Helping a friend through crisis

Published: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 6:51 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 6:52 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — Friends of Pam Mansnerus have set up a benefit banking account to help with expenses as Mansnerus battles cancer.

Mansnerus was diagnosed three years ago with non-small cell lung carcinoma, a disease that took the lives of her mother, an aunt, and two years ago, her brother. She has also been hit with metastatic spinal cord and brain tumors.

Friends Kristi Warren and Diane Temple have established the Pam Mansnerus Benefit Account at Heartland Bank and Trust in Princeton. Warren and Temple will oversee the account to help make sure essential needs are met for the family.

Warren said she and Temple had worked with Mansnerus for more than 20 years at Perry Memorial Hospital.

“We felt in our hearts that we needed to help a friend, so we set up this account,” Warren said. “After more than 20 years working together, you become like family.”

Temple agreed, saying she had worked with Mansnerus on a daily basis. The past three years have been hard as Mansnerus worked around her treatments, first part-time for a short time before working her way back up to full-time and then taking disability about a year ago.

“It was basically from the heart of working with Pam all these years that Kristy and I got together and decided this account is what we wanted to do,” Temple said.

As she has watched Mansnerus go through the past three years, Temple said she has learned yet again that you need to live your life the best you can and to not let the little things get to you because they don’t matter than much. Life is short, and every day is to be appreciated, Temple said.

On Wednesday, Steve Mansnerus said his wife is a remarkable and strong woman who has been through a lot, with different drugs, radiation and treatment. Her chemotherapy doctor said Pam has rewritten some of the books on how things will go with certain drugs, and her case will be used in future studies, Steve said.

His wife was hospitalized most recently one week ago at Perry Memorial and then transferred on Labor Day to Colonial Hall Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in Princeton, where she remains, Steve said. Through everything, she has received wonderful care from the hospitals and Colonial Hall, doctors and staff, he said.

The Mansneruses have been married 32 years and have three grown children, who are also strong as they go through this with their parents, Steve said.

“It’s an amazing experience to see your kids grow up and then come to take care of you,” Steve said.

About three weeks ago, Pam changed her mind about a very important decision in her life, Steve said. After years of not wanting to be an organ donor, she decided that, when the time comes, she wants to donate her entire body for cancer research, Steve said.

Looking back on these past three years, Steve said this is a journey they have faced together as a couple. The doctors caught his wife’s cancer early, and they’ve had three years together, for which they are grateful.

But this week has been a tough one, Steve said, not knowing how much time his wife has left, another hour, a couple more days, another week.

“It’s been a long journey, but I hope she goes quickly because I don’t want her to suffer,” Steve said.

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