Edgeley American Legion donates to help cancer patients
$5,000 given to help JRMC Cancer Center patients.
While not on active duty, members of the American Legion continue to serve their country and community.
"We all got out of the military, came home and joined the Legion," said Jerry Lagodinski, about American Legion Henry Parthie Post No. 146, Edgeley, N.D. It is an essential part of the community's history and is still active today, funding youth projects, families in need and cancer care.
This season, the group made its first gift to Jamestown Regional Medical Center to help patients in the JRMC Cancer Center receive care close to home. The $5,000 donated also supplies gas cards if home is still a few miles down the road.
The Legion does a variety of fundraisers but about a year ago got into electronic slot machines. This was a game-changer.
"Gaming is the only way these projects and help for families would happen," said Joe Neis, a Legion member and president of the JRMC Foundation board.
Whether it's funding a softball complex to buying a conversion van for a family with a child with a disability, members and players are making a significant impact on others' quality of life.
For Lagodinski, it's personal.
The last four years have been a battle between heart attacks and cancer. A heart attack led to the discovery and diagnosis of stage IV esophageal cancer. This is the diagnosis that had his doctor say, "Put your effects in order; you have only a few months to live."
"It was a blessing in disguise because they would have never found the cancer but they couldn't do bypass and treat cancer at the same time," Lagodinski said.
After participating in an experimental immunotherapy drug trial, he learned he was cancer-free.
However, Lagodinski had another heart attack which led to finding out the cancer was not gone. In the middle of all of this, his wife, a nurse, had COVID-19 and spent a week in the hospital.
Through all of this, Lagodinski remains positive. He's now able to receive care at the JRMC Cancer Center.
"38 versus 425 miles?" Lagodinski said, smiling. He feels lucky to have care close to home.
"Those guys are great," he said, referring to K.C. Robison and Garrett Hillius, JRMC Cancer Center registered nurses.
Lagodinski is also appreciative of community support.
"It feels a little weird getting money for travel, but am I thankful – you bet," Lagodinski said.
To learn more about the JRMC Cancer Center or to schedule care, visit www.jrmcnd.com/cancer .