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Courageous Stories 

Thousands of patients, thousands of stories ... each one as personal and unique as the cancer they faced. They all have at least two things in common though, their courageous attitude and the power of The Mercy Touch® at every step.

Breast Cancer Stories


Pauline Mason

Pauline's Story

Pauline Mason was living life – enjoying her job, grown children and grandchildren and looking forward to retirement in a few years. Then she heard the “C” word.

Jerrie Bourgo

Jerrie's Story

Fighting breast cancer alone is one fear patients at Mercy Women’s Center will never have to face. No one knows that better than Jerrie Bourgo, Cedar Rapids.

Brita Loynachan

Brita's Story

Brita Loynachan has the heart and drive of a champion. She's the mother of three and an accomplished triathlete. It's that desire to forge ahead and win that helped her overcome a battle against breast cancer.

Kathie McWhirter

Kathie's Story

Kathie McWhirter considers herself blessed. The warm, friendly Mt. Pleasant woman sees only the silver lining of any cloud on her horizon. Even breast cancer.

Melinda Tomsic

Melinda's Story

When breast cancer survivor Melinda Tomsic completed Thrive, Mercy’s cancer fitness & wellness program, she was eight lbs. lighter and 3" smaller around the waist.

Renee Smith

Renee's Story

For some, adversity transforms, turning pain and loss into compassionate outreach. Renee Smith is such a person.

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca's Story

Rebecca Jacobs was pondering champagne choices at the grocery store for a New Year’s Eve party she and her husband would be hosting that night when her doctor called.

Lorraine Irwin

Lorraine's Story

Lorraine Irwin knows how to take care of herself. Since childhood, she's been a responsible, reliable caregiver for her family and, later, her husband.

Sandy Likes

Sandy's Story

Most people take for granted the ability to easily raise their arms over their head. But Sandy Likes has a new appreciation for that simple act.

Colon Cancer Stories


Linda Moelleur

Linda's Story

During her second honeymoon, Linda started to get symptoms "a lady my age shouldn’t be getting any more." After her first-ever surgery, sad news. “Oh my goodness, CANCER!”

Lung Cancer Stories


Jodie Bennett

Jodie's Story

Jodie Bennett was dealing with a nasty cough in early 2009. As a nurse and mother of two young children, it was slowing her down. She stopped at a walk-in clinic to get checked out.

Pancreatic Cancer Stories


Crystal Kuehl

Crystal's Story

Tiffany Kuehl’s eyes are tear-filled, flooded with concern for her daughter. Crystal Kuehl’s are steely, reflecting determination and a tenacious spirit. Crystal was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 20. Read part 1 and part 2.

Christine Kircher

Christine's Story

Christine Kircher waged a strategic battle against what she thought was her nemesis - heart disease. Instead, just after her 50th birthday, Chris received the shocking news that she was fighting pancreatic cancer.

Frank Benesh

Frank's Story

Frank Benesh was larger than life. He had a deep laugh and resonating voice, but most of all, he had an enormous heart that reverberated with compassion for others – particularly for those with cancer and their families.

Brain Cancer Stories


James Robinson

James's Story

Two to four weeks. That’s how much time James Robinson, 49, Cedar Rapids, was given to live. That was 10 years ago. Today, he’s celebrating a decade of survival.

Glands Cancer Stories


Ted Beuter

Ted's Story

In his woodworking shop, Ted Beuter is familiar with the importance of precision and patience. The final result is always a masterpiece.

Harvey Miller

Harvey's Story

Harvey Miller's pro-active, can-do approach to life has served him well many times, but perhaps none so well as when he faced a cancer diagnosis.

Ericka Johnson

Ericka's Story

As Ericka Johnson’s excitement about the impending birth of her baby girl grew, so did her nagging cough. About two weeks from her delivery date, the North Liberty resident went to MercyCare North Liberty Urgent Care for some relief from her cough.

Mike Hoyt

Mike's Story

Two heads (or more) are always better than one, especially during a critical illness. Mike Hoyt had some of the best medical heads at Mercy caring for him. And, he had Mr. Potato Head. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Other Cancer Stories


Father Vern Schueller

Fr. Schueller's Story

Planning to visit the new Hall-Perrine Cancer Center upon its completion, Father Vern Schueller speaks at a recent event about his unexpected encounter ... as a patient.

Courageous Stories

Brita LoynachanBrita's heart and drive of a champion helped her overcome a battle against breast cancer.

Follow Brita's Story