Rodeo goers help cancer patients ‘From the Heart’

August 25, 2018

The Oregon Trail Rodeo in Hastings isn’t just a place to have a good time.

It’s also a way to help a neighbor.

The rodeo runs Friday through Sunday on the Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore Ave. When “pink” night descends on the rodeo on Saturday, it’s time to help out.

The rodeo has partnered with the Morrison Cancer Center at Mary Lanning Healthcare to raise funds for the center’s From the Heart program. From the Heart is a program the Morrison Center uses to give money to those going through cancer treatment there.

The campaign is called “Tough Enough to Wear Pink,” and the rodeo donates one dollar for every rodeo fan in pink during the Saturday rodeo session. Rodeo organizers also pass a pink bucket, asking for voluntary donations, during the performance.

That money can be used for fuel, or, in the form of Chamber bucks, for other necessities like medicine.

For a Kearney woman, From the Heart funds have been helpful.

Kim Vos, 52, was diagnosed with stage 4 invasive ductal carcinoma, an incurable cancer, on Valentine’s Day of this year.

She is going through chemotherapy and chose to doctor in Hastings instead of Kearney, because of her mother’s experience at the Morrison Cancer Center. Her mom “doctored in Hastings,” she said, “and that’s why I chose Hastings. The Cancer Center is an incredible place.”

Vos first had cancer several years ago, and a bilateral mastectomy to treat it. Doctors told her no other treatment was necessary, so it was shocking when cancer came back for a second time.

Monies from From the Heart have helped pay bills at the Vos household. She isn’t able to work full time at the restaurant she runs in Grand Island, so she’s gone from a salary to hourly income.

“I’m having to cut my hours back,” she said. “I don’t have the energy.”

As with most cancer patients, she’s working through emotional and physical pain as well as financial struggles.

“As soon as you hear that you have stage 4 cancer, and that it’s incurable, you have all that on your brain,” Vos said. “Then you’re thinking, ‘How am I going to work?’ ‘How will I pay my bills? I’m not one who doesn’t pay my bills.’ ”

The From the Heart gas cards and Chamber bucks helped.

“Even that helped take the edge off” the worry, Vos said.

Vos is married, with two daughters and two grandchildren, and they are incentive to keep going.

“It’s been terrifying,” she said of her cancer journey. “But I have a Creator who loves me more than anyone else.”

Her grandchildren “are my motivation to stick around, with my husband, to watch them grow up. I have to fight the fight so I can stick around as long as the Lord is willing to let me.”

Another local cancer patient benefits from the From the Heart funds.

Four days after her wedding on Aug. 5, 2017, Sasha Aguirre was told she would need to have chemotherapy to fight a rare form of ovarian cancer.

She had a cyst removed from her ovary in June, and the doctor had said she would probably not need chemo, so she and her husband, Guillermo, weren’t concerned.

For Aguirre, receiving funds from Morrison Cancer Center’s From the Heart was needed. A student at Central Community College, she also was working part time. But during chemotherapy, her work hours and her schooling decreased.

“My husband paid bills by himself,” she said. “We weren’t used to that.”

From the Heart gave Aguirre Chamber bucks to be used for fuel and other necessities.

Neither Vos nor Aguirre have attended the Hastings rodeo, but there’s a good chance they’ll be in the stands this year on Tough Enough to Wear Pink night.

The Oregon Trail Rodeo has raised more than $30,000 for the Morrison Cancer Center through its pink night.

Rodeo performances on Friday and Saturday begin at 7 p.m. The Sunday rodeo starts at 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com or call 402-462-3247.

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