Benefit for Stinogel Saturday
Pam Stinogel of Milford is the unofficial president of the Memory Brothers Fan Club. She has had that distinction here in the Iowa Great Lakes Region for many years.
About two years ago, 60-year-old Stinogel was stricken with two strokes while trying to control her diabetes. Then, last December, came the diagnosis of cancer. Doug Koempel of the Memory Brothers was devastated for his friend.
"Here she was, just a couple of years from retiring; from the chance to kick back and enjoy herself," Koempel said. "For the past several years we would meet for lunch each month when I came over to play here at The Lakes and she was always so upbeat and positive."
The leader of the Memory Brothers band lives in Decorah. Stinogel was up front cheering when Koempel was inducted with his fellow Rubber Band members into the Iowa RockNRoll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
Stinogel suffered a setback a week ago when she was stricken with a high fever. She was hospitalized in Spencer for several days and discharged Monday, July 16.
"We talked on the phone and she sounds much stronger than a few days ago," Koempel said with relief in his voice.
Many of Stinogel's friends and former coworkers have volunteered to help with "Pam's Benefit" on Saturday, July 21 in the Milford Community Center.
"I got the idea after reading in a Cedar Rapids paper about all the expenses a single person faces when stricken with an illness and is no longer able to work," Koempel added. "All the day-to-day living expenses and the many medical expenses not covered by insurance mount up quickly and the stress levels are so much higher when they don't have anybody to help them."
Koempel is grateful to all the businesses and friends who are helping with the benefit.
"All the food was donated too so all the money collected from the suggested donations at the food table goes into the 'Pam Stinogel Fund' along with the free will offering at the door and the money from the auction," he said.
Stinogel says she has been blessed by a tremendous support system of friends who take her back and forth to doctor appointments and treatments. In April, she was forced by her illness to retire from the Spencer Hospital where she has worked since 1969. She was a buyer for the hospital where she now takes her chemotherapy treatments.
"It is hard for me to ask for help; I am so used to doing for myself and helping others," Stinogel said, "but everyone has been so good to take me to see the doctor, my treatments or help with errands. I have learned that when a person says for me to call if I need anything, they really do mean it."
Her final chemo treatment is on July 23 and it will be August before she finds out the results of the CAT scans. Stinogel was deeply touched by the benefit coming up on Saturday.
"I started to cry when they told me," she said and added that she is really looking forward to seeing everyone at the benefit.
According to Koempel, the doors to the Milford Community Center will open at 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon. The band, with several musical guest performers, will begin at 3:30. Food will be served from 4-6 p.m. Greg Nattress from Nattress Auction Service will auction off several gift items donated for the benefit starting at 5 p.m. "Every penny collected that day will go to the fund; everything for the benefit has been donated," Koempel emphasized.
Pam's Benefit will be filled with music, food and love as the community comes together with friends from throughout the state to help Pam Stinogel of Milford in her time of need.