Support continues for Janzen fight against cancer threat

Steve Janzen holds his youngest granddaughter, Zoey Janzen, during a special auction Sept. 13, which raised more than $12,000 for his cancer treatment in Dallas, Texas. Janzen, who is battling metastatic pancreatic cancer, begins clinical trials next Monday at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In about four months, family and friends raised almost $48,000, exceeding the goal of $40,000 to help with travel, food and lodging and treatment not covered by insurance. Patty Decker / Free PressFor almost four months donations have been pouring in to help Steve Janzen of Florence in his battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Phoebe, Steve?s wife, said the goal was to raise $40,000, which will be used to pay expenses not covered by insurance for an experimental treatment.

On Monday, Phoebe said they just got word that Steve was accepted into the clinical trials.

?We will leave Monday and won?t return (from Dallas) until Oct. 14, and after that will be going back every two weeks,? she said.

Prior to being accepted into the clinical trials, Phoebe explained they both went to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas to meet with their doctor.

?Steve went through several blood tests and other tests to determine if he was suitable for the clinical trial on pancreatic cancer,? she said.

Initially, the Janzens thought they would be going back to Texas in the latter part of September, but that was moved back because of the chemotherapy through the clinical trial.

?The clinical trial is an experimental use of a new cancer drug,? she said, ?and it is used on cancer patients willing to participate.

?The other things that have been happening is the avatar mice that were inflicted with Steve?s Cancer cells, and those cells grew and now the mice can be used to test drugs specific to Steve?s cancer.?

The procedure

Jeannie Wilden, a family friend, who has been spearheading the fundraising, explained the type of procedure Steve is going through.

?Genome analysis is usually an analysis of between 120-250 genes to identify gene mutations,? she said. ?A basic report with possible clinical trials identified is provided, and Steve did have that analysis done by two companies.?

He also had ?whole exome analysis,? Wildin said, which analyzes 20,000 genes. ?That company also provided all of the raw data to Dr. Terence Tan, and his team of scientists, to go to work identifying possible clinical trials.?

Biopsy material was sent to Champions Oncology in Hoboken, N.J., to be grafted into an avatar mouse, she explained.

?The tumor has shown measurable growth and is now ready for testing different drugs.

?A collaboration between the scientists at Champions Oncology and Dr. Tan and his team will determine which drugs to test?that process begins Wednesday morning.?

Wilden said the goal of raising $40,000 not only was realized, but exceeded.

?The fundraising has been amazing,? she said having raised a total of nearly $48,000. Our goal (of $40,000) was enough to cover the whole exome analysis and the avatar mouse tumor graft.?

The money, she added, will also cover travel and lodging once Steve begins his clinical trials.

Pushing them over the top was a recent auction raising almost $12,000, bringing the total to $44,000, Wilden said.

Last weekend, the 5K Crushing Cancer Run made about $3,600, she said, bringing the total to almost $48,000.

?If at the end of this process any money is left, it is the desire of Steve and Phoebe to set up a fund to help cancer patients in the future,? Wildin said.

Holding up

Phoebe said the family try to just take one day at a time and not let the situation worry them.

?We know we will do what we can and make the best of every day,? she said.

?We have wonderful family, church, and friend support. We have made friends through this illness and it has drawn our family closer together as well.?

Phoebe said Steve is reconnecting with past students through Facebook.

?He has enjoyed that interaction,? she said. ?But, are there times we get a little teary eyed and succumb to some sad times? Of course, we are human, but we support each other and get it back together again and move on with hope in our hearts and much support from others.?

Working in education

Steve taught Marion Middle School English for more than 30 years and for many of those years coached all three sports to include football, basketball and track.

After that, she said, he coached football and basketball the remaining 10 years.

?He helped coach high school basketball for girls for three years as well,? Phoebe said. ?Steve retired in 2006 and then drove an activity bus until this past year as his health declined.?

In addition, he also taught driver?s education in the summer time until 2014.

Even though he is retired from the school district, she said he currently tries to carry mail as a substitute mail carrier in the county.

Phoebe also worked for USD 410 as a high school and middle school counselor for 12 years before retiring in June of 2011.

?I have a massage business in our home, and we also have about 24 pygmy fainting goats that we have raised,? she said.

?We have cut our numbers down from about 60 goats at one time, and she said she is still trying to sell more so that she can get to a manageable level. Eventually I hope to get to about 10 goats.?

Anyone who would like to send well-wishes can do so by writing to the Janzens at 2361 110th St., Florence, KS 66851.

?We have received many emails and messages on Facebook as well as cards and letters,? she said. ?All of these things help keep us going and give us encouragement.?

Wildin said they are still raising money for the Janzens.

?We want to make certain that the Janzens have enough money to cover lodging and travel, which is dependent on how successful the trials are, how many are utilized, and the locations,? Wildin added.

?Crushing Cancer? T-shirts are still available at the Marion Chamber of Commerce office and all proceeds from the sales will be used to support this process, she said.

Wildin said financial gifts will also be accepted online via: stevejanzen.myevent.com or by writing to Wildin?s store, County Seat, 130 E Main, Marion, or to Tampa State Bank.

Written By
More from Patty Decker
Lake residents present complaints
The Marion County ComĀ­mission listened to an unhappy group of county lake...
Read More