Local cancer patient surprised by support group at first chemo treatment

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 5:48 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A cancer diagnosis is an incredibly scary moment in someone’s life, which is why having friends and family members show up for a patient can make all the difference.

In February, Kelly Custer found out she had breast cancer.

“Things went really really fast,” said Custer. “There wasn’t much time to breathe or to think, which was good for me.

On March 10, Kelly left home for her first chemotherapy treatment. She says she was anxious and very nervous, until she saw what was waiting for her outside the Marshfield Clinic Cancer Center. Dozens of her closest family members, friends and coworkers from Robbins Elementary School showed up to make sure Kelly knew this was a team effort.

“The group that lined the sidewalk on my first chemo treatment,” said Custer. “They set the tone for my journey. By the time I got through the line, and when I reached for that door to walk in, I had the most overwhelming sense of calmness and peace. I’ve never felt anything so intense as I did that day. And when I opened that door, I was ready. I was ready to start my journey and I knew that I had all the love and support that I was gonna need to get me through it.”

Support comes in all forms. Social workers with Marshfield Clinic say the best thing you can do for a loved one who’s gotten that diagnosis is to simply ask what they need.

“I think as long as you’re trying to offer support in any way, it can always be helpful,” said Marcy Elwood, a social worker in the oncology department at Marshfield Clinic. “Sometimes just a listening ear can be what someone needs. Sometimes someone might feel more comfortable offering practical support, such as a ride to an appointment or providing a meal for somebody.”

For Kelly, the fight seems a lot more manageable, with so much love to lead the way.

“Never in a million years do you expect that you’re gonna hear the words that you have cancer,” said Custer. “But if I had to hear them, I’m so thankful that I have these people behind me.”

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