Kenneth Hoener is a man of his faith and a minister of this community and the father in law of Kathy. Both have survived cancer and have grown and become stronger people. When conducting their Portrait, Kathy reminded us that cancer “affects everybody. We all know someone…Everybody in this room probably knows somebody who has been affected. It affects the old, the healthy, children, regardless of race. It doesn't matter whether you take care of yourself or not.”
Kenneth’s story started when there was a jump in his PSA, Prostate-Specific Antigen Test. At the time of his testing, a 4 was considered normal, but when going for another test 6 months later, Kenneth’s test jumped to over 6. Immediately following this appointment, he sought out the best doctor he could for his surgeries. 11 years later, Kenneth is cancer free and volunteers his time at the local hospital.
In my retirement got to the hospital as a volunteer for with the chaplain department every Tuesday. I've been doing that for 14 years now. And I've come home and I understand that more and more people and more and more doctors are recognizing the biggest health problem that contributes to all other health problems, overweight. …. No matter what, you want to stay healthy watch your weight. And I understand now from reading some literature that they feel that that’s also a contributing factor to prostate cancer.
The biggest thing that ministers do in serving people who are ill is just be there. Most of the people who have come back to me and I went with and sat at the hospital. What do you say? You can’t go into a big kind of prayer like, but there’s just knowing that someone is with you is the best help that you can give them at times. . Hold their hand let them know you physically have something in common with them. Apparently there’s some kind of osmosis that they feel because you are a man of god, that you can somehow transmit to them some extra help.
When you go through something like this….the strength at the beginning you think I can’t do this. And then as you do you think wow and you become a stronger person and through that. And also sometimes I think that humor and just trying to find something light and something funny out of something that is just tragic. I think the one Christmas we sent out Christmas cards and we all put on red bandannas, all five of us, by our Christmas tree (because she had no hair) and so that was. And we got more people that said that was such a neat thing. Or pictures of my kids putting my wig on, or just stuff like that, just little things like that. You need them, you need to find them some humor and something lighter in the situation. It helps.
Loretta Funk-Culpepper Buffalo, Wyoming
Eric Smith Rapid City, South Dakota