Angels on Earth
The days were long and dreary.
That’s how young Tayler Stack recalled the painstaking time after receiving the devastating news that her grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer. A senior at Custer High School, Stack described her life as completely changing after hearing the most difficult news she had ever known.
“My grandmother basically raised me so I had to somehow adjust to her being in the hospital,” recalls Stack, who was 13 years old at the time of diagnosis.
The family immediately sought treatment at Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls where they would get to know the caregivers as if they were family.
“When I visited my grandmother, I felt welcomed and surrounded by the most giving souls I had ever encountered,” she added. “Every employee provided so much more than just care – they were, in my 13-year-old eyes, angels on earth.”
She credits these caregivers for giving her six more months with the woman who inspired her to be who she is today. To show her appreciation, Stack, with the help of her fellow basketball cheerleading squad, arranged a private fundraiser in her grandmother’s memory to raise dollars and awareness to benefit other survivors and families battling cancer.
In January 2018, Stack and fellow cheerleaders coordinated the cheer camp. Young girls from the community attended the camp, named “Cheer for a Cure,” which ended with a half-time performance during a basketball game.
Thanks to generous community support and local sponsors, more than $600 was raised to directly benefit cancer survivors and their families. As for the future, Stack hopes the community will continue hosting the charitable cheer camp and encourages others affected by cancer to show their appreciation through fundraising efforts.
“This was a great way to honor my grandmother and help others,” Stack adds.
While still grieving the loss, Stack says “My memories of the Avera Cancer Institute Sioux Falls are not somber, but instead joyful and positive because I was enveloped in optimism, faith and hope.”