Jed Wohlgemuth loves to spend time outdoors, and his favorite place to be is on a tractor!
Jed Wohlgemuth loves to spend time outdoors, and his favorite place to be is on a tractor!

A cheerful smile and a friendly wave. That is the way Jed Wohlgemuth most often greets people that he sees. He seems to almost always have a smile shining across his face even as he is faced with adversity.

In June of last year, Jed was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. The cancer had already spread to other organs, lymph nodes in the rectal area and lungs. He began six months of chemotherapy, which was completed in late December.

"He tolerated the treatments very well," commented his mom, Sue. "We were very anxious about the treatments because you hear so many bad stories of how it affects people, but Jed did very well."

After the chemotherapy treatments were completed, tests showed that Jed's tumors had shrunk. Unfortunately, the tumor activity is high again, and his symptoms have returned.

Another type of chemotherapy was not suggested by his doctor and surgery is not an option either.

"We are looking at our options and seeing what we can do that is best for him," said Sue. "We tend to lean toward more natural therapies. Nearly 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery. Chemotherapy was recommended after surgery, but I wasn't sure if it had spread.

"After doing research, I decided to try a different method. I spent a week in Colorado Springs learning a new diet plan and lifestyle changes that I needed to make to help my body heal itself.

"I strictly followed this plan for an entire year. I had a blood test at the end of that year, and it showed that my body was no longer fighting cancer. I continue to have blood tests every 18 months, and they have been clear ever since."

Sue explained that doctors don't really know what causes cancer. "The body's immune system is always fighting off bad cells. The problem comes when the immune system breaks down and doesn't fight off the bad cancerous cells. So building up the immune system is important."

The Wohlgemuth family is looking at what will be best for Jed, what will be most helpful. They've seen a decline in his energy since Christmas and an increase in his pain. However, he remains in good spirits.

"Jed's friends have been great," remarked Dick, Jed's father. "He might be complaining to us, but then his friends call, and he's out the door, ready to do something."

Jed is a farm boy at heart, even though he lives in town. His favorite thing to do is drive tractors, he said. When asked if he had a particular one he liked better than the rest, he quickly answered with a big smile, "Nope, I like them all!"

Attending movies at the Spring Grove Cinema is also something that Jed really enjoys. He can also be heard singing karaoke. His new Lenova tablet is another source of entertainment for him along with computers in general.

He gets to fulfill his favorite pastime of driving tractors, helping on the farm, and just generally being outside by being a hired hand on various local farms.

He is Matthew Myrah's right-hand-man helping him with everything and anything.

"Matthew has been just wonderful for Jed," commented Sue. "He calls Jed nearly every day and has him help out with many things. The whole Myrah clan has made Jed a part of their family!"

Jed has also helped Jim, Nels and Anthony Gulbranson on their farms. He likes to mow, plow snow, do construction work or whatever jobs they need help with. "Nels and Anthony have been like brothers to him," added Dick.

"These guys - Matthew, Nels, Anthony - have been great for Jed's spirits. Spending time with them and their families has been a needed distraction from the pain and everything," Sue added with a gentle smile.

Fundraisers announced

Even though Jed has good health insurance, there are always many more expenses. A meatball dinner fundraiser will be held on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Stratford-Lee Inn in rural Spring Grove, hosted by Jim and Susanna Gulbranson. The dinner with all the fixings will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Red's Hometown Market will also be hosting a fund-raiser dinner for Jed and his family on Monday, Feb. 25 from 3 - 6 p.m. The meatball dinner is $8.

Jed lives at home with his parents. He enjoys seeing and spending time with his four sisters, Jennifer, Jamie, Jill and Janae, and their families when they visit.