MOLINE -- Four ''sisters in Christ" at Faith Lutheran Church knew they had the strength to face serious illnesses on their own, but fellow parishioners wanted to lend them a hand.|
Faith Lutheran will host a "Benefit for 4 Sisters" trivia night on Friday at the church, 1611 41st St., Moline. Doors open at 6 p.m., and trivia start at 7. The cost is $10 per person. To reserve a table, call (309) 797-1981. Walk-ins are welcome. People can bring snacks or buy them at the event.
"We worship at a church filled with people who are Christ lovers and people lovers," said Dianne Miner, of Coal Valley, who is facing a rare form of liver cancer. "As a church, we always talk about being the hands and feet of Jesus."
"And who are we to step on the hands and feet of God," said Andria McDermott, of Moline, who underwent heart surgery in October and whose son, Jacob, 13, recently received treatment for an aggressive bone tumor. "When the church called and talked about doing a fundraiser for us, it brought tears to my eyes."
"We are very hard-working people who want to do things ourselves," said Krista Rittenhouse, who is Mrs. Miner's daughter and recently returned from having breast cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic. "It's so hard for us to accept help."
Yet, helping the four women, including Bobbie Furr, who has advanced breast cancer, is what their church believes God is leading them to do, Mrs. Miner said.
"We have a loving church and congregation, and we feel strongly that we have the chance to be a blessing to these four women in Christ," council President Lori Turner said.
"And it's a beautiful thing to see that no matter how I feel, people here love me, and our church really cares for me," Mrs. Rittenhouse said.
"I would have said 'heck no,'" Ms. McDermott said. "I normally don't tell anyone anything about what's happening at home and am not interested in having to be taken care of.
"I've been on the other side of it, though, and l liked taking meals to people when they were in need but didn't want anyone to do something like that for me."
"We feel collectively blessed and loved," Mrs. Miner said. "Having these illnesses and calamities challenges you physically, mentally, spiritually, financially and socially."
"It's almost embarrassing to tell people about because you feel so damaged," Mrs. Rittenhouse said.
Mother and daughter each face a rare form of cancer. Mrs. Miner said her hepta cellular carcinoma is not typically found in North America, and her daughter's breast cancer is not common in women so young.
Mrs. Miner said her husband, Clark Miner, has "wonderful insurance." Mrs. Rittenhouse said she doesn't even want to know how much it costs for things not covered by insurance and said her husband, Todd Rittenhouse, is "working seven days a week to pay all the bills."
Mrs. McDermott figures her family has about $20,000 in costs not covered by insurance between her and her son's medical problems.
"Insurance doesn't cover MRI's, each costing about $1,850, or the drives to Iowa City," or related expenses, she said, adding she and her son have to return to the University of Iowa Medical Center every six weeks.
Mrs. Miner said she goes to the Mayo Clinic every three weeks for treatment, and she and her daughter rode together last week to Rochester for treatments.
Fundraiser organizers hope to raise at least $4,000 for the four women, Ms. Turner said, and believe they already have raised the women's spirits and feelings of being loved at Faith.