November 20, 2020
Even as Paul Diehl encouraged his friends and neighbors to support the building of a new cancer center in Bemidji, he never imagined he would be a patient there.
As a member of the Sanford Health Foundation board, Paul helped fundraise for the Sanford Joe Lueken Cancer Center. He knew how important a comprehensive cancer center would be to the community.
Then just a year and a half after the cancer center opened, Paul learned he had lung cancer. The news would have been difficult under any circumstances, but after losing his wife just two months earlier, Paul didn’t know how he could handle this journey.
“I heard the word ‘cancer,’ and I shut down,” Paul said. But after meeting with the staff at the new cancer center, Paul was filled with hope. Not only had they caught his cancer early, but they also had a plan to save his life.
Within just a couple weeks, Paul had surgery to remove a lobe in his right lung. After recovering from surgery, he started chemotherapy. He handled the treatment very well, not experiencing the nausea that so often plagues cancer patients, and found comfort watching the outdoors through the window of his infusion room.
“The care I received at the cancer center was just extraordinary,” Paul said. “In addition to the fabulous facility, it was the staff that made the biggest difference for me, from the doctors to nurses to the housekeeping staff. They have hearts of gold and a genuine passion for caring for others.”
His treatment did leave him vulnerable to infection and as regional cases of COVID-19 continued to rise throughout the spring and summer, Paul stayed isolated as much as possible.
“It’s truly been a challenging year,” Paul said. “I’ve just been extremely blessed by the support of family, friends and the community as a whole.”
As Paul celebrated the end of his treatment, he also found hope for a healthy future. This holiday season, he can give thanks for his health alongside his children and grandchildren.
As you give thanks for all the blessings in your own life, please consider also giving more families strength and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Visit sanfordhealthfoundation.org/holidays to make your first and most important gift of the season.