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Tough Enough to Wear Pink

Joel Redman is a recipient of Hope in the Heartland funding, with monies raised through Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the Phillipsburg Rodeo.

The Dodge City, Kan. man was diagnosed with a brain tumor in late February, 2020.

For months, his left arm didn’t work correctly, and the vision in his left eye was fuzzy.

It was at the urging of friends that finally sent him to Dr. Trotter, chairman of the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup, of which Redman is a board member.

Trotter scheduled Redman for an MRI, and the next morning, called him into his office. “I can’t sugarcoat it,” he told Joel. “You have a brain tumor.”

Surgery was scheduled for March 6, when doctors removed as much of the tumor as possible.

Immediately, Redman felt better. His left arm worked again, and he was even able to tie his own shoes. “That was the first time I’d tied my shoes in six months,” he said. “I had lost that much dexterity in my left hand.”

Redman underwent daily radiation therapy in Wichita, because there is no place to receive it at his hometown of Dodge City. He stayed in a hotel in Wichita instead of driving back and forth to Dodge.

He has nine months of chemotherapy treatment that will take place in Dodge. Doctors weren’t able to totally remove the tumor and want to kill as much of it as possible.

Self-employed, Redman lays tiles and installs custom bathrooms and kitchens for a living. Insurance has helped, but not much. “I’m burning through my savings,” he said. A friend started a GoFundMe account for him, raising $3,700.

Redman received funding from Hope in the Heartland, the ancillary organization funded by the Phillipsburg Rodeo’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink night. He was delighted. “I can think of a jillion things that money can help me with.”

The Dodge City Roundup is always the same weekend as the Phillipsburg rodeo, and as a board member for the Roundup, Redman has volunteer duties at the Roundup. But this year he’ll try to get to Phillipsburg for one night of rodeo. “I feel like I need to,” he said. “I need to get up there and visit with them face to face and thank them.”

Always positive, Redman said good things have come out of his cancer diagnosis. “I have a renewed relationship with my mother and my brother,” he said. “And the biggest thing is I have a renewed faith in God.”

Redman had oligodendroglioma grade 3 brain cancer, which has a 94 percent survival rate, he said. He’s confident about his future. “I’m not worried about it, not one bit.”

He wants to share his positive attitude and his story. “I want people to hear my story, to have faith in your friends and your family, and in God.”

Carolyn Rumbaugh never dreamed that her love for the Phillipsburg rodeo would turn into help from the rodeo when she had cancer.

The Phillipsburg woman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019, going through a colectomy surgery and chemotherapy throughout the year.

Her road through medical treatment was full of obstacles and hindrances.

Lab work done with her primary care doctor, in January of 2019, showed there was the potential for cancer. After a colonoscopy a month later, it was discovered that it was stage four cancer.

Colectomy surgery was scheduled, to remove the cancerous portion of the colon. But a cold, then a spider bite, then shingles delayed the surgery, which finally took place on May 28, 2019.

Then, on her second chemotherapy treatment, she had a reaction to the medicine. Carolyn was in the ICU in Hays for three days and in the hospital for another twenty days.

She and the doctor chose to do no more chemo treatments after that, and after a CAT scan, it looks like the cancer hasn’t reappeared.

Rumbaugh received a check from the Hope in the Heartland funds, the organization that works with Kansas Biggest Rodeo to send monies to those undergoing cancer treatment in north central Kansas and south central Nebraska.

“I was shocked when I got the check,” she said.

“I knew all about Tough Enough to Wear Pink, and we always wore our pink, but I never associated it with getting any money from it.”

The money came in handy. “I’ve used it for gas, going back and forth (from Phillipsburg to the doctor in Hays). It helped pay for medication, too, that my insurance wouldn’t cover.”

Carolyn, her family and friends make sure they wear pink on Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the rodeo each year.

“Rodeo time is a big time here, a very big time, and we’re very conscious to be sure to wear pink,” she said. “My grandsons, after my husband passed away, wanted to wear Papa’s pink shirts. I dug out Dennis’ shirts, and they didn’t care if they were too big or not. They wore Papa’s shirts.”

As of press time, Carolyn’s cancer is not evident; she has gone back for two doctor’s visits since chemo ended.

She is the wife of the late Dennis Rumbaugh and the mother of Jennie Christiansen, Phillipsburg; Bruce Rumbaugh, Hays; and Hollie Kendall, Logan. Jennie and Hollie were part of the Prairie Dusters drill team, opening the rodeo with the American flag on horseback for almost thirty years.  

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’s pink night is always held on the first night of rodeo (this year, on July 30, 2020). For every fan through the gate who wears pink, one dollar is donated to the fund. Since the program started fourteen years ago, over $107,000 has been raised.

Funds are also raised through donations picked up at the rodeo.


Farmers State Bank