Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
The streets of Kimball rumbled Saturday morning with the sound of 78 motorcyclists and a number of collector cars riding northward and then westward out of town.
These riders and drivers gathered at the Kimball Legion Club early Saturday as part of a benefit for Kate Stewart-James and her family. They rode or drove from Kimball on a 100-mile trek that took them to LaLa's in South Haven, Club Almar in St. Augusta, Pearl Lake Lodge in Marty, Doochie's Bar in St. Martin, Bud's Bar in Watkins, and back to the Kimball Legion where a roast-hog dinner, live music, and silent auction awaited.
Riders signed up starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Pastor David Milz led the group in prayer at 10 before they all hit the road, even as storm clouds tried to gather.
Nearly 400 people, including the riders and drivers, gathered Saturday evening for the pork dinner and to enjoy the music of local band "Pandemic."
The focus of this event is Kate Stewart-James, a 15-year-old resident of Kimball. Kate was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. She endured numerous treatments Ð and the emotional and physical rollercoaster ride on which those treatments placed her and her family. At the end of her treatments, in 2009, Kate was in remission. But, in the midst of softball season this spring, Kate noticed she had back pain and increased fatigue. A trip to the doctor confirmed that the leukemia was back.
Currently, Kate is receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the University of Minnesota Hospital. She has been either in the hospital or at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis since May. Kate is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant next month and, if all goes according to plan, she and her family will be home by Christmas.
Kate's older sister Samantha is in college. Their mother, Candy Stewart-James, and father, Roger Stewart, have adjusted their lives considerably around hospital visits and treatment schedules. Roger has been driving back and forth to the hospital nearly every day, and Candy has been able to adjust her work schedule (at Hilltop Care Center in Watkins) so she can spend more time in Minneapolis with Kate.
"I believe that almost always people do the best they can with what they have in any given situation," said Candy. "In the case of Kate and her battle, Roger, Sammi and I have been blessed and humbled to see people Ð friends, family, strangers, doctors, nurses, volunteers, and Kate herself Ð at their very best, giving of their love and time and talents with spiritual, moral and financial support. This isn't the first time that the community has shown us this kind of overwhelming support, and I hope everyone knows that we never take it for granted. Thank you SO MUCH! Please continue to pray for Kate as we give thanks to God for all the kindness we have received."
You can follow along with Kate's journey at www.caringbridge.org/visit/katy
By Jean Doran Matua, Editor