no question about who we are.” Their relationship blossomed because of what Ron says was a set of shared core values. Faith, family, respect for people.

n see remember page 13


www.thebrightonblade.com Wednesday, July

Remember from page 12

Those mutual beliefs offset any differences. “I’m the outdoorsy guy,” Ron said. “She went fishing a couple times. But fishing was never Irma’s thing. But when I wanted to do it, she supported me and I supported her. And we did a lot of things together. We had common interest in a lot of things.” The Westminster home they shared is immaculately designed. Ron knew to defer to Irma’s sense of style when it came to design. “Irma always did things well,” he said. “If you look at the house, that’s Irma, just the appointments … not just the house but what’s in it.” Ron will proudly show off his own room in the house that Irma designated for him – a place to show off some of his career accomplishments as well as hunting feats. But he can’t leave the room without pointing to one wall that Irma snuck into the room one day to paint – thinking it would be a better background color.

Beating cancer

It was in 2001 – as she worked with United in Chicago – that Irma discovered a lump during a breast selfexamination and underwent a lumpectomy. “They said it’s just a lump and everything’s clear from what we can see,” Ron said. “PET scans – we learned a lot about those later – but at that point we knew that would show cancer anywhere.” Irma continued working as she underwent chemotherapy and radiation. Ron would join her for every appointment. “She had them at the end of the day, and I’d be there,” he said. “That’s just what it seemed like we needed to do.” Irma beat it, continuing to take Tamoxifen, as breast cancer patients do, for the five years following her diagnosis. When she hit what Ron calls that magic five-year mark of survival in 2006, they opened their home to celebrate with family and friends. “After hers, we thought that was a done deal.” Ron said.

Brighton Standard Blade 13

6, 2011

Hope - 2011 B righton R elay F or L ife

Losing Kylee

The impact of cancer was only beginning to impact the Hellbusch family. Ron was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 and underwent radiation. “Got through that,” Ron said. And then he stopped himself. “I don’t know if you ever get through cancer,” he added. “I’m OK as far as I know.” Ron had barely come through his own cancer diagnosis and treatment when his daughter, Kylee, fell ill in 2008. Ron said Kylee, 43, and a flight attendant with Delta Airlines, dealt with stomach distress for a couple years. “Nobody ever thought it was cancer,” he said. “The doctors didn’t either.” Ron accompanied Kylee on a trip to her family doctor in early 2008. Ron never met the doctor before but he could sense something was wrong. “The way he was kind of pondering things, I had this kind of sixth sense about something’s wrong here,” Ron said. A later ultrasound found that Kylee was suffering from pancreatic cancer. Kylee underwent treatment immediately. By November, she was gone. Ron and Kylee shared a love of the outdoors. In his regular outdoors column after her death, he doted on a walleye fishing trip to Jackson Lake when she was 11 and a family trip to Yellowstone National Park. “Her spirit overshadowed her daily cancer pain and gradual decline in health,” he wrote at the time.

Cancer again

Ron suspects that, sometime between Kylee’s battle with cancer, Irma began to feel sick again. In December 2008, she went to visit an oncologist at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. The results confirmed their fears. A PET scan revealed cancer cells in the lung, bone, liver and breast. Irma started chemotherapy again. But, despite the ongoing treatment, it was hard to tell Irma was sick. They did family trips throughout 2009. “She walked, she drove, she didn’t show any weakness,” Ron

said. “If you didn’t know she was in treatment, you’d never know.” It appeared that Irma, who turned 70 in September, was on the path to defeating cancer again. “It was amazing how mobile and strong she was,” Ron said. Through a series of chemotherapy drugs, the cancer was isolated to Irma’s liver and the fifth in a series of chemotherapy drugs started in late 2010 seemed to be making substantial progress in that respect. But it came at a heavy cost. Irma’s previous cancer treatments didn’t rob of her strength. The new one did. “When that weakening started, you could almost see it, day to day, it got so bad,” Ron said.

