Community vs. Cancer

The terrible truth of life is it rarely waits for us to be ready before it throws a punch. For some, an uphill battle is all they know, and though to many that type of life seems insurmountable, to others it’s the only life they know. For a 911 dispatcher in a small Iowa town, the past few months have been fraught with bad news and difficulty. But after years of being the first line of response for a town in need, her community intends to return the favor.

Maria Graham, a 20 year veteran of the Pottawatomie County dispatch, was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Having lost her husband weeks ago to the same disease, you can assume the news was a blow to already bruised emotions. But years of being strong for those in need taught Maria to do the same. Though her diagnosis left little room for a silver lining, showing signs of cancer in her bones and lungs, Maria did her best to see the bright side.

Derrick AlgerInspired by her years of service and an overwhelming desire to do good, the people of Pottawatomie County banded together and hosted a fundraiser for Maria. Volunteers with the Crescent Fire Department held a breakfast fit for a kingdom, and invited every local for miles to come around.

The event was much more than a breakfast for the dozens of people in attendance, but a celebration of Maria’s determination to keep fighting. The proceeds from the silent auction, breakfast and raffle went directly to Maria’s treatment. A powerful show of community strength, t-shirts were made, banners hung, and hugs shared between Maria and nearly everyone in attendance. Still in shock from the outpouring of aid, Maria’s stunned smile was all the community needed to know they were doing the right by one of their own. For more on the story, click here.