Linda Kester

of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Because of her fibromyalgia, Linda was accustomed to living with pain. Her adventurous life as a pilot and rock climber was long over and she had just gone on medical disability. But when she finally had to admit that her extended belly was not from eating her favorite cheese, she sought medical help. Following an appointment with her gynecologist, things began to move swiftly.

Linda was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. Her surgeon removed 30 pounds of fluid and tumors that included portions of her stomach and colon in addition to a hysterectomy. The plan was for six chemotherapy treatments. Surgery had brought her CA-125 blood count from 1600 to 500. After two chemotherapy treatments, her count was down to 25. At that point, the medical bills started rolling in and Linda did not have medical insurance. She was so fearful – all of her applications for assistance were rejected – she had “fallen through the cracks” of government care. Linda felt she needed to make a choice: either quit treatment or incur tremendous debt. Linda had been so grateful for her caring, encouraging cancer team that she found it very difficult to tell them that she was going to stop after two treatments. Her team of doctors, nurses and, especially the oncology social worker, refused to give up on her. At this point the social worker helped Linda work through the necessary paperwork and Linda was granted assistance from a patient assistance Program. It was difficult for Linda to accept such a blessing. She had worked hard for everything she had in life. She completed her treatment regime and was so thankful that her blood count returned to near normal.

Linda’s life verse, Isaiah 40:31 says,” but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Linda had been living by these words of comfort for years – while caring for other family members with cancer, moving beyond personal trials and enduring her painful days of fibromyalgia. But now, she needed them more than ever. Linda grows stronger each day. And, instead of rock climbing, she’s happy to walk down the sidewalk. By partnering with her cancer team, Linda feels hopeful for a remission in the future.

According to Linda, “There is so much to fear in our lives today, we need faith just to get by.”Linda’s smile is contagious. She looks forward to sharing her story through HOPE Cancer Connection and inspiring others to “soar.”

A Note from HOPE: In August of 2016, following a courageous four year journey through ovarian cancer, Linda went home to her Lord and Savior. Linda leaves a legacy of faith, hope and love and will remain an inspiration to all who knew and loved her.