Never giving up

Throughout Irma’s battle with cancer, Ron became her primary caregiver. But it was never a job for him. It was simply part of that vow he took, the whole part about “in sickness and in health.” He updated family with regular emails on her condition, results of tests and next steps. Ron even came up with a weekly schedule for Irma, including a weekly brunch with her group of girlfriends known as the “Party Chicks.” When it was difficult for Irma to leave her bed, let alone make it down the stairs of their two-story home, then Ron would bring the “Party Chicks” there. And it was likewise for their anniversary dinner. Ron ordered

takeout Red Lobster and set up a table in their bedroom, which has a picturesque view of a nearby golf course. It was little things that Ron did to encourage Irma along in her fight. On the mantle of their bedroom fireplace, he hung a poster of a beach in Mexico, where they planned to go when she got better. He chokes up when he thinks about how hard it was to take the picture down when he realized it wouldn’t happen. Sticky notes ring the mirror of the bathroom in their home. Each one with a different handwritten message, reminding Irma that she was strong, that she was beautiful and that she was beating cancer. Ron would leave them on the counter in their kitchen as he headed out for the day. When Irma couldn’t make it downstairs any more, he put them on the mirror. There was always hope. Even as Irma began receiving hospice care, they never stopped believing that she would get better. “It wasn’t her or mine or the kids mindset on anything (but getting better),” he said. “You have a lot of things about you, in a time like this, that are confirmed or not confirmed. “I always saw myself as pretty optimistic, glass half-full, things could be worse,” he added. “And I still feel that way today with all we’ve been through. And we felt that way every day here. Tomorrow will be a better day. Something will change.” It’s not in his nature to be

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bitter over what cancer has taken from him. He says it’s just not how he was raised. He chooses to be grateful. Grateful for the time they had together, for the life they shared and the legacy she leaves behind. And knowing that few will ever forget meeting Irma.

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Donald McKenzie Dreyer 79 My husband Donald passed away from colon cancer after a four-year battle in 2004. He was overwhelmed with the concern, prayers and caring from this community. He farmed and ranched on the family place north of Brighton his entire life and was thankful for that. He truly cared for this town and was active in many organizations over the years. It is nice to know that people remember your loved one in this way. - Kay Dreyer

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

Tina Gerstmann 45

John J. Vigil 68 Harley Thaden 86

Charlotte M. Vurciaga 75 Pamela K. (Glynn) Downs 49

Patricia Harlan Schumacher 50 We lost our beautiful mother, daughter, sister and aunt last Aug. 5, just five months after her diagnosis of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Pam, we think of you every day and miss you so much but we know you’re there with your angel wings, watching over us. Love you, Taine and Ian; Mom and Dad; Debbie and Reuben; Gail and Nick; DeAnn; Carlee, Aaron and Colt; Zach, Angie and Emilio; Kaity, Jarrett and Ashlynn; and Nichole and Matt.

David John Coffey 47

We R emember

George Aragon, brother of Priscilla Trujillo, died September 2009 of stomach cancer. Along the way, he overcame colon, skin and kidney cancer. George was a friend to everyone he met. He loved hunting elk, duck, pheasant, antelope and doing taxidermy and fishing with his buddy, Pres Montoya. George’s four siblings are survivors of kidney, breast, cervical, and prostate cancer. His father died in 1945 from stomach cancer.

Leona May Kelly 82

Diana Hummell 29 Marcia Ann Kolecki-Matheny 52

Dorothy May Busnardo 78 Pamela Sue Wagner 57

Everett Aden 86

George Aragon 82

Lola Farrer 74

Irma Irene Hellbusch 70

Dennis James Lockman 58

Bryan Hardy 66 Bryan Hardy was a printer, painter, father, grandfather, and husband. Without knowing it, he mentored many who needed a role model. He realized his dream, painting pictures of cars and selling them at car shows under the name Classic Car Portraits. He was a good man and made us all better for knowing him. His courage and peace during his cancer journey inspired the book, “Stepping Through Cancer: A Guide for the Journey.” - Debbie Hardy

Carolyn Jensen 61

Linda Cawthra 65

Kelly Avila 48

Mina Leigh Lundien 54

James Nelms 85

William A. Hood 60

Mark A. Stanard 59

Irene Clark 78 Jack Walker 47

Alvin L. Hickenbottom 70

Jack faced his battle with Leukemia as he did other challenges in his life with quiet strength, dignity and determination. He never questioned the cards he had been dealt or got caught up in self-pity and valiantly fought to the very end. Heaven’s gain is our loss. Jack, we love and miss you very much. -Kristi, Tyler, Stephanie, Jadyn, Tyson, Masyn, Megan, Terry and Trentin

Ten years ago, you went home to be with Jesus. We all miss you so much! Even though you are not with us, the Lord has been so good to our family and added to our family. We are blessed to have Kevin, Brooklyn, Tierney and Liam now. Sami also has a special someone in her life. We love you Alvie, Daddy and Grandpa!

