Anyone who has battled cancer knows how crucial it is have support.
As such, the family of New Lenox resident Allison Bolhuis hosted a benefit dubbed Hoedown for Hodgkin’s July 9 for people across the area to help support her in her battle to beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a cancer of the body’s immune system that starts in the body’s white blood cells called lymphocytes. It was all part of an effort to help raise funds to pay for medical bills.
Live entertainment, hayrides and Touch-a-Trucks were some of the activities setting the scene at Konow’s Corn Maze in Homer Glen.
Bolhuis said the outpouring of support was unimaginable.
“It’s so overwhelming,” she said. “I can barely keep it together. I can’t believe how much support and how wonderful everybody [is] in the community—people I don’t even know, people I’ve never met before.”
But not everyone there was a stranger. Bolhuis met a number of familiar faces she hadn’t seen in a long time, including her former gym teacher who taught her while enrolled in New Lenox schools.
“That’s amazing that she would come out for this,” she said.
Bolhuis’ sister, Lisa Kikkert, of Manhattan, said the display of support shown means everything to her.
“This is like seriously one of the most emotional things I think anyone of us have ever seen,” she said, noting the generosity of the staff at Konow’s Corn Maze for hosting the benefit for them at no cost. “It’s overwhelming. It’s so nice.”
A number of bands also donated their time to keep live tunes playing throughout the event.
“We’re so fortunate people are being so gratuitous,” Kikkert said.
The benefit saw an estimated 200 people prepay for admission and Kikkert said they hear how attendance at events of this type could double by the day of.
Kikkert said it’s important to note that Allison is not alone in her battle to beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I live less than five miles away from her,” she said. “Her kids are friends with my kids, so I try to help her out with her kids as much as possible. I sat through one of her chemo treatments with her, which again was like a super emotional thing… We talked the whole time, and it was a nice thing. She was very glad I was there, which was nice.”
Bolhuis’ nurse made an appearance at the benefit, and Kikkert said it was a nice gesture.
“She’s super great, and [the nurse and Bolhuis] were friends in high school,” she said. “[The nurse] has a really good interest in making sure everything goes well for [Bolhuis.] I mean, not that anybody ever wants to ever have this horrible disease, but she’s in a really good position. She’s got a lot of support from her doctors on down to all of us and strangers. It’s like your speechless. You don’t even know what to say.”
Kikkert said she is glad to help Bolhuis in any way she can.
“It’s just my baby sister,” she said. “I hate seeing her suffer, but I have a lot of faith that she’s going to be okay.”