10/4/2011 11:07:00 AM Love and support soothes cancer battle
Mike Roeder, shown attending a Twins game at Target Field, was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma in June. The Stewartville Wrestling Booster Club will host a benefit for Roeder and his family at the Stewartville American Legion Post 164 on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. “We were very touched that they would think to do that for us,” said Kathy Roeder, Mike’s wife. “I know Mike is very appreciative.”
Kathy Roeder's eyes sparkle with hope and fill with tears when she speaks about her husband of 31 years, Mike.
She remembers what it was like on that June day when she learned that the man she deeply loves had been diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic melanoma.
"It was like hitting a brick wall," she said. "It changed our lives. It changed everything so quickly. It was so shocking because he had no symptoms."
Mike Roeder was golfing with his sons on Memorial Day weekend when he suffered a seizure. Tests revealed bleeding on the brain and a brain tumor. Doctors performed brain surgery, which confirmed that the cancer had spread to other parts of the body.
Mike underwent full brain radiation treatments in July and began receiving chemotherapy on July 25. Last week, Kathy was buoyed by some good news.
"A PET scan and an MRI showed that there were no new tumors," she said. "That's what I was hoping for at least. He feels good, but he's very, very tired now. He's not eating like he usually does."
Mike is the transportation director for the Byron School District and also plays a big role at the Roeder farm about 10 miles west of Stewartville. Despite his illness, he wants to continue working, Kathy said.
"He's been working," she said. "He works (in Byron) for a few hours in the mornings. He told me the other day that he'd like to get out on the combine. He doesn't need to do that, but he would like to."
Mike addressed Byron's bus drivers and other transportation employees at the beginning of the current school year. The employees responded with a standing ovation.
"They love him there," Kathy said. "The Bryon people have been so supportive. It has been amazing."
Kathy, the MDS coordinator at the Stewartville Care Center, says she is trying to be strong not only for Mike, but also for the couple's four children and their spouses, including Eric and Naomi, Jon and Nikki, Amy and Joey, and Ben, the youngest.
Amy and Joey were married at St. Bernard's Catholic Church on Saturday, Sept. 24. Mike proposed a toast to the couple, danced with his daughter and led the prayer before the meal.
"It was beautiful," Kathy said. "It was a perfect day."
For the Roeder family, life has been an intermingling of joy and pain since May. Eric and Naomi had a child, Daxton, on May 23, only a few days before Mike suffered his seizure. About two weeks later, Jon and Nikki welcomed a new child, Lainey, born on June 8. Then Amy and Joey were married in September.
"It has been a summer of a lot of heartache, a lot of fun and a lot of tears," said Cheryl Roeder, formerly married to Mike's brother, Robby.
Mindful of the costs of cancer treatment, the Stewartville Wrestling Booster Club is sponsoring a benefit to help Mike Roeder and his family pay their medical bills. The event will be held at the Stewartville American Legion Post 164 on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Guests will eat pork sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, cole slaw, beans and soft serve ice cream. There will be a bake sale, silent auction and live auction.
The bake sale will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. If interested in helping with the sale or for more information, call Joni Jensen at (507) 261-9296.
The silent auction will be held from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To donate items or for more information, call Sabrina Howard or Jake Lawrence at (507) 421-2117.
The live auction will begin at 8 p.m. To donate items or for more information, call Rick Gehling at (507) 421-2760.
Tickets for the benefit are on sale at Stewartville City Hall, C&F Video and the Stewartville STAR, or by calling Steve Stolarzyk at (507) 259-8674.
Kathy Roeder is very grateful to the Wrestling Booster Club for organizing the benefit.
"We were very touched that they would think to do that for us," she said. "It's hard to accept all the giving. We're very appreciative, though. It will be a nice get-together -- a nice opportunity to see everybody. I know Mike is very appreciative. He's very grateful that so many people are helping him."
Many times, people are uncomfortable approaching someone with cancer for fear of not knowing what to say. Kathy and Cheryl Roeder agree that Mike Roeder has a gift for putting people at ease in a difficult situation.
"Mike makes you feel so welcome," Cheryl Roeder said. "He'll talk about it and cry with you. He makes it very comfortable for you."
"He's good when you talk with him," she said. "He tries to laugh a little bit."
Mike will continue to receive chemotherapy treatments once a week for three weeks, then take a week off, then repeat the process.
"Then they'll do another PET scan and an MRI of his brain again," Kathy said. "The oncologist also said that there are some other medications he could try. We know there's no cure."
Even so, Mike will continue to battle his illness, Kathy said.
"At the beginning it was difficult, but he is determined that he is going to fight," she said.
Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011
Article comment by:
Mike, Wish I could have come home to see you. Greg and your Mom keeps me posted. We love you and wish I could make it home just once more to see you. Much Love to you and Kathy Aunt Maryann
Posted: Thursday, October 06, 2011
Article comment by:
Mike wrestled for Stewartville in the 70's and all 3 of his boys wrestled and his daughter was a cheerleader for wrestling. If you can please join us at the benefit or help support Mike and his family through a donation. Contact Al Chihak at 533-6484 with any questions.