Friends line up for Amber

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
An event Friday evening will benefit Amber Weide, here with 4-year-old daughter Khloeigh, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

“All I ever wanted to be was a mom,” Amber Weide said from the child-friendly confines of her day care at 833 N. Jefferson Ave. Wednesday morning.
Her dream has come true. The 30-year-old single mom of two girls also has mothered about 50 other kids since she started a day care five years ago. Amber’s life also has a nightmarish side.
She twice has been diagnosed with cancer, first Ewing’s Sarcoma bone cancer four years ago and within the last several months a second siege of malignancy in her lungs. If those challenges weren’t enough, Amber’s day care was in the Davis Addition when the summer 2007 flood spilled several feet of water into it.
She allowed the flood “wasn’t all that big a deal. I already had signed papers on this place (833 N. Jefferson) and was doing painting and other work when the flood came.”
The move occurred quicker than anticipated, though, and “she didn’t even have the water heater working when she first moved in,” said Jeannie Weide, her mother. She has filled in as day care provider often when her daughter was having cancer treatments or didn’t feel well enough to deal with a room filled with rambunctious youngsters.

ALTHOUGH she does have insurance, Amber’s expenses have mounted. To help her meet medical and other bills, friends will have a benefit for her during a Cruise Night portion of Farm-City Days Friday evening. Smoked pork sandwiches for a $5 donation will be available on the southwest corner of the courthouse square in downtown Iola. People who want to dine indoors may do so at the Elks Lodge, 202 S. Jefferson Ave. Serving starts at 6:30.
Advantage Computer Enterprises donated a hog and other merchants have chipped in to help out. In addition to the meal, a raffle for an electric smoker will be part of the event.

IN JUNE 2006, Amber had nagging lower back pain. Initially it was thought to be a pinched nerve or bulging disk. After dye was injected into her spine, doctors diagnosed the Ewing’s Sarcoma.
“It’s usually a cancer that’s found in adolescent boys,” Amber said, but there are no hard and fast rules for any malignancy.
After diagnosis, Amber had 28 days of radiation treatments and 17 rounds of chemotherapy.
With the reoccurence in her lungs, she has started another session of chemotherapy, which involves five days of treatments in 21-day cycles. That was interrupted when Amber developed an infection in her left jaw that put her in Wesley Medical Center in Wichita for several days.
Chemotherapy has resumed and the most recent scan of her lungs showed two of three spots of cancer were gone.
“The doctor said he thought the third one, just three millimeters across, is a scar, but I haven’t been told that I’m cancer-free,” Amber said. She is scheduled for three more rounds of chemotherapy.
While dealing with cancer isn’t a walk in the park, Amber has found the strength to take it in stride and is fortified by having daughters Khloeigh, 4, and Bayleigh, 11, at her side, along with on the average eight other children in her day care.
Squeals, laughs and a steady stream of kids’ TV programming keep the atmosphere festive.
Her mother, Jeannie, also is a fixture.
“It gets pretty wild around here,” Jeannie said, adding she didn’t think “I’d being changing diapers every day at this point of my life.”
She is pleased as any mother would be that her daughter’s friends care enough to put together the fund-raising event for Friday evening.
“People don’t understand what you go through in cancer treatment and what it can cost unless they’ve been there,” she said.