Celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day at the Christopher Farm & Gardens – Sunday, June 5th!

Celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day at the Christopher Farm & Gardens – Sunday, June 5th!

NOTE: To read article with accompanying photos, click on the PDF version!

More than one hundred survivors and co-survivors signed up to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day at the Christopher Farm & Gardens on Sunday, June 5th!

A steady rain fell all morning as I set up for the day’s activities and, I will admit, I was feeling a bit discouraged. Silly me! As so often happens, about the time that folks began to gather (noon), the rain began to let up considerably and, although a light drizzle came and went throughout the day, it was not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of those who attended.

Tours: Erika from the CF&G led a group tour of the Gardens (see PDF for photo)! There is too much to see in a single visit, so area survivors and co-survivors are encouraged to watch this update, get on the ST&BF POP UP e-mail list, and join us on our next visit!

“Bob the Builder” Birdhouse Building Workshop: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor “Bob the Builder” Hartig offered a birdhouse building workshop for young and old! Using this unique wedged mortise and tenon technique, these birdhouses are built without screws, nails, or glue! If you were not able to join us, watch for future opportunities to build a birdhouse and consider donating it to the CF&G (where you can already find some of these birdhouses).

Diagnosed in early 2017, Bob continues with maintenance treatment while staying active in our Local Cancer Community. In addition to “Bob the Builder” workshops, he is often an instigator of great fun at many of our activities (playing Farkle, shooting stomp rockets, flying kites & doing kite drops, building a wind-powered bubble blower, and so much more)!

See PDF for photo of “Bob the Builder” Hartig

Story Time: Our Local Cancer Community is filled with so many wonderful stories that deserve to be shared!

Amy Clarke was diagnosed with rectal cancer in October of 2012. She joined us for a ST&BF “Hiking Along the Cancer Journey” overnight backpack outing while undergoing treatment in the spring of 2013. Eventually, Amy’s cancer would go into remission. Although she moved out of the area, she continued to participate in the group whenever she could (on one occasion, she drove about 1,000 miles from Colorado back to Sheboygan to participate in another “Hiking Along the Cancer Journey” outing). Amy and her husband Alan now live in northern Wisconsin. She experienced a recurrence in 2020 and, although she no longer lives in the area, she has continued to receive her cancer care with Dr. Matthews and continues to stay connected to the group and joins us whenever she can. Thanks for joining us, Amy!

See PDF for photo of Amy Clarke, cancer survivor

Rachel Darling was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in December of 2018. She has always enjoyed an active lifestyle and attended her first ST&BF Gentle Yoga for Cancer Survivors session in the spring of 2019 and, soon after, completed the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. More recently, she joined the 2021/22 ST&BF Indoor Row Group. Early in the season she shared some exciting news with us (news that we do not often hear). Rachel and her husband Nate are expecting their first child later this month!

See PDF for photo of Rachel Darling and husband Nate.

We can’t wait to welcome another darling Darling into this world!

Barb Bogenschutz and her husband Lenny are both long-time cancer survivors. Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2006 and Lenny was diagnosed with colon cancer in October of 2005. They have both remained very active in the Local Cancer Community because they are incredibly caring and kind individuals... and because cancer has continued to impact the lives of two of their three daughters.

See PDF for photo of Barb Bogenschutz, cancer survivor.

As Barb was sharing, I could not help but think back to May of 2020 (shortly after our TLC Survivorship Sessions began meeting virtually in response to the pandemic). I invited cancer patients/survivors to share their story with us, and Barb shared her story with us.

You can view a video of Barb’s talk on our blog: https://scccf.org/post?s=story-of-survivorship-barb-bogenschutz-shares-her-story-fillled-with-challenging-circumstances-and-cherished-experiences-2020-06-02.

Thank you to Amy, Rachel, and Barb for sharing at least a small snippet of your stories! It is, I believe, through the sharing of our stories; whether in front of a large group or in a more private setting, oral or written; that we can learn from each other, teach one another, come to better understand ourselves, and often find a greater sense of meaning in purpose in all of our life stories and experiences, both good and not-so-good.

If you have a story to tell... please let me know!

Drawing: Kathy Burch, breast cancer survivor, helped distribute prizes to just about every cancer survivor who attended, endured a few rain drops, and listened to some wonderful stories!  See PDF for photo of Kathy Burch & Tim.

Train Ride: We concluded the day with the much anticipated and much enjoyed train ride on the Dairyland Express! Special thanks to “Conductor Erika”!  See PDF for photo of the Dairyland Express.

More about the Dairyland Express: https://www.christopherfarmandgardens.org/areas-of-interest/dairyland-express/

Special thanks (again) to Jay Christopher of the Christopher Farm & Gardens and Erika Lusthoff for their kindness and hospitality on this day and over the past five years! This was our 37th visit to this amazing place... and every visit is new, fresh, and exciting!

If you missed this visit, you can view photos on our website from this (and previous) visits: https://scccf.org/contests

Mary Schueller (SCCCF board member and long-time oncology nurse – now retired) provided many of the photos in this article and took many other great photos of the day that you can view here: https://www.snapfish.com/share?via=link&token=CZ4tnzrkSFnyB7VYrRtztQ/AUS/27952615745070/SNAPFISH

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