Cancer. It’s a word no one wants to hear, especially as a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one. Such a disease is even more heartbreaking and difficult for young families living a long distance away from the support system of family and friends. That has been the case for one Tea resident and her family.
Mandi Steele is in her first year as the 5-12 choral music teacher in Lennox, and received her Master of Music from the University of South Dakota. Both Steele and her husband, Jeremy, are originally from Idaho, but have recently moved to Tea, SD after living in northern Nebraska for seven years. Jeremy is a part time handyman, and is also the full time care taker for oldest son Weldon, who has multiple disabilities. In addition to Weldon, the Steeles have four daughters — Haydn, Emmaline, Leighanne and Jessie.
It’s a picturesque family living the American dream. Then disaster strikes.
“I was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer right before Thanksgiving,” said Steele. “It is a cancer of the lymphatic system – the system that is supposed to fight infections.”
It’s one of the most curable cancers out there, but is still no cake walk.
“I went from being completely healthy, to having cancer within a matter of months. I didn’t begin to show symptoms of the cancer until October, and by November had the diagnosis. It all happened so fast, I barely had time to process the news of the diagnosis.”