THE BACKSTORY

Long before there was social media, cell phones, or acronyms like BFF, there existed a magical, unexplained bond and relationship between a very special person who I will refer to as “my brother from another mother” and me. He is my BEST FRIEND FOREVER. This rare and special person is Steve Klemstine.

Steve is a retired Norfolk, Virginia firefighter and first responder having dedicated 39 years of his life serving and assisting others, often times placing himself in danger while rescuing those in harm's way. And in other times, it was a matter of just being there for someone to lean on or just listen.

Steve is also a U. S. Army combat veteran serving in the Vietnam War. Steve, having been exposed to Agent Orange, like many of our veterans returning home from that war, has developed various medical problems.

Steve was diagnosed and treated for cancer of the appendix nine years ago, and it was thought to have been totally eradicated. However, a very tiny snippet was missed and over the years it has grown in the abdominal cavity undetected. It has developed into an extremely rare cancer commonly referred to as “Jelly Belly” cancer. (PMP is the clinical acronym for it). It is a mucinous jelly-like liquid that fills all the void space in and around the organs in the abdominal area as well as encapsulating the organs themselves.

Steve has undergone a barrage of screenings and testing in the Norfolk, Virginia area where they detected and diagnosed the cancer and recommended a plan for treatment and hopeful cure. But with his daughter, Kristy, residing in Houston, Texas, where the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center is located, it only made sense to obtain a second opinion there, addressing the best approach to treat the cancer. After more screenings and testing, it has been determined that the cancer has now spread to the colon as well. STEVE HAS A BATTLE ON HIS HANDS. But knowing him like a brother and his family for over 50 years now, I can tell you the cancer has a battle of its own against Steve!

                                                                                  THE COSTS

After a great deal of discussion, prayers, tears, and guidance from the Lord, a decision was made by the family to have the surgeries and treatments take place at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
For the emotional and physical well being of Bonnie, Steve's dedicated and caring wife, and for Steve to concentrate on healing and not worrying about family, living accommodations were obtained closer to the Center for Bonnie, to have access to the hospital 24 hours a day without any additional stress.

                                                                          HOW YOU CAN HELP

The fund account that I am asking you to graciously donate to will be used to cover costs for living accommodations, food, and transportation of family members while staying in Houston at various times as Steve undergoes weeks, if not months, of numerous surgeries and chemo treatments at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. It will also help to cover other medical expenses not covered under their insurance as well as any other miscellaneous expenses. Any residual funds will be donated to the cancer research center.

Throughout the years, I have seen this family give so much of themselves to others like their community, church, family, friends, charities, and even strangers when called upon. Never did they turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to anyone. To those of you who know Steve personally, if you needed something repaired, you only need mention it, and it was done.

They had no knowledge of this fund request at the time it was posted. If I had approached them with the idea, it would have been a DEFINITE NO! NOW, it is time that they be the recipients of the gifts of others. Any amount given would be received graciously.

May God guide the surgeons in this next chapter of Steve and his family's life.

Thank you immensely and God bless us all!

Organizer and beneficiary

Ron Williams
Chesapeake, VA
Bonnie Klemstine

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