Siouxland Stories: Woman ‘cross checks’ cancer with help from the community

Siouxland Stories

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — People living with a cancer diagnosis know that it affects their whole family, but those fighting the disease in Siouxland have a whole community behind them. 

You’ll meet a woman who won her battle and learn more about the hockey game helping others just like her. 

“You don’t know who you’re helping at the time but somebody is benefitting from it. I can attest to that, as a personal story,” said Barbara “Barb” Pieper. 

Barbara Pieper’s story begins 15 years ago with a cancer diagnosis and a community ready to step up and help her.  

“I was 46 years old when I found a lump in my right breast. I had just bought a house with my 13-year-old daughter, and we were really enjoying putting a lot of money into it, and you just don’t expect it,” said Pieper. “And of course, the first thing you think about when you’re diagnosed is just staying alive and getting the best treatment for yourself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long to figure out. Finances are going to be a problem, whatever your situation is. The copays, the trips to the doctor, not being at work, it’s difficult.” 

Made just a little easier because of both national and local organizations and events, Barb said because of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Cross Check for Cancer, formally Pink in the Rink, survivors like her have resources available.  

“So, when you have a small community that has some dollars to share with people that are in need, that’s a huge blessing,” said Pieper. 

A community who understands exactly what she went through like Grant Slukynsky, a center for the Sioux City Muskies. 

“Both my parents have had cancer. My dad had stage two, borderline stage 3 oral cancer. He had tongue cancer specifically. And my mom had basal cell skin cancer,” said Slukynsky. 

Grant is getting to play in his first Cross Check Cancer Event. 

“It’s so tough emotionally. It brings you a lot closer to your family members and makes you appreciate every day that you have because you don’t know what turn cancer can take and it’s unpredictable,” said Slukynsky. 

Grant hopes that the fundraising and support they show for local cancer patient helps win future battles.  

“I hope that they’re inspired by us. By our compete and by our never give up. Just to show them doesn’t matter what the score is in the game, or even what the score is in life. There’s always a way to fight back and never give up,” said Slukynsky. 

Which is why events like Cross Check Cancer make the Siouxland community unique.  

“It’s super important because it’s not only about the physical support, it’s about the emotional, mental support. Just knowing they have someone to talk to,” said Hailey Hinds, registered nurse in oncology At UnityPoint – St. Luke’s. “Go out and enjoy the game, and support everyone that’s involved in the oncology community.” 

The puck drops at the Tyson Events Center on October 23 at 6:05 p.m. Tickets are still available for people who are still interested in the event. 

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