It’s been a journey for Sharon Yoder, in the literal and figurative sense.
The Colorado native received a breast cancer diagnosis in Denver 18 months ago, just weeks before she moved to Jamestown.
After months of chemotherapy in Jamestown, radiation in Colorado and appointments, surgery as well as other services in Bismarck, Yoder rang the bell at Jamestown Regional Medical Center on Dec. 2. She is the second to ring the bell since the center opened in June 2018.
“I’m doing my happy dance,” she said from her room at the JRMC Cancer Center.
Sharon and her husband, Mike, moved to Jamestown last year. Their grandson, Dalton Yoder, plays football for the University of Jamestown. The couple didn’t want to miss a game. And despite Sharon’s illness, they haven’t.
“We go to everything. The games. The plays. The concerts. We love it,” Sharon said of the school and her new town. She loves UJ so much, she even deliberately wore a Jimmies t-shirt on the day she rang the bell.
“We’re big UJ supporters,” she said.
Staying positive hasn’t always been easy – she’s had ups and downs throughout the journey. Gastrointestinal issues. Sleepless nights. A three-day stint in the hospital. Blood transfusions.
“Cancer takes over your life,” Mike said. “It’s been a long 18 months.”
Through it all, Sharon found comfort in the teams at JRMC.
“You couldn’t get better care,” she said. “Not even in Denver.”
She credits the cancer center team: Dr. Shelby Terstriep and Registered Nurses K.C. Robison and Garret Hillius. She also credits the JRMC Emergency Department team as well as her physicians including Dr. Kent Diehl, JRMC Emergency Department; Dr. Christopher Maki, Sanford Health general surgeon; Dr. Mandy Sorlie, Sanford Health family medicine specialist; and Dr. James Stone, locum general surgeon for JRMC.
“Jamestown is blessed to have this facility and it’s amazing staff,” she said.
She’s grateful for the support from her husband, grandson, extended family and friends. On Dec. 2, she said she’d received texts and calls congratulating her and wishing her well from Colorado, Wisconsin, California and all across the country.
“My family, they’ve gone through this too. Mike has never missed an appointment,” she said.
Now that she’s completed her treatment, Yoder says she will rest and recover from 11 months of chemotherapy and its side effects. Once she is well, however, she has big plans. She wants to volunteer at the JRMC Cancer Center and offer support to others like her.
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.