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Friends & Family of Joanna Briede Battling Cancer

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      Hello, my name is Tiffany Elzinga and I am here for my sister Joanna Briede. If your reading this, I would first like to thank you for taking the time from your busy life to hear about her story and help support her courageous battle.

      You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but she is in recovery. She is a colorectal cancer survivor and is getting stronger each day. If you know Joanna and Ryan personally than you know that they are a compassionate and caring couple.

        They give back through the community through volunteer work at there home church and through the foster care program. Unfortunately, after being diagnosed with cancer they had to give up their dream of being foster parents indefinitely.  Over the past few years they have taken in and cared for 10 children in the system. Sadly, because they really wanted to be parents, they couldn't adopt any of the children because they were all reunited with there birth families. Fortunately, She is able to express her nurturing spirit as a pediatric nurse in Childrens Hospital. Ryan uses his connections from fostering to help others at the Yes home, an institution that provides guidance for troubled teens. 

      Through the years, this couple has suffered through many ups and downs, especially after she almost died from appendicitis two years ago. Both Joanna and Ryan have continously been a source of inspiration and encouragement in their community. Please do what you can to help them. They truly deserve it. Now, my sister would like tell you about her side of the story. 
     Joanna- On February 22, I woke up around noon following a night shift at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital experiencing excruciating abdominal pain. I was rushed to Mercy West Hospital by my sister, Tiffany Elzinga. They discovered an alarming mass on my left ovary. My family was with me when I heard the phrase “cancer”. My nieces were there and I felt that it was very important to include them in what was going on despite their being young at 14 and 7 years old. I think the news hit my husband the hardest. All I could think of at that time was no matter what I have to do to survive this, I will do it for him.

        Although, it has been one heck of a year. For  everyone, as well as my family has dealt with difficult times this year. My heart goes out to all the families struggling due to the corona virus. Isolating yourself, even to stay healthy is very hard on a person.  When you have cancer though, it becomes a matter of survival.

       After a few more tests and examinations, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer and was told I would need immediate surgery to remove it. I had a full hysterectomy and colostomy put in on March 5.  During the next four months, I healed from surgery, learned how to manage my colostomy, underwent four rounds of chemotherapy, and planned for my next surgery. I learned to view the scars on my stomach as testaments to my bravery and strong will to beat cancer     

         Next, I had surgery to reverse my colostomy and remove a lesion they found in my liver. Fortunately, the surgery went well thanks to some amazing doctors and nurses. I was discharged after only one day in the hospital. I discovered eating well and walking frequently was the key to a speedy discharge.My next step is to go through eight more rounds of chemotherapy. The first round reminded me just how tough chemotherapy can be to go through.

 Even though my insurance has covered a substantial portion of the medical costs from surgery and chemotherapy, we have not been able to  keep up with the mounting Medical debt and living expenses. I’m unable to work at the hospital and had to go on leave until I’m completely healed from cancer. This loss of income has been devastating to our finances.My husband and I felt that it was time to ask for help financially from our friends and family.  The money we receive will be used to pay medical bills, travel expenses throughout treatment, and monthly household bills and expenses.

   We appreciate any support you can give, whether It’s financial or spiritual. I’m always grateful for prayers on our behalf. I will keep everyone updated as often as I can. Ryan and I would like to thank everyone for all the love and support we have received. It means the world to us. 

Organizer and beneficiary

Tiffany Elzinga
Organizer
Bright, IN
Ryan Briede
Beneficiary

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