By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Before cancer claimed her life in November 2003, Dorothy Brust of Delano was known for her magnetic smile and sweet personality.
“She had this smile that just lit up the room,” said her daughter, Sarah Schumacher. “Her eyes would just twinkle. You couldn’t help but smile when you looked at her.”
Schumacher hopes to make others smile, too, through “shop for a cure” craft shows inspired by her mother’s memory.
Each fall, Schumacher’s shows have raised money for the American Cancer Society through the Dottie’s Cause Relay for Life team.
“At first, it was more so just to get my mind off it,” Schumacher said, explaining that the shows helped ease the pain of losing her mother.
“The shows have become a bigger deal every year,” she said.
Since 2004, Dottie’s Cause has donated more than $5,000 to the American Cancer Society, as well as more than $1,000 to specific families in need.
Spring show Saturday
This year, Schumacher decided to add a spring show, which will take place Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Delano.
“We have books, candles, jewelry, and all kinds of things,” Schumacher said.
Montrose Family Chiropractic will be doing massages, donating 100 percent of the money raised, and there will also be a silent auction.
Many of the vendors are personally passionate about finding a cure for cancer.
“Cancer is the next thing that just has to be cured,” Schumacher said. “It seems like everybody knows somebody with it.”
In Schumacher’s family, she’s lost her aunt, uncle, sister-in-law, grandfather, and great-grandfather to cancer. Some of Schumacher’s relatives have won the battle against cancer in their lives, including her stepmother, stepsister, and three cousins.
“It’s in my family on both sides,” she said.
Dorothy’s cancer story
Dorothy’s main cancer symptom was back pain. She had been going to the chiropractor, but eventually, her husband insisted on an MRI.
“They found the tumor in her kidney,” Schumacher said. “It was the size of a Nerf football.”
On New Year’s Eve in 2002, Dorothy underwent surgery to remove her kidney and parts of her spleen and liver.
“They thought they got it all,” Schumacher said.
However, in August of 2003, Dorothy was hospitalized again.
“She was having trouble keeping food down,” Schumacher said, adding that everyone hoped it was because of scar tissue from the kidney surgery.
Unfortunately, emergency surgery revealed that the problem was much more serious.
“When they opened her up, they discovered that the cancer was everywhere,” Schumacher said.
For the next three months, Dorothy’s family tried to adjust to the news.
“It’s hard to watch someone die,” Schumacher said.
She is thankful, though, that Dorothy was able to spend time at home, enjoying a peaceful lake view and love from family and friends.
A time for everything
The night Dorothy died was bittersweet for Schumacher.
“I said ‘Goodbye, Mom. I love you.’ She smiled, and then she died,” Schumacher said.
Despite the challenges of that time, Schumacher said she could still see God working in her life.
“God never gives people more than they can handle,” she said. “There’s a reason for everything.”
Schumacher and her husband had been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby for quite a while, and they found out on the night of Dorothy’s death that Schumacher was pregnant.
“My mom wanted to be a grandparent more than anything,” Schumacher said.
Now, Schumacher’s little boy is 7 years old, and she also has a 3-year-old daughter.
Schumacher said that although her children never met Dorothy, they know a lot about her.
“The kids know why we do the craft shows and why it’s so important,” she said. “It’s good to keep her memory alive that way.”
For more information about Dottie’s Cause, look for a link on the Delano Herald Journal website, www.delanoheraldjournal.com, or call (763) 442-4457.
Donations can be mailed to Sarah Schumacher, 12575 Jarvis Ave. NW, Annandale, MN 55302.