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By Jade McDowell
Gorge News Report 

Pig Bowl to benefit Goldendale woman’s fight against cancer

 


Every year, someone in the area who is struggling with the burden of heavy medical bills gets a helping hand from a community tradition known as the Pig Bowl, and Karen Warren, of Goldendale has been announced as this year’s recipient.

Warren, a mother of two children ages 12 and 14, is currently being treated for Stage 4 melanoma. All of the money raised at the Pig Bowl, a football game between Washington and Oregon law enforcement teams coming up on Sept. 29, will go to help her pay the costs associated with her treatment.

Warren’s journey started when she noticed a lump behind her collarbone in February. According to the message she wrote for the Pig Bowl website, she hoped it would go away on its own, but as a nurse she knew that after two weeks and growing discomfort it was time to get the lump checked out. Doctors couldn’t get a clear diagnosis from biopsies and Warren ended up having a racket-ball-sized mass removed from her shoulder and diagnosed as melanoma.

The abdominal scan right before her surgery revealed another mass on her spine, which quickly grew painful. Soon doctors discovered several lesions on her brain, upgrading the melanoma diagnosis to Stage 4.

In her Pig Bowl message she described all of the visits required just to determine what type of treatment will work best in her situation — a trip to radiation oncology to decide between focal and general radiation and a trip to medication oncology to decide on what medications she should be taking, for example.

“These ‘meet and greets’ take all day trips to OHSU, your family on hold, your work on hold, day by day, moment by moment decisions. It is overwhelming and tiring and requires a lot of prayer and strength from God,” she wrote.

She has since gone through radiation to her back and brain and is now in the medication phase, although she still may need surgery on her back.

“I have two wonderful children who take each day in stride. Cody, 14, and Crysta, 12, help make my life so full of joy,” she said. “I have parents who have put their life on pause to be there every moment when I need them and I have so many more family and friends who do the same. During this difficult time, I am blessed to know that there is also a community who cares. God is so good in my life and I know He blesses and only has good in store.”

The type of journey Warren is going through is extremely hard on the family finances, which is why she was chosen as the recipient of the money raised in this year’s Pig Bowl. Last year’s event raised $19,454 for the family of Gretchen McCoy, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer while pregnant with the McCoys’ youngest.

This year’s event will be Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. on the football field at the Wahtonka campus, with tickets going for $3 a person or $10 a family. For more information about the event or to make an advance donation visitwww.pig bowl.net.

 

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