Area couple is facing cancer togetherBy Lindsey Corell
For the past four years, the road has not been easy for former Jesup residents Dawn and Bob Gwin. Both being diagnosed with cancer, they have supported each other through it all. Now family and friends of the Gwins are asking for support to help them through more tough times.
Dawn lived in Jesup from 1984 to 2012, graduating from Jesup High School in 1989. Bob, originally from Sioux City, served on the Jesup Fire Department from 2004 to 2008.
In April 2016, Dawn was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just a few months before Dawn was diagnosed, two of her other sisters were also diagnosed with cancer. Out of six siblings, four of them were diagnosed with some type of cancer.
In May 2016, after a double mastectomy and lymph node removal, Dawn was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. After six rounds of weekly chemotherapy, Dawn had to stop chemo due to several bad allergic reactions. Around Thanksgiving 2016, Dawn was rushed by ambulance to the ICU until a team of doctors could be assembled to drain a large amount of fluid from around her heart. In December 2016 and January 2017, Dawn was taken by ambulance to again have her fluid drained. By February 2017, Dawn was feeling better and decided not to pursue radiation. Around two years later in April 2019, Dawn decided to get implants. From April to July, she traveled weekly to have the expanders filled and in September she had the exchange for real implants.
At the beginning of 2020, Dawn was feeling normal again and the best she felt in years. However, one morning in April, she woke up with a severe pain on her left side under her breast by her rib cage. The trip to the hospital ended up giving her another diagnosis. Doctors diagnosed Dawn with Stage 4 Metastatic Cancer.
Currently, Dawn is in active treatment and will be for the rest of her life. She does chemo on a weekly basis and is currently stable. Dawn has been given a prognosis of years. She finds a lot of support through the Beyond Pink TEAM, a local breast cancer coalition in the Cedar Valley.
Just as Dawn was settling down with the news of her way of life, cancer struck again. But, this time for her husband, Bob.
In October 2020, Bob began having recurrent heartburn and indigestion problems. Bob eventually went to the ER for chest pains. The doctors referred him to a gastroenterologist. It was there that they discovered bleeding in his esophagus and they took some biopsies. Cancer was discovered, but they did not know how advanced it was. In November, Bob was sent to University of Iowa Hospital for testing. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Advanced Metastatic Stomach Cancer. It is an aggressive cancer involving the stomach and abdomen.
Bob’s prognosis is around one year, even with chemo. He started chemo on January 4 and will go every two weeks. As his cancer worsens, Bob will be able to either stay at home or go to the hospice center.
“Bob wants to prove the doctors wrong,” said Dawn. “He has such a positive outlook about the whole thing.”
Bob is employed at Fastenal in Waverly, and, with him being the only source of income, family and friends knew they needed to help even more.
In December, family members Jake Spiegel, Denise Spiegel, Ashley Ellis, Ryen Peerman, Tori Gwin, Pierce Barrette-Ostberg, Nyssa Markel, Dustin Markel, Brandon Clayton, Chasity Murphy, Donna Harrington and Dan Harrington started a GoFundMe page for the Gwins. All the money raised will be used to pay medical bills, utilities, rent and any medical supplies and equipment that may be needed as their cancers progress.
Since the GoFundMe page started on December 17, a total close to $2,500 has been raised. So far, that funding has helped with Bob’s doctor’s bills.
Both Bob and Dawn visit the UnityPoint Cancer Center, which is part of Allen Hospital.
“They have been great,” said Dawn. “We can call during the day or night or email with any questions we have. The doctors have been wonderful.”
The Gwins’ family hopes to plan a benefit for them sometime in April in Denver, but it all depends on COVID.
To help support the Gwins with their battles with cancer, you can donate to their GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/6caf645e. If you wish to donate in a different way, you can email email@example.com.
“A huge thank you to everyone,” said Bob.
“We appreciate all of the support and there’s no way we could do it without everyone,” added Dawn.
The Gwins have lived in Denver for three years. Bob has twin daughters and Dawn, one son. Together, they enjoy watching episodes of “Law & Order.” They have been married for 15 years.
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