Dig Pink honors Iola woman
By Holly Neumann
The word cancer is all too familiar for Iola’s Janine Beauchaine.
She was honored Oct. 12 at Iola-Scandinavia High School during the annual Dig Pink volleyball match between the Iola-Scandinavia Thunderbirds and Rosholt Hornets.
“I was diagnosed for the first time in 1991,” Beauchaine said. “I had a sarcoma in the back of my leg.”
The emotions show on her face when she talks about hearing the words, “You have cancer,” for the first time.
“I remember thinking I am too young for this, get it out of me,” she said. “I didn’t want to die.”
Since then, Beauchaine has not only fought – and won – battles against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer and two bouts of skin cancer.
“Each time I was told I had cancer, an unexplainable fear hit me to the core of my being,” she said. “I was afraid a dying, afraid for my family and what would happen to them. Who would take care of my kids? Who would take care of my husband? What would happen to the people around me if I died?”
Lung cancer was by far the hardest for her to fight.
“The chemotherapy was so strong and I had to have two-thirds of my right lung removed because of it,” she said. “The pain from surgery made it even harder.”
Beauchaine’s faith played a huge role in getting her through.
“I have very strong faith,” she said. “At one point, I remember asking my priest, ‘How could God to this to me?’ He told me God did not, that this is just part of being human, that God gives you the strength to get you through it.”
The words empowered Beauchaine to fight that much harder.
“I envisioned God holding me in his hands,” she said. “That was how I was going to heal.”
Her family, friends and community also played a part.
“We have an amazing support system here,” Beauchaine said. “You learn rather quickly that you are not alone. So many people have been so helpful, which makes it not so hard for you.”
The volleyball teams honored Beauchaine and other cancer survivors at the match while also raising awareness about breast cancer.
“I am humbled by it all,” she said. “Our youth are doing a great thing with this event. I am glad I can be a part of it. Just knowing that I did not have to fight alone was huge for me.”
Beauchaine has been in remission for eight years.
“I still have to go in every six months for follow-up checkups,” she said. “Every time I go in there is a lot of anxiety involved, but I am a fighter.”
She offered advice to friends and family of those fighting the disease.
“Be supportive and listen,” she said. “Sometimes people don’t always want to talk, but just need someone to listen.”
To those fighting the battle right now, Beauchaine has these words of wisdom:
“Whatever you are going through, you don’t have to look very far to find something worse,” she said. “Keep things in perspective. You have to deal with it, find your support system and have a positive attitude. Remember, each day is a gift.”