• Harvest of Hope History,
    Written by Barb Vogel, wife of Dean, Sr. and mom of Dean, Jr.

    In August, 2004, Dean Vogel, Jr. developed a nagging cough which would not go away.  Having been diagnosed with bronchitis, then escalating to pneumonia, by mid-September, 2004, he was admitted to a local hospital.  Antibiotics brought improvement, but further testing with a CAT scan showed a mass in his chest wrapped around the aorta pushing on the lung.  The diagnosis led to other tests which unveiled non-hodgkins lymphoma.  Second opinions were received.  Being in-operable, a series of chemo and radiation treatments began in October, 2004, and continued to March, 2005.

    Throughout the time of treatment, the support given to our family was overwhelming.  Family, friends, and the community were there for us through prayer, emotional support, and gave freely of their time to help with our family business, Rock Run Bulk Foods.

    Inquiries would come in the store regularly asking about Dean, Jr.  Tami, his sister, wanted to do something special for Dean.  While in the garden one day, looking at her hands, Tami decided, “This is it!”  She began to put a book together in which people traced their hands on a sheet of paper and wrote a message to Dean, Jr.  Each trip to the hospital, another stack of messages were added to the “Hands of Love Book”.

    Throughout 2005, many offers were received to do benefits for Dean, Jr.  We appreciated the offers.  However, Dean, Jr. wanted to do something which would benefit many others also fighting the disease of cancer.  The “something” was indefinite until one day in October, 2005.  Dean, Jr. called me and explained he wanted to do a benefit and give the proceeds to F.A.C.T. (Financial Assistance for Cancer Treatment) for Seneca County patients.

    The seed was planted.  Dean’s family including his dad (Dean, Sr.), his sister (Tami), his brother (Duane and his wife Jane), as well as I, with our first year group of volunteers planned for the first annual “Harvest of Hope”.  Tami, his sister, thought of the theme, “Harvest of Hope”.  Wanting HOPE to have more meaning….”Hands of People Everywhere” surfaced.  We planned and completed the benefit three weeks later with 300 in attendance.

    Little then did we know that on February, 14, 2006, Dean, Sr., after a routine colonoscopy would be diagnosed with colon cancer.  On March 3, 2006, he underwent surgery.  Although surgery went well, he was in the hospital over a month recovering from surgery.  This was another difficult period of time.  Once again family, friends, and the community strongly came to our sides giving us much needed support.

    Two other volunteers on the Harvest of Hope team were diagnosed in 2006 with cancer.  One volunteer had surgery in March, 2006 and another in May, 2006.  Cancer again proved it is a disease that can hit anyone at anytime, discriminating against no one.  In the very second of diagnosis being given, a world of changes affect the patient, the patient’s family, and the patient’s friends.

    After Harvest of Hope 2008, a malignant melanoma was discovered on Dean, Sr.’s back.  December 23, 2008, he had surgery and God’s Blessings arrived on January, 2, 2009, when the reports came back to us that he was doing okay, and the cancer had not advanced into the lymph nodes.

    Following Harvest of Hope, 2009, Dean, Sr. again had a check up and all was okay.  He had been uncomfortable though with an enlarged disc in his back and we were going to start therapy.  On February 21, 2010, we took Dean, Sr. to get pain medication for that condition.  However, on February 23, 2010, we were told that cancer had mastetized throughout Dean, Sr.’s chest cavity, bones, and liver.  Twenty-three days later, March 18, 2010, Dean, Sr. passed away.

    During treatment, the love and support extended to a patient and their family is as healing as the planned treatment itself.  Please plan to join us for a day when patients, their families, and friends, as well as the community come together in support of each other.  It’s a beautiful day of sharing memories, stories of healing, and remembering those we have lost to the battle of cancer, as well as celebrating life with those who are with us in remission and/or cancer free.

    Loving memories of Dean, Sr’s involvement in planning previous Harvest of Hope benefits, provides strength and encouragement to not only our immediate family, but extended family, friends and the community as the 13th fundraiser for F.A.C.T. moves ahead.

    To each who reads this and has experienced losing a loved one to cancer, may I share with you that my HOPE has been renewed over these past years.  Holding onto HOPE, has allowed my heart to continue healing and has given me a calm peace knowing my husband, Dean, Sr., has now experienced the promised eternal peace, love and comforting arms of His Savior.  Join your hands with “Hands of People Everywhere” and help build the abundance of hope all of us need for our tomorrows.

    Please join us at the 13th annual Harvest of Hope.

    God’s Blessing,

    Barb Vogel

Copyright 2010 Harvest of Hope