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Cancer Survivor Takes Control with Weight Loss

Melissa Fox admits it: she had a little “road rage” going after a follow-up appointment with her cancer surgeon. The Spencer, Iowa mom of two had faced breast cancer, worked through the chemotherapy and surgery and was doing well. She knew she needed to lose some weight and began changing up her workout approaches. Read More »
Cancer Care, Patient Stories · Avera Health

Mitchell Colon Cancer Patient; “Trust Your Care Team”

“Life is short, but after experiencing colon cancer, I realized life could be REAL short,” said Brad Zimmerman from Mitchell. “You never know when your number is up, so never take anything for granted.” It started with a constant, dull pain in his lower left abdomen. Read More »
Cancer Care, Patient Stories · Avera Health

Mother of Five Feels Many Blessings in Face of Leukemia Diagnosis

The delicate balance of life can be up-turned in mere moments. That’s something Kristin VanLaecken of Watertown, S.D. knows all too well. This January, the 34-year-old mother of five was applying moisturizer to her neck and her glands were tender and quite swollen. Read More »
Patient Stories · Avera Health

Surgeon and Patient Meet Years After Transplant

Dr. Steers, left, meets Tessa Hertel in person. When 20-year-old Tessa Hertel worked in the Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center laboratory, coworkers would often mention the name of Dr. Jeffery Steers, an Avera Transplant Institute physician who was helping to develop a liver transplant program at Avera. Read More »
Patient Stories · Avera Health

Cancer Patient Explains How She “Dances With NED”

At age 34, Kristen Kilmer was diagnosed with breast cancer. She received treatment near her home in Spearfish, S.D., but three years later learned the cancer had metastasized. “Being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer is devastating at any age,” said Kristen. Read More »
Cancer Care, Patient Stories · Avera Health

Dealing With It: Watertown Transplant Patient Says Team’s Attitude Lifted His

Rich Kunkel is going to Branson, Mo., for a celebration with friends this year. The Watertown father of four remembers when making a plan like that was impossible. Kunkel faced multiple myeloma in 2012, but completed a bone-marrow transplant in 2013 at the Avera Cancer Institute. Read More »
Patient Stories · Avera Health