By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN A few days to a few weeks.
That’s how long 17-year-old twins, Brieanna and Stephanie, and their 10-year-old brother, Brandon, were told their mother had left to live.
“They took it hard,” friend of the family Tammy Schmidt said. “They cried and cried.”
Becky Brust Hokkanen of Delano was diagnosed with liver cancer about a month ago, and had been in hospice care at North Memorial in Robbinsdale.
She passed away Thursday afternoon, and will be deeply missed by her family and friends.
A benefit in Becky’s honor will take place Friday, June 24 at the Delano American Legion.
It will start with a spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by a DJ/karaoke from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. There will be face painting for children, and an appearance by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Nate Triplett (pending status of the NFL lockout).
The benefit will help pay for funeral costs and other needs Becky’s children may have.
Although Becky didn’t live to see her benefit, she was able to celebrate her 43rd birthday, which was June 14. Tammy and Becky’s other friends tried to make the day as special as possible for her.
Tammy has been one of Becky’s best friends for more than two decades. Becky, a 1987 graduate of Watertown High School, met Tammy at Waconia Lakeside Ballroom.
“She is like my right arm, I don’t know what I will do without her,” Tammy said. “We thought we’d be like the Hallmark cards with the two old ladies on them.”
The news that Becky had a life-threatening form of cancer came as a shock to Becky’s family and friends.
Less than a year ago, Becky began having stomach pains. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and was given radiation treatments.
“They had taken care of it all,” Tammy said.
However, at the end of May, Becky began having side pains. She went to Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, where doctors discovered a problem.
“They could see that there was a mass,” Tammy said.
Becky then got a second opinion from the Monticello Cancer Center, where a biopsy confirmed everyone’s fears the cancer was back, and it had spread to her liver.
Since then, Becky had been on medication to lessen her pain and normalize her blood calcium levels.
June 10, Becky was baptized into the Christian faith in her hospital room, according to a Caring Bridge website entry written by her sister, Sarah Schumacher of Delano.
“It was truly the most wonderful thing I’ve witnessed, next to the birth of my children,” Sarah wrote.
The cancer has been especially challenging for Becky’s 17-year-old twins, who will be seniors at Delano High School this fall, according to Tammy.
“Everything has happened so fast,” Tammy said. “It’s been a rough ride.”
Brieanna is an animal lover who would like to become a veterinary technician, and Stephanie hopes to have a career as a lawyer.
Attend and donate
In addition to Tammy, Becky’s close friends Brenda Anderson and Jody Thompsen have also been working hard to plan for the upcoming benefit.
Anyone who would like to make a monetary donation for the benefit can send it to: Becky Brust Hokkanen Benefit, c/o Crow River Bank, PO Box 700, Delano, MN 55328.
To donate items for the silent auction, call Tammy at (763) 972-9430 or e-mail
For more information through Becky’s Caring Bridge site, go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/beckybrusthokkanen.