The Luther Automotive Group

Coworkers’ cancer inspire blood gifts

Rod Tyson

Rod Tyson in sales demonstrates his blood donor toughness on board.

Cancer survivor and Parts Manager Larry Mitchell, above, joined receptionst Joan Krause to release 60 balloons celebrating the dealership blood drive at Family Buick GMC. Krause was receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer after her cervical cancer went into remission.

Knowing that cancer patients often need blood transfusions after treatment, car biller Jane Dohn at Luther Family Buick GMC decided it was time to step up to help, and honor two of her coworkers who were diagnosed.

Organizing a blood drive, Dohn rallied 22 blood donors from the store, and for seven, it was their first time. “If every person needs a transfusion, you can imagine how much they need,” she said. On the April day of the event, she heard one patient was using a lot of Type B blood. She and parts counterman Lynn Pratschner each gave a double donation.

On the minds of many was receptionist Joan Krause, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer and received a clean bill of health before finding out later than she had breast cancer.

Receptionist Marilee Wagner gives blood during the Family Buick GMC drive.

Krause is in good condition compared to some she sees in treatment. One girl, about 10, was using a walker and had lost her hair. “It breaks your heart to see the little kids up there,” she said.

Another employee familiar with the cancer battle, and eager to encourage others, is Parts Manager Larry Mitchell. After celebrating four years in recovery, he has been able to encourage Krause and others to fight on. Hearing about people who have cancer doesn’t mean much, he said. “When you’re that person it changes everything.”

He followed his doctor’s orders, even to the point of helping to start the Embrace program, a support group for cancer survivors and patients. “As I went through it I was pretty apprehensive,” Mitchell said. “It helped me to talk to other people … to someone that’s gone through it.”

pared to some she sees in treatment. One girl, about 10, was using a walker and had lost her hair. “It breaks your heart to see the little kids up there,” she said.

Another employee familiar with the cancer battle, and eager to encourage others, is Parts Manager Larry Mitchell. In 2008, he had a cough that wouldn’t go away and an itch inside his arm. Doctors found a softball size tumor in his chest. It was lymphoma. He sought treatment right away, and lost a lot of energy.

After celebrating four years in recovery, he has been able to encourage Krause and others to fight on. Hearing about people who have cancer doesn’t mean much, he said. “When you’re that person it changes everything.” He followed his doctor’s orders, even to the point of helping to start the Embrace program, a support group for cancer survivors and patients.

“As I went through it I was pretty apprehensive,” Mitchell said. “It helped me to talk to other people … to someone that’s gone through it.”

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