The North Bend Eagle


 

Kreikemeier family benefit planned for Sept. 22

by Mary Le Arneal, North Bend Eagle, and Cheryl Sudbeck, Howells Journal
Published 8/29/12

Mark Kreikemeier of rural North Bend and his family have been on a roller-coaster ride these past three years. On Sept. 22 there will be a benefit to help smooth out some of the bumps felt during that ride.

Kreikemeier, 52, was diagnosised with bladder cancer in 2009. He dealt with that initial blow and then with two more bouts when the cancer came back two more times in his bladder within those three years.

In March of this year, Kreikemeier was told he was done with chemotherapy and his cancer was in remission. The celebration didn’t last long. By mid-summer Kreikemeier was having abdominal pains and knew something wasn’t right. The doctor’s news was worse than before: peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin cell walls which surround the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum. The incidence of peritoneal mesothelioma is so rare it affects less than 500 individuals in the United States per year.

On Aug. 15, Kreikemeier underwent a 15-hour “debulking” surgery to remove the large area of cancer. During the surgery, part of Kreikemeier’s colon was removed. His gallbladder and spleen were removed entirely as they are not vital organs. Doctors also removed 40 percent of Kreikemeier’s pancreas and 20 percent of his stomach. Cancer cells were scraped from other visible areas.

When doctors administered hyperthermic chemotherapy. During this process, the chemotherapy drugs were raised to 108 degrees and then poured into Kreikemeier’s abdomen. The incision was closed and the chemotherapy was eventually absorbed into the body where it goes to work on any remaining cancer cells.

Kreikemeier was transferred from ICU to a regular room at the Nebraska Medical Center after a week and as soon as he is strong enough he will begin chemotherapy every three weeks for the next six to 12 months. Doctors will continue to monitor the chemo’s effectiveness through periodic scans during that time.

The financial strain of these treatments and surgeries is weighing heavily on the Kreikemeier family. Kreikemeier worked at his construction job until the day before his surgery. His wife, Tammy, works as an activities director at a nursing home in Schuyler and is going to school. Their children: Cory, Chris, Cody, Carla, Craig and Chelsea, are all graduates of North Bend Central. While their kids were in school, the Kreikemeier family was involved in MatCats, the Booster Club and other activities supporting their children. They are members of St. Charles Catholic Church.

While the Kreikemeiers do have insurance, there are a lot of incidentals that are not covered by insurance. To try to help with some of these expenses, friends and family have organized a benefit to be held on Saturday, Sept. 22.

The day will begin with a 5K Fun Run/Walk that begins in the parking lot of North Bend Central High School. Registration will be at 7:30 a.m. and the walk steps off at 8 a.m. Cost for the walk is $25 and includes a T-shirt. To pre-register, contact Danelle Ehrisman at 402-380-0180 or go to www.allsportcentral.com.

At 1 p.m., a four-person scramble will be held at the North Bend Golf Course. Cost is $60 per person and includes 18 holes of golf, cart and a T-shirt. Pin prizes will be awarded. To pre-register, contact Dan Birchem at 402-372-6175.

A spaghetti dinner will be held that evening at the Dodge Auditorium. Serving begins at 5 p.m. with free-will offerings being accepted.

Raffle items, a silent auction and a live auction will also be held. Auction items already donated include Husker football tickets and autographed Husker items. A full list of auction items will be printed prior to the benefit. To make a donation, please contact Dan Birchem at 402-372-6175. A dance with cash bar will follow the spaghetti dinner at the Dodge Auditorium.

For those who cannot attend the benefit, an account has been established at any Great Western Bank. Just reference the Mark Kreikemeier Family benefit.
Cheryl Sudbeck of the Howells Journal and Mary Le Arneal of the North Bend Eagle contributed to this article.

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