A benefit for Gruen VonBehrens of Stewardson will be held Saturday, September 28, at the Effingham Elks Lodge, 2102 S. Banker, to help fray medical costs for cancer treatment.
After being cancer free for 19 years, VonBehrens was recently re-diagnosed with Stage 4 oropharyngeal (throat) cancer. The tumor extends from his throat into the soft palate and nasal cavity. Due to swallowing restrictions as a result of the tumor, VonBehrens is currently living with a feeding tube and tracheotomy tube in place. He is also undergoing chemotherapy treatment to shrink the tumor with the hope that it can then be removed.
VonBehrens was diagnosed with oral cancer when he was 17 years old after he noticed a abnormal spot on his tongue. He underwent a long process of radiation therapy and had approximately 35 surgeries over several years, along with speech and swallowing therapy.
Upon his recovery, he has dedicated his life to educating people on the negaive consequences of chewing tobacco and has spoken to schools, major and minor league baseball teams, to Congress, and has also been on television to share his story.
He is a devoted husband and father to his wife Sara (Prumer) and his two daughters Katelyn and Claire.
The benefit will begin at 3 p.m. with food being served from 3 to 8 p.m. A live auction will begin at 7 p.m. and a DJ will entertain from 9 p.m. to midnight. There will also be silent auctions, raffle tables, 50/50 drawing, and a gun raffle throughout the evening.
Cash donations may also be made to Guen VonBehrens Benefit Fund at Prairie National Bank at Effingham or Stewardson.