10:07 a.m., May 13, 2011
Day Four of the Packers Tailgate Tour made a special visit to the Luther Midelfort – Albert J. & Judith A. Dunlap Cancer Center where the players spent some time with cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
The group took pictures with David Kraft, who today was receiving recognition for finishing six weeks of radiation treatment for his lung cancer. He was surprised to have a little extra attention as he rang the bell in the lobby, a ritual at the center for patients who have completed a treatment.
“It was exciting, that’s for sure,” he said. “It lifted my heart up a bit. But it was even more exciting for my wife, Joy, who is a double Packers fan. I’m just a single.”
Farther inside the facility, the group visited with patients in their treatment rooms and took pictures and signed autographs. All were smiles at the surprise. The facility’s nurses, doctors and other staff took delight in the visit, too.
Hall of Famers Forrest Gregg and Jim Taylor made this tour stop as well. The visit was especially meaningful for Gregg, a two-time cancer survivor who battled melanoma and colon cancer.
“When I had cancer and was getting treatment, I met people in the hospital who also had it and survived,” he explained. “It gave me hope that I could survive, too.
“Meeting survivors can give you the ambition to survive, so for me, it’s a good thing to do this, to let them know that they can win.”
Matt Flynn found the visit an important one, too.
“It’s amazing and humbling to see these people being so upbeat about their battle,” he said. “It means a lot to me to be here. I have a lot of respect for them.”
More information about the center is available online at www.mayohealthsystem.org/mhs/live/page.cfm?pp=locations/locationhome.cfm&orgid=LM
The tour continues east for tonight’s party at Wausau’s Marathon Park benefit to The Women’s Community, Inc. Tickets are still available.
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