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  • Megann Horstead

Benefit set to aid ailing NL woman, her family in time of need


When New Lenox resident Allison Bolhuis decided to drop in for a checkup with her doctor, she could not have imagined the diagnosis.

Up until that point, she had maintained good health and rarely visited her doctor’s office.

But the reality is Bolhuis’ situation took a turn at that March visit, at which point she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a cancer of the body’s immune system that starts in the white blood cells called lymphocytes.

“I found a lump on my neck,” Bolhuis said. “I went in for a regular check-up. The doctor said, ‘Oh, what’s this?’ I said, ‘I had a cold.’ The doctor said, ‘that’s not a cold.’ I don’t think I would’ve gotten that lump checked. I was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It spread to my chest, and it could’ve spread further.”

With Bolhuis out of work while she receives chemotherapy, she and her family invite the area community to come together for Hoedown for Hodgkin’s, a benefit held in which its organizers hope will help pay for medical bills. The event, which takes place from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. Sunday, July 9, at Konow’s Corn Maze, 16849 S. Cedar Road in Homer Glen, offers fun for the whole family, as people will enjoy food, live music, hayrides, a shooting gallery, mechanical bull, tree house, jumpy pillow, cash bar and raffle drawings.

Tickets are available for purchase, and it will cost $25 at the door and $20 in advance. Children ages 12 and under get in for $5, and it’s free for those age 3 and under. The cost of admission includes food.

Bolhuis said she is looking forward to seeing everyone as the benefit approaches.

“It’s overwhelming how generous everyone is being,” she said. “I don’t know how I will feel.”

Bolhuis’ sister, Deana Olson, said they are wishing for a strong showing at the event.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout, friendly faces,” she said. “We’re hoping they’ll donate a lot of money, pray for Allison and send a lot of positive vibes her way.”

Olson recognizes the difficulty her younger sister faces in her medical battle.

“She can’t work,” the Bolingbrook resident said. “She’s the most active, crazy one [between she and her siblings.] She’s taking it easy, and she hasn’t been able to be as active in her kids life as she used to be.”

Olson said she thinks one key factor is the reason for Allison’s continued strength: her family.

“My other sister, Lisa, and I take her to her chemotherapy appointments,” she said. “My mom makes chicken soup. Family rallying around her has been really helpful.”

Bolhuis echoed that sentiment.

“My family has been amazing,” she said. “My husband has taken over things. He does the laundry and the dishes. [I’m] nervous to drive anywhere, and if I go anywhere, [my sisters] are taking me. They’re taking my kids to where they need to go. My kids are a blessing. I appreciate them all so much more.”

Bolhuis said she is still trying to wrap her head around the challenge she faces.

“The main thing is it’s frustrating to worry about everything,” she said. “I’m a mom of three. I used to be on the go—very active. Now, I’m too tired. If I’m feeling OK, I have to plan out every detail.”

Bolhuis remains optimistic and looks forward to the day when she can resume her normally active life.

The benefit is hoped to provide a source of relief to she and her family, Bolhuis said.

“Of course, financially, my family’s hurting,” she said. “I hope everyone has a good time. It’ll be great to see everybody.”

To purchase tickets in advance, visit the benefit’s Eventbrite page at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hoedown-for-hodgkins-benefit-for-allison-lofrano-bolhuis-tickets-34550100280

#NewLenox #Bolingbrook

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