A battle for life reveals a life surrounded by love
Since Jeff Holmer's spleen ruptured and he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoma Leukemia, the 37-year-old's life has been filled with love. Since being diagnosed, Jeff married his longtime girlfriend and Perham native Amelia (Doll). Amelia cooked at...
Since Jeff Holmer's spleen ruptured and he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoma Leukemia, the 37-year-old's life has been filled with love.
Since being diagnosed, Jeff married his longtime girlfriend and Perham native Amelia (Doll). Amelia cooked at Lakes Cafe in Perham for 15 years, until this spring when the couple married. (Jeff) also learned how strong a brotherly bond can be as his sibling, Joe, volunteered to give a bone marrow transplant.
Just when life seemed at its fullest, Jeff was informed his friends and family decided to host a benefit in his honor to help pay the bills.
The roast beef benefit dinner is a freewill offering set for Friday, Nov. 18 from 5-8 p.m. at the American Legion in Park Rapids.
There will also be live music by "The Buck Geezer Band" from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and a silent auction where guns, neon beer signs, an ATV winch, fish finder and lady items will be up for bid.
There will also be $1 raffles at the event for various items.
A slip on the ice reveals bigger concerns
Just as 2011 was getting started Jeff walked out the door in his cowboy boots and slipped on ice that'd formed on a wheelchair ramp.
At first Jeff thought he'd just bruised a rib or two, but found out he actually ruptured his spleen when he went to visit the doc.
Then, the next day, he was told he had chronic leukemia. His wife, whom he had dated for more than two years at the time, was at work when he told her.
"I was not sure what leukemia was," Amelia admitted. "I learned they thought he had chronic, which meant it is not curable, but treatable."
Jeff started treatment right away and it seemed to be working. He was healthy enough to wed Amelia in June. But as September rolled around he began feeling short of breath.
After more visits with the doctor, Jeff was told his chronic leukemia had formed into acute leukemia, and he would likely need a bone marrow transplant.
"First they test the siblings," Amelia said. "He has two sisters and a brother. His brother Joe was a perfect match."
Before the transplant though, Jeff has to endure four rounds of chemotherapy.
"He just had his second round," Amelia reported.
Preparing for the operation has kept Jeff at home and off the road when he'd normally be making a living trucking.
"He's been driving truck since he was 18," Amelia shared. "He always says, 'You name it, I've been there.'"
Amelia has also taken time off from work to take care of her husband in his time of need.
While he does have insurance, she shared that doesn't cover all the bills, and with neither of them working things have been tough.
"I really appreciate, and want to thank the people hosting the benefit for us," Amelia said.
Jeff's father, Jerry Holmer, noted his boy is a "fun and outgoing" person, and a good father to his nine-year-old twins.
He credited family friends as well as nieces and nephews for organizing the benefit while Jeff was at the hospital.
"I think he goes back Nov. 14 to start another round, then one in December," Jerry shared. "Hopefully the bone marrow transplant will be in January."
Courtesy, Frazee-Vergas Forum
Bob Williams contributed to this story.