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  • Last modified 32 days ago (Oct. 17, 2018)

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Cancer patient overwhelmed by support

A family that gives now gets to receive

Staff writer

When Roger Ryder was asked if the hospital could make the family the beneficiaries for the fourth annual Heart and Sole 5K, it was one more blessing he hadn’t seen coming.

“I never expected one penny from anyone in this town,” he said. “I’m so overwhelmed that so many people got together to help.”

Funds from the 5K aren’t the only help the family has gotten from the hospital. One of Ryder’s nurses picked up the month’s car payment, too.

Most of the funds from the event will help with Ryder’s medical costs, with a portion being used to support the hospital’s food garden.

“We were trying to get the community and Hillsboro Community Hospital linked a little bit more,” Hillsboro Clinic manager and 5K coordinator Julie Gardner said. “This was one opportunity to have community involvement.”

She has been at the clinic since August 2017, and planning the race has helped her connect with the area, Gardner said.

“It gives us goals outside of the daily work,” she said. “It was fun planning it.”

The primary sponsor is Farm Bureau Financial Services, whose donation included paying for race t-shirts.

Other examples of neighborhood assistance the Ryders received included rent payments and Dale’s Supermarket gift cards.

The place they haven’t seen much help from is governmental aid.

“Welfare said they couldn’t help me,” Ryder said. “They could give me some food stamps, but they can’t give me any financial assistance.”

Despite the lack of federal aid, the family has gotten help from churches, Tabor College, and several individuals.

Whether it was the local Methodist church helping with cell phone bills, or Grace Fellowship covering a gas and electric bill, several churches chipped in, Ryder said.

“I was shocked,” he said. “We don’t even go to church here.”

The college’s involvement was of a more physical nature. When the family was forced to move from their home to low-income housing, Tabor men’s basketball team handled their belongings.

“They loaded it up and in two hours, boom, they were done,” Ryder said.

That included a pair of grandfather clocks, and a large mirror his grandmother owned, all moved without a scratch.

Great Plains Federal Credit Union is holding a fundraiser to benefit the family as well, which is where his wife Joyce works. Ryder’s hope is that more people recognize her name, since she has been at the credit union several years.

“Ninety percent of people in this town know my wife, not me,” he said.

Being on the receiving end is a new experience, but the family is used to helping others.

When Ryder worked at the grain elevator in Hillsboro, he would buy a full cow of ground beef every year from one of his connections.

Since they could only eat or store half, he took some to one of the churches in Marion to find families in need.

“We’re givers, we’re not takers,” Ryder said. “We don’t ask for anything.”

While he appreciates the community support, the cancer is progressing.

“They told me I’ll probably not make it to Christmas,” he said. “The cancer is very aggressive.”

Ryder began to feel pain in his abdomen in September 2017, but CT scans and other tests repeatedly came back negative.

“Around March they did another CT scan,” he said. “It was the fourth one, and they still couldn’t find anything wrong with me. They said, ‘You’re as healthy as a 20-year-old.’”

At the beginning of July, Ryder’s condition began having a more visible effect.

“I was very jaundiced,” he said. “I actually had a glow about my body.”

A mass had grown around Ryder’s pancreas and was preventing his liver from draining.

“They say I’m not getting enough fluids,” Ryder said. “I drink half a gallon of water a day and I’m still not getting enough fluids. I don’t know what they want me to do.”

He plans to make an appearance at the race Oct. 20, where he will serve as the starter.

Last modified Oct. 17, 2018

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