The Siek family got a special gift this Christmas – a dad who is done with cancer treatments.
Husband, father and grandfather Chris Siek rang the cancer center bell three times on Friday, Dec. 20. He is the third cancer survivor to ring at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
“I’ve been ready for this for six months,” Siek said about his cancer journey.
Sanford Health Family Medicine Physician, Dr. Justin Rosenau, diagnosed him with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) on May 1.
The active 39-year-old was working a full-time and part-time job, in addition to caring for his family. His stay in a hospital felt like a prison, he remembers, because he couldn’t work or see his family. He wasn’t even well enough to attend his grandson’s first birthday, though he is confident he will attend the second.
Siek received about 100 arsenic infusions – three-hour treatments every day for four weeks at a time. Originally, he traveled to Fargo for those infusions. However, with the opening of the JRMC Cancer Center in July, life changed.
“It’s way easier to drive two miles compared to 200,” he said.
The day he rang the bell was a special one for his wife, Missy, and children, Mercedes, Ethan and Skyler. Also in attendance was Ashley, Skyler’s girlfriend and Easton, Siek’s 19-month-old grandson.
“Christopher has a positive attitude,” Missy said. “That helped the family quite a bit.”
JRMC opened the cancer center in July. It anticipated serving about 40 treatments each month, said Mike Delfs, JRMC President & CEO. Since October, the JRMC Cancer Center has served more than 100 each month.
“Building the JRMC Cancer Center took a decade of work. It’s humbling to see us serving the community in this way. It’s also bittersweet,” Delfs said.
Amongst the pride and excitement were feelings of sorrow.
“We know not every ending is a happy one,” Delfs said.
The same day Siek rang the bell, another patient chose to terminate service and go on hospice services instead.
The Siek family felt the same way.
Siek said he remembered a special uncle, Mike Doyle, who passed away from cancer in 2011. He was 56.
Doyle’s daughter and Siek’s cousin, Nikki Wibstad, attended the bell ringing in support of Chris.
“I’m emotional,” she said. She remembers how Siek and her dad drank coffee together and helped each other with house projects. “He was a special uncle to Chris.”
Now that treatments are complete, Siek said he’s looking forward to returning to work.
“I’m going back to full-time next week,” he said. “No matter what they say.”
For the family, they are looking forward to having their father back.
“It’s big man’s special day,” Missy said. “An extra special Christmas present.”
To learn more about the JRMC Cancer Center call (701) 952-3954.
Jamestown Regional Medical Center, in partnership with Sanford Health, opened the JRMC Cancer Center in 2019. The JRMC Cancer Center serves 100 people from Sanford and other healthcare organizations in the Jamestown area each month, saving more than 160,000 miles of travel each year.