By Teresa Jagodzinski
Anyone who has been diagnosed with an illness knows that the love and support of family and friends is just as important as the medical treatment received to fight the disease, and Steve Herda is finding that out firsthand.
Herda, a lifelong resident of Waverly, was diagnosed with leukemia in April of this year. Since his diagnosis, he has been hospitalized at University of Minnesota Fairview undergoing treatment and many tests.
Meanwhile, his family and friends have been giving him encouraging words on his Caring Bridge web site, www.caringbridge.org/visit/steveherda, which is updated often by his sister, Mary Mattson.
Mattson wrote in the journal on the web site that all of the messages help to keep his spirits up while he continues his stay in the hospital, which was in its 10th week as of June 30.
Because the chemotherapy he received has left him with no white blood cells, he currently has been battling infections and fevers.
All of this time in the hospital has added up to a hefty hospital bill, and his insurance only covers a portion of it.
Christopherson added that after the insurance pays their portion, the average is $3,000 a day that Herda will have to pay.
Along with all of the encouraging words that family and friends post on the Caring Bridge web site, they have also organized a benefit Saturday, July 11 at the Hollywood Sports Complex.
“So many people have asked what they can do to help,” Christopherson said, so the benefit was organized.
The benefit will help pay the hospital bills, which continue to add up every day.
Also taking place that day at the Hollywood Sports Complex will be a fast pitch softball tournament.
Herda and Greg “Chopper” Lammers were instrumental in starting the fast pitch softball tournament in Waverly many years ago.
By having the benefit on the same day and place as the softball tournament, it will allow many people who know Herda from the many years he has dedicated to the sport be a part of the benefit while also participating in the tournament.
Chopper, who is a good friend of Herda’s, has also organized a bean bag toss tournament to take place, and he will be providing his entertaining musical show in the evening.
From 6-10 P.M. a silent auction will take place with items including a Vikings jacket signed by Adrian Peterson, gift certificates to salons, tanning packages, movie passes, hotel stays, gift card to Lunderby Photography in Buffalo, earrings, lots of golf passes, and many other items from local businesses.
Three cash drawings will take place in the evening, and anyone who purchased a ticket will have their name entered into the drawing for those prizes.
Proceeds from the sale of mini donuts that day will also go towards the benefit.
Tickets for the benefit are $3 in advance, and $5 the day of the benefit.
For advanced tickets contact Christopherson at (612) 237-1841.
An account has also been set up at KleinBank in Buffalo for donations to help Herda with his bills.
Donations can be sent to Klein Bank, PO Box 40, Buffalo, MN 55313
According to the journal entry dated Thursday on Herda's Caring Bridge web site, a CT scan showed a fungus in his lungs. The doctors told him it was extremely difficult to treat, and the treatments would put him throught a lot of pain and discomfort.
They also added that the chances of the treatments being successful were next to nothing. Whether the treatment was successful or not, they said Herda would no longer be able to receive a bone marrow transplant. Without the transfer, he will not survive.
Doctors gave Herda the choice to continue to fight or to stop all treatments. Herda decided to end all treatments.
Herda is now at home with his family.