Event’s “Restricted Gift” to honor Jim’s journey with cancer
BORGER (July 31, 2018) – One week is all it took for Jim Luginbyhl to go from joyfully assisting his wife Debbie as the event photographer for HOPE 2017 to finding out that his cancer had returned. Five years of remission and suddenly, the future was unsure again.
In October 2017 – one week after HOPE 2017 – Jim was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer that had metastasized to his lungs and liver, and he started chemo for the second time. It has not been an easy journey. “He has been septic twice, and had hemorrhaging at one time to the point they told us to call in our children - he would not be leaving the hospital. They gave us no hope at all,” recounts his wife Debbie.
Yet he did recover and continued with treatment. He had to start dialysis for six weeks with news he would never come off it, yet again he beat the odds. He started radiation after the hemorrhaging to help stop the bleeding and he did 30 rounds of that. Since then, he has continued with chemo at Texas Oncology in Amarillo.
He was able to return to work at Chevron Phillips Chemical after being on medical leave for 6 months. This is the type of man Jim Luginbyhl is – a fighter, who never let’s a diagnosis determine his destiny. “Jim has been relentless in his fight against cancer. He tackles each bout or battle with unbroken determination looking forward,” says Dan Feimster, HOPE 2018 Chairman and former coworker with Jim at CPChem.
“Jim has an incredible soul – he is kind, funny, and full of a vigor that lifts everyone around him,” describes Heather Feimster, HOPE 2018 Chairman. “We are honored to give Jim a platform to share his story.” This year’s tagline for HOPE is “Every Second Counts” – and Jim and Debbie’s story couldn’t be a better representation of that.
“This journey has made me want to live each day to its fullest,” Jim reflects, “Live in the moments and make memories that we cherish. Life is fragile and it reminds that one day at a time is what’s needed to face the challenge of surviving cancer.”
After moving to Borger in 2012 to be nearer their children and grandchildren during his first round of colon cancer, Jim and Debbie found a community of people who embraced them – part of the Texas panhandle spirit that HOPE tries to capture each year. “People in the community have blessed us with meals they brought on days of chemo. And lots of calls and texts and cards to encourage us and stay positive in this battle. We attend church at Grace Fellowship in Borger and we know our church family has been there for us as well as our daughter’s church, Riverview Baptist,” Debbie said.
In honor of Jim’s ongoing battle, the HOPE committee, in partnership with our American Cancer Society representatives, has designed this year’s Restricted Gift to directly help those in our community who are at risk for colon cancer. The 2018 HOPE Restricted Gift, inspired by Jim’s story and in partnership with Golden Plains Hospital, will provide free screening kits to residents of Hutchinson County within the recommended screening age range. Our goal is for all residents to complete colon cancer screening by the end of 2018. More information will be available on these services soon.
The “80% by 2018 Campaign” is a National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable initiative in which hundreds of organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem for those 45 and older. These organizations are working toward the shared goal of 80%of adults aged 45 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by the end of 2018. In Hutchinson County, 34% of residents are within the recommended age range for screening.
According to the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined and a cause of considerable suffering among nearly 135,000 adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. Colorectal screening rates for Texas is 60.1% (US is 67.3%), the Panhandle has presented to be lower in screening rates than the state and national screening rates (information pulled from CDC and DHHS).
When adults get screened for colorectal cancer, it can be detected early at a stage when treatment is most likely to be successful, and in some cases, it can be prevented through the detection and removal of precancerous polyps.
Screening can save lives but only if people get tested. There are several recommended screening test options, including: colonoscopy, stool tests, and sigmoidoscopy. However, the best test is the one that gets done.
In honor of Jim and his journey, the HOPE event through the Restricted Gift part of the evening plans to enable Hutchinson County to get these tests done, and stop colorectal cancer before it affects another family like the Luginbyhls.
For more than a 100 years, The American Cancer Society has been leading the fight to end cancer. With your support, we have helped usher in an era where more people survive cancer than ever before. By translating our research findings into action, we've seen a 20% decline in US cancer death rates since the early 1990s.
American Cancer Society
3915 Bell Street
Amarillo, TX 79109