Future minister cancer stricken

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112308938832518.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Diann and Blane Swanson’);

On May 28, 2005, 19-year-old Freeport resident Blane Swanson fell ill during a church-sponsored trip. His parents, Navy veteran Joseph Swanson and Freeport Health Network employee Diann Swanson brought him to the hospital, where it was found he had acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). ALL causes immature white blood cells to rapidly form. This leads to loss of protection against infection and less production of needed oxygen-carrying red blood cells and blood-clotting platelets (www.oncologychannel.com). Now, instead of enjoying his youth, this soft-spoken young man must endure chemotherapy five times a week.

Cancer leaves more in its tracks than just an unwell body. Emotional and financial problems are also results. Blane’s family, church, and work are doing what they can to help. Park Hills Church provides emotional support as well as faith for Blane, who has been involved in church activities since he was 14. The church also holds car washes and gives the earnings to Blane’s family. Blane’s trust in God is strong. He says, “I don’t have any fear.” Blane currently participates in “students with a testimony,” [SWAT] a church-related youth group. His plans for the future include attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago to become a youth minister. He says, “ …What I want to do for them [youth] is just be someone there that can be like an older brother.”

His mother says, “I can be proud to watch the choices that he makes.”

Blane’s sickness and added financial burdens will put his plans on hold. He will not be able to work for at least a year.

His co-workers are trying to make sure Blane’s dream still comes true. Blane’s employer, Freeport Goodwill, has done much to help Blane and his family through this hardship. Store Manager Rich Janicke provides emotional support for the family while General Manager Craig Grugel raises public awareness of the Swanson family’s situation with in-store banners.

Blane continues to fight against this disease. His mother, Diann Swanson, says: “We’ll handle it together. It’s amazing how many people love him. People he doesn’t even know. I have been blessed with him.” Diann Swanson appreciates everyone who has helped her family in this battle.

Contributions can be sent to: Goodwill Attn: Rich Janicke, 2030 W. Galena Ave., Freeport, IL 61032, or in-store at East State Street Goodwill, Rockford..

From the Aug. 3-9, 2005, issue

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