On October 15th 2004, Rita checked into the hospital in Sioux Falls, SD to run tests on
suspicion of Leukemia, it was soon confirmed that she did in fact have leukemia.
The doctors recommend a Bone Marrow Transplant as soon as possible. They did tests on
her brothers, and found that Chris her youngest brother was a good match. Chris was also in
good physical condition as he was a US Marine, so he was a very good choice.
On January 18th, 2005 they preformed the transplant in Sioux Falls, things seemed to go ok,
the transplant seemed to take relatively well. Though there were complications with the graft-
vs-host problems. They ended up doing a new procedure called Photopheresis this seemed
to work, and Rita appeared be on the way to full recovery in the summer of 2005.
In August 2005, they were doing some tests and found that a growth discovered in June had
enlarged substantially, the doctors ran tests and decided to stop the Photopheresis treatment,
this made a big difference in the growth and it reduced substantial in a short period of time.
Unfortunately the graft vs host took off apparently uncontrollably as well. Early in September
the doctors concluded that there was little hope, telling them that Rita had probably about 2
Jeff and Rita had always wanted to take the girls to Disney Land, Rita had dreamed of going
there since she was very young, so they decided now was the time. Photos from Disney and Sea world trip
Rita didnít give up easily, her faith guided her and she was ready to accept what came, but
that didnít mean she was going down without a fight. Her brother Chris was to be married the
end of October 2005, and Rita really wanted to go to that, somehow she kept enough strength
and Jeff managed to make it work that they borrowed a mobile home and made the trip out
east to the wedding. This invigorated Rita, and when they got back, she seemed to be doing
better, or at least not worst. Not to long after that, they decided to go and have some test
done, and somehow it appeared Rita had beaten the cancer, but now the Graft Vs host was
the problem, they put her back on treatments this time more vigorously, and she seemed to be
doing better. Though right after Thanksgiving, she ended up back in the hospital, she fought
hard, but on December 23rd 2005, Rita lost the battle.
Rita gave it everything she had, she fought harder than anyone can imagine, and through it all
she kept her sense of humor and her strong determination. Rita is a shining example of how
we all wish we would be under similar circumstances.