Emma Michelle Hively 27 Kylee Renee (Hellbusch) Thyfault 43

John Hisao Kiyota 92

BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE 17

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2011

Anthony A. Farmer 30

Myrna Fontanez 57 Judith Ann Holl 58

Nelson “Nick” Ralph Chamberlain 64

Janet McWilliams Perlick 51

Inocencio Rangel 91 Rhondalee J. Collins 35 John P. Rostie 65

Gean Abbott 79 V. Beth Groenewald 44 Patrick C. Leyden 64

Bob Cassiday 68 Lloyd Gareth Beery 71 Harold Brooks 71 Gerald “Jerry” Gelhaus 65

Paula Ann Waters 57 Leslie Scott-Rose 53

Luis Manuel Oliveros-Castillo 66


18 BRIGHTON STANDARD BLADE

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

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Sheri Simon said having cancer has caused her to show a new level of vulnerability and accept help from others.

SHERI

from page 5 “I’m closer to feeling that way,” she said. “I really don’t know if I can call myself a survivor just yet.” But then she stopped to reflect.

“I have made it through a year. I have pushed it back. I feel like I have taken control of it instead of it controlling me. So, I’m close to considering myself a survivor but not 100 percent.”

Contact Kevin Denke at kdenke@ metrowestnewspapers.com or 303659-2522, ext. 225.

SUDOKU

The plight of cancer isn’t new to the staff of Platte Valley Medical Center. Baros said Phyllis did put a face on it during the hospital’s Relay fundraising effort. “It’s a person they see everyday as they’re getting their breakfast or lunch,” he said. “It hits home. I think that’s why everybody’s really come together this year and helped out a tremendous amount. “In a way we were kind of all there with her as she went through this,” he added. Baros created “Extraordinary Life” - a five-minute YouTube video, along with two other videos, that honored PVMC staff and their families impacted by cancer. Phyllis and Amy are in the video as well. “I think just about everybody in there has faced cancer in some way, their family members or themselves,” she said. “You want to see cancer, watch that video. There’s a lot of them here.” “It just created that awareness of ‘You used to have cancer, really?’” Baros added. “You’ve been working with them for 10 years, you didn’t know they had cancer, they’re a survivor. They never said anything about it until this event.” Phyllis is a survivor. Once she got through the first day, she knew she would be. “Everybody tells me I’m way too positive,” she said. “I’m just a positive person. I’m like a little miracle, I guess. But I had a lot of people praying for me, a lot of support. “I couldn’t let them down,” she added.”

Contact Kevin Denke at kdenke@ metrowestnewspapers.com or 303659-2522, ext. 225.

Fill in the empty squares of the grid with the numerals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9. The puzzle is solved when each ROW, COLUMN, and 3X3 SQUARE within the puzzle contains the numerals 1 through 9 with each appearing ONCE.

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R EVA G EE E LLIE R OLFS Cancer free Cancer free since August 2008 since 2009 ■ We would like to honor my mother, Sangwan Snider, as a three year cancer survivor. Love from your daughter, Vicki Snider, your son-in-law, Mark Rawlings, and your loving grandkids, Elizabeth and Ian. ■ Elizabeth and Ian Rawlings want to honor their parents, Mark Rawlings (a 24-year survivor) and their mother, Vicki Snider (a two-year survivor). Metro Brokers of Brighton 435 s. 4th Ave., Brighton • 303-654-1900 Jan Hepp-struck 303-520-4340 janhepp@realtor.com

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HOPE: 2011 Brighton Relay for Life edition  

A publication of the Brighton Blade devoted to the Relay for Life

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