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Tough Enough to Wear Pink

When Denise Bailey was going for her radiation treatments, paying for fuel to drive back and forth to the doctor in Hays was the last thing on her mind.

She just knew she had to get to the hospital every day for fifteen days straight.

When she received a check from the Hope in the Heartland fund, she was relieved. “It was something I didn’t think about, how I would pay for gas. And then you get this money, and you think, I can pay for the fuel.”

Denise, of Norcatur, Kansas, was diagnosed with DCIS: ductal carcinoma in situ, a form of breast cancer that is in the milk ducts of the breast, in July of 2018. When she got the call, she had trouble absorbing the news.

“When they told me I had cancer, they said you have the good cancer. I’m thinking, ‘good cancer? What’s good about cancer?’”

Through a mammogram and biopsy, doctors had caught her cancer at stage 0. It had not spread yet. Surgery was done in August to remove the ducts, then radiation started in October.
She drove to and from Hays for fifteen days to take radiation. It didn’t affect the high-energy woman like it does some people. “I wasn’t tired,” she said. “I’m one of those people that goes and goes and goes and goes.” The only effect she had from it was the sensation of a sunburn in the area that received radiation.

Denise and her husband Gail, along with their sons, farm and run cattle. They’ve been to the Phillipsburg rodeo numerous times, and understand the concept of working around large animals like bulls. A few years ago, their youngest son, Lucas, loaded a bull to go to the butcher. The bull threw him into the air and mauled him when he landed on the ground. Lucas was taken to the hospital in Kearney, Neb., to be checked. He was OK, with nothing but bumps and bruises, but the family teases him now. “We give him a hard time about his professional bull riding career,” Denise laughed. “It wasn’t very good.” They understand what the bull riders and bullfighters go through. Lucas “knows what those guys feel like. He was bruised up for a while.”

Doctors have pronounced Denise cancer free. She will take medication for three years as a preventative. As she drives to and from her work in Norton each day, she has time to think about her family, which includes son Mark and his wife Shayla and son Lucas and his wife Alyssa, and five grandkids. The oldest grandchild is a daughter, the only girl, and “she’s spoiled with grandma and grandpa,” Denise said. As she drives, her mind wanders. “Something might pop Pic of grandkids with this caption: Denise Bailey, who benefitted from the Hope in the Heartland funds raised by the Phillipsburg Rodeo, looks forward to enjoying time spent with her grandchildren.  2 into my head about the future. When my granddaughter gets married, I’d like to go to her wedding.” With her cancer free status, she can look forward to that.

She’s grateful for the Hope in the Heartland funds. “I think it’s a great thing (the rodeo) does. I didn’t realize the wonderful thing they did for people.”

Funds for local people undergoing cancer treatment are raised in several ways. One of those ways is through the selfless donations made by area sponsors, including Prairie Horizon Agri- Energy, McClain Farms LLC., Rodgers and Associates Insurance Co., and Farmers State Bank.

Those sponsors match the Phillipsburg Rodeo’s donation. The rodeo raises funds through its annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, always held on the first night of rodeo (this year, on August 1, 2019). For every fan through the gate who wears pink, one dollar is donated to the fund. Since the program started in 2006, more than $96,000 has been raised.

Funds are also raised through donations picked up at the rodeo
Farmers State Bank