Editor’s note: this is the second of a series of stories featuring cancer survivors in honor of Friday’s Relay for Life of Dodge County.
Evelyn Schlueter is celebrating a 20th anniversary.
In 1992, she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. she has remained cancer free in the two decades since then.
And once again this year, the Hooper woman and some of her family members will take part in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Dodge County. Schlueter has participated in the event since 1992.
This year’s event starts at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Field in Fremont and concludes at 7 a.m. the next day. the public is invited and admission is free.
“I walk (around the track), not with a group, because I can’t last that long,” said Schlueter, 77. “I walk until the luminaries are lighted and they turn out the lights and we walk in silence around the track.”
Schlueter’s cancer battle began years ago after she found a lump in her breast.
She was scared.
Her first husband, Marvin Johnson, had died of lung cancer just the year before.
“I could remember how my husband suffered from cancer and I was so afraid I was going to be like him. He suffered so much,” she said.
She had a mastectomy and 28 glands removed, nine of which had cancer. she had chemotherapy and radiation treatments. she lived with her youngest son, Rod, during her treatment.
“He kind of took care of me and made sure I ate properly so I could take all of my medicine,” she said.
She has had no reoccurrences of the cancer.
“So far, so good,” she said, smiling.
In 1999, she remarried. she and her second husband, Patrick Schlueter, enjoyed traveling. they went to Canada, Oregon, Washington state, Branson, Mo., and Nashville.
Her son, Rod, and his wife, Amy, and their three children, were killed in a car-truck accident in August 2002.
Her husband, Pat, died of a heart attack in October that year, she said.
Sitting on the couch in her comfortable home, Evelyn Schlueter has several photographs of family members nearby.
She has five children: Neal Johnson, Sandra Hansen, Gary Johnson, Terry Johnson and Janet Hula; 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Photographs of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren dot the refrigerator in her kitchen.
She enjoys working as a custodian at the Hooper Post Office and attending a local Bible study.
“I had God on my shoulder,” she said remembering the year she had cancer. “He was on my shoulder, helping me be strong.”