Abilene Woman Benefits from Local Cancer Fund

At age 74, Judy still mows her own lawn, trims trees, cleans the gutters of her house, changes the oil in the mower, even stains the cedar framed house she lives in, outside of Abilene.

And if she has her way, she’ll continue to do those things, despite having had cancer.

The Abilene woman was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in January, and has benefited from financial gifts from the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund of Dickinson County.

By January 23, she was taking radiation treatments, two times a day, in Salina at the Tammy Walker Cancer Center. The treatments had to be six hours apart, so she would take the first one in the morning, then go to her daughter’s house in Salina until mid-afternoon, when she could start the next treatment.

Then she did twelve chemotherapy treatments, three days’ worth of treatment then 21 days off. Goodwin could drive herself to the appointments but her daughter drove her home, because of Goodwin’s blurred vision due to the medicine.

The help from the Elsie Brooks fund was a godsend to Goodwin, who lives on her Social Security payment and a small pension. Her husband, Winslow, died from cancer seven years ago.

The Elsie Brooks Memorial Fund of Dickinson County was founded in 1993 with a gift from Brooks’ estate. The fund provides monies for those in the county undergoing cancer treatment.

While undergoing treatment, Goodwin, a genealogist buff, discovered that she is related to Elsie Brooks; Elsie’s grandmother, Margaret Sherbahn Stark, was a sister to Goodwin’s great-grandmother, Charlotte Sherbahn Dessenberger.

“I’ve gotten (financial) help from someone I never knew, except through my research,” she said.

Goodwin has decorated the graves in the Abilene cemetery, including Brooks’. Some years, she decorates up to forty graves for Memorial Day. She has photographed many of the headstones.

At a doctor’s appointment in early June, doctors found no sign of cancer.

She’s glad for that, and she’s glad for the help from the Fund.

“I was thankful they were so willing to help,” she said. “When it comes down to it, I’m living on a set budget. I was very appreciative of it.”

The Abilene rodeo hosts its annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the rodeo on Thursday, August 3, partnering with the Elsie Brooks Fund to raise money through voluntary donations. The rodeo has worked with the Elsie Brooks fund since 2008 and has raised over $42,000 for the fund.

The Elsie Brooks Fund has assisted its clients over 1,600 times since it began in 1993.

Fans are asked to wear pink to the rodeo on August 3.

Rodeo tickets can be purchased online at WildBillHickokRodeo.com, and at West’s Country Mart and other retailers. Tickets are $10 through July 31; after that, the price increases to $13. Children’s tickets are $7 for ages 4-10. For more information, visit WildBillHickokRodeo.com

Judy Goodwin and her late husband Winslow. The Abilene woman has benefited from the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund. The Abilene rodeo raises money for the fund each year. Photo courtesy Judy Goodwin.