Lending a hand in time of need

October 19, 2016

     Cutting wood has never felt so satisfying for friends of Al Gamauf who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

     On Saturday, October 8th, coworkers of Al Gamauf from Arrowhead Transit gathered at his home in Finlayson to cut and stack 6 cords of wood for Al and his wife, Sue. “Al hasn’t been driving because he has cancer and had been going through chemo. He is limited in what he can do, and they only use wood to heat their home,” said Darlene Wetchen, fellow Arrowhead Transit driver. “And we decided to help.” 

     Darlene and other coworkers took a donation to gather money for wood. Money was raised and collected and the wood was ordered. The group also contacted a Boy Scout group out of Pine City to come and stack the wood. Lunch was anonymously donated for the work crew and consisted of chili, homemade bread, apple crisp, sandwiches and chips. The delivery charge was courtesy of Bass Lake Lumber. 

     “Al is such a hard worker and we wanted to help him in a time of need,” said Wetchen. “On the last day I worked with him, we were washing buses by hand in the rain, and he wouldn’t quit. But he hasn’t been able to work since then. He and his wife are wonderful, and at Arrowhead, it is like a family. We wanted to do something for him like we know he would do for others.” 

     “It’s humbling that my coworkers came and did this,” said Al Gamauf. “Sometimes pride sets in and you think you can do things yourself, but sometimes we need help. What the guys are doing is the biggest task to complete since it’s our main source of heat since we use very little propane due to the high cost.” 

“I’m so grateful to Al’s coworkers and anyone else in the community that has offered to help us out,” said Sue Gamauf. “It has been a real humbling experience.” 

     Sue stated that the biggest challenge for them during Al’s treatment has been the change in lifestyle. “Instead of him getting up everyday to go to work, we have a whole different scenario going on,” said Sue Gamauf. “We had a certain way of living, and were not living that way anymore. Finding foods that he can tolerate has been a big challenge, with his diet going from solids to liquids. But we are hopeful because Al is in the 40% of people who get pancreatic cancer that the doctors think they can help. But most of all, God has been good through it all.”

     According to Al’s Gofundme page, he will need eight rounds of chemotherapy, every two weeks for 16 weeks, from Essentia Health in Duluth. This will be followed by 20 rounds of radiation, every weekday for four weeks straight. They believe this will shrink the tumor to create the space needed to do surgery and get Al back on the road to recovery. 

If interested in visiting Al’s gofundme page, see https://www.gofundme.com/2sfac4s

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