Updated: 03/14/2014 10:23 AM
Created: 02/18/2014 1:57 PM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
Friends and family members are rallying around a Minnesota woman who has faced incredible challenges the past few years.
Kay Hartzell was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009 and successfully underwent surgery and chemotherapy, but the cancer returned in 2012. Doctors told Hartzell that she had Stage 4 metastasized ovarian cancer and that her only option for traditional medicine would be to do chemotherapy to make her more comfortable and slow the progression.
“She’s a pretty strong person,” her daughter, Carrie Rademacher, said. “She had probably a week where she was really depressed and thought, ‘I’m going to die,’ but then she said, ‘No, I’m not,’ and decided to pursue other methods.”
Instead of admitting defeat, Hartzell changed her diet completely and is currently undergoing treatment at the Reno Integrative Medical Center, which is an alternative cancer treatment center. Hartzell was in Reno, Nev., for three weeks last month, and now she will just do a short-term visit once a month, Rademacher said.
In the midst of this challenge, Hartzell and her husband lost their house to a fire in July 2013 after some paint products spontaneously combusted in their garage.
“She’s had her ups and downs, but she’s still living,” Rademacher said. “Even though she has been hit with some hard times, Kay continues to stay positive and fight …. She has touched so many around her and inspired them to keep moving forward and to always look for the positives in situations.”
Because the treatments are considered alternative medicine, they aren’t covered by insurance. All of the cost is out-of-pocket, including airfare to get to Nevada, hotels while they are there, and the treatment itself.
To help her during this difficult time, her loved ones have organized a benefit to help support her. It takes place from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at the Lakeville Art Center and costs $20 at the door or $18 in advance. The event includes a silent auction, prizes and food catered by Rudy’s Redeye Grill.
All funds will go toward Hartzell’s medical expenses.
“Not only has she found the strength to continue her battle against cancer, but she also has found the strength to continue one of her greatest passions – to help others and give them hope,” Rademacher said. “She likes to bring hope to others, let people know to not give up so easily …. She’s not going to give up without a fight.”
To donate, visit the benefit page on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.