Kindness of family and neighbors helps local man cope with cancer
MAGNOLIA -- Calvin Staubus remembers frequently driving past a residence more than 20 years ago and noticing a lot of children playing out in the yard. He had no connection with the family; he didn't even know their names. He simply knew the family had a lot of children.
Time passed and Staubus moved from the Worthington area to Omaha, Neb. He didn't think much of the children again, but one particular child in the family would later play a significant part in Staubus' life.
Calvin and his wife, Tamera, moved back to southwest Minnesota and settled in Magnolia in 2005 after his wife was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer. Life was complicated and they were presented with even more hardships when Calvin was later diagnosed with colon cancer.
Their faith, along with the help of family, friends and neighbors helped the couple get through this difficult period of their lives. Calvin distinctly recalled the kindness of one particular neighbor -- Jessica Knips -- who happened to be one of the children he would often see as he drove past the "home with many children."
Knips, along with many of the neighbors, provided support in the form of hot meals, snow removal and in any other way needed.
"I never would have thought driving by there that one of those little kids would have my back twenty-some years down the road through one of the darkest points in my life," Staubus said of Knips. "It's just strange and amazing how things work."
Cancer consumed many aspects of Calvin and Tamera's lives. Between increased fatigue and the next dose of chemotherapy, the two were no longer able to physically work.
Tamera passed away on March 20, 2011 after more than five years of battling cancer.
"I turn around when I'm getting ready to leave the house and say, 'I'll be right back', but I don't have to because there's no one there anymore," Staubus said of the changes he's experienced since his wife's passing. "After being married 31 years, it's different."
Although it was painful to watch his wife undergo harsher and harsher chemotherapy treatments, Calvin noted that some good did emerge during her illness.
"It was amazing to watch how Tamera affected people and my own life," he said. "It was amazing how she touched people's lives at the very end."
Staubus has been cancer-free for almost a year. His cells are at a normal level and his prognosis looks promising.
When asked what has helped get him through such hardships, he simply stated, "I don't comprehend giving up."
He is slowly trying to get back into a routine and has recently returned to his line of work at laying drywall.
His life was completely altered since learning of his wife's diagnosis. Throughout it all he's come to discover the deep-seated will an individual has to survive.
"I believe there's a reason for us being here," he added. "I've learned that I have to let go. You pray for things and you have to learn that God's going to answer your prayers. Although the answers are not always on your timetable, he's never late."
Staubus has seen his prayers answered through the kindness of those around him -- and sometimes even from complete strangers. Their gestures have been unexpected and have profoundly touched his heart.
"I don't know what I ever did to deserve neighbors like this," he noted. "They're unbelievable."
His neighbors are rallying again to help him, this time in the form of a benefit that will help cover some of the Staubus' medical expenses. He is thankful for their support, but he admits receiving help from others has been something he's had to learn to do.
"I've done for other people all my life, but to have other people do for me -- that is hard. I've learned a lot about humility throughout this whole process. I've had to learn to let go and let people around you help you."
The benefit is slated from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Luverne Pizza Ranch with 15 percent of the proceeds going towards medical expenses. Those wishing to help with the benefit can either dine at the restaurant, order carry-out or delivery.