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Cancer Center Fills Backpacks for Families in Need

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Jan Rosauer remembers her husband Todd.

“The joke in the 15 years that we were married was that he was always the best wife I've ever had,” she said.

He died this January after fighting Stage Four Lung Cancer at the age of 48, but his wife and kids aren't alone. Kristen, an incoming 4th-grader, and Matthew, an incoming 8th-grader, both know this as well.

“Cancer just impacts a whole family, it doesn't just impact the patient,” she said.

That's why the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center hosted a backpack giveaway this year. It's a place that obviously treats patients, but it also has support programs for families, like the Family Resource Center.

They filled 33 backpacks with school supplies from custom lists kids turned in. High school students volunteered with the buying of the supplies and stuffing of the backpacks.

“The goal of this project and many other projects that we have going on in the cancer center is to reach beyond the patient,” Sandra Ahrendsen, program coordinator for the Family Resource Center, said.

For Kristen, she was able to get a backpack with her favorite colors - purple and pink. For Matthew, he was excited about the pair of earphones he received, even though he's not sure what he'll be doing in the school year with them just yet.

For their mom, however, it means more.

“Having them here, understanding and asking what do we need, what can we do for you, that's comforting to me,” she said.

Because now their family doesn't need to hunt for school supplies, and it's a little thing that means a lot. It shows even though Todd isn't here, others are, which will make starting a new school year a little more comforting for everyone.