Diagnosed in 2008 with stage 3 lung cancer, my journey began. At about the 2 year mark, as hope grew that I would make it, I sat with our Minister and asked “why me, why am I being cured”? Without hesitation he directed me to the bible, 2nd Corinthians, 1, 4, “ He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us”.
Since that time I have been trying to be a cancer companion, only without training. As I have been contemplating retirement I have received some very clear signals regarding what to do next with my life. On October 11th, the sermon message was on being a servant to others. On the 18th, Why would God want to use you? On October 21st I met Karen Tripp.
After my diagnosis, I soon saw cancer as a gift, as it clearly strengthened my relationship with Jesus. I am blessed to be married to my best friend and caregiver through my cancer journey, who sat with me many days in the chemo infusion lab. What a relationship building tool that is. I have two sons and a stepdaughter plus an amazing 5 year old granddaughter!!!
To contact Ken, email her at [email protected]
Alicia Klabunde, Greater Chicago, IL Regional Representative
Alicia Klabunde, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA is a physical therapist and lymphedema specialist, focused in oncology rehabilitation. After working within an integrated cancer center, Alicia developed an oncology rehabilitation program within a hospital based practice. Here, she has been able to assist survivors with both short and long-term physical side effects from their cancer treatments. This opportunity has opened her eyes into the numerous side effects affecting quality of life often faced by cancer survivors including, physical, emotional, spiritual, social and financial effects.
Alicia strives to be a resource to connect survivors and families with appropriate support options. Her desire to empower survivors and their families to take care of all aspects of their wellness has driven her to develop survivorship events aimed at recognizing and managing these deficits. Additionally, she has worked to bring awareness of deficits and treatment options to survivors, providers and the community through various speaking and educational activities. She refers to the Starfish Story in her efforts to increase awareness, knowing that she cannot reach all, but can make a difference to that one!
Alicia has a heart for God, a desire to carry out His will and a passion for oncology. She recognizes the void in resources to address the spiritual needs of cancer survivors in many communities. Together, these drive her desire to join the ministry of Cancer Companions to gain momentum in meeting the many unmet needs of cancer survivors in our community. She looks forward to the journey and making a difference to that one!
To contact Alicia, email her at [email protected]
Lora Richmond, Greater Austin, TX Regional Representative
As a new Regional Representative to the Austin area, I am thrilled to be part of an organization that offers the only real and true hope for those battling this disease… Jesus Christ.
I’m not a stranger to this disease. Both my father and mother had cancer…my mother, a thirty-three year survivor, battled breast cancer when she was only 32. My father, several years later, died from a hard-fought battle with colon cancer at the age of 51. I’ve felt the crushing blows this disease delivers more than once, and have struggled through the grief it brings.
However, God brings beauty out of ashes, and I believe that the trials and hardships of cancer have also given me an opportunity to help others going through the same difficulties. As I recently searched for a ministry, I know God providentially helped me find Cancer-Companions, and I look forward to how He will continue to grow this organization and bring hope through cancer.
To contact Lora, email her at [email protected]
Adam Ribbeck, Greater Austin, TX Regional Representative
I am a husband of one and a father of three beautiful kids (I know, I’m biased).
The biggest reason I am with Cancer Companions is because was when I was 27 years old I was struck down with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, and God spared my life. The next biggest reason is that I love the church, and I want her to love as gloriously as she can. Loving people through a cancer journey is really challenging, but I’m convinced that Cancer Companions bridges a critical gap that can give Christians the wisdom/skill-based that they need to engage cancer victims and their families lovingly.
When I’m not working with Cancer Companions, I am usually preaching, writing, podcasting, teaching a Bible study, teaching ESL, or teaching Sex-Ed in the local public schools. I believe in throat lozenges, (so I don’t have to stop talking).
My degree is in ministry (from Austin Graduate School of Theology), and I have worked inside and outside the church for 15 years. Part of that journey included four years as a missionary in Mexico City which forced me to be bilingual, but that comes in handy when you live in Texas.
Here are the two most important verses in the Bible as far as I’m concerned:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15
To contact Adam, email him at [email protected]
Alicia McCall, Greater Dallas, TX Regional Representative
Alicia comes to Cancer Companions from the disciplines of public health and education. She has also volunteered with multiple community health organizations throughout the country. Alicia continues to work to increase understanding of the experiences of people living with chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and HIV.
To contact Alicia, email her at [email protected]
Michael Montoya, Greater Houston, TX Regional Representative
“Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Michael graduated high school from Garland Christian Academy then briefly attended Liberty University in Virginia and graduated college with a Bachelors in Business from The University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in Belton, TX. Upon graduation, he worked in the financial industry as a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial, an Inheritance Specialist/Broker at Fidelity Investments and moved on to a Project Manager role at GCA Services Group. Michael is currently a small business owner and entrepreneur and is extremely excited to partner with Cancer Companions. Michael’s 57-year-old mother was diagnosed with stage 4 GI (gastrointestinal) cancer May 22, 2017 and after a short, hard fought battle passed away July 30, 2017. Michael states “Cancer Companions is the perfect platform to equip individuals in the management of their mindset in the fight against cancer. Although my mother’s battle was brief, the impact was immense and having the opportunity to help others would be an honor.” Michael has served in multiple roles at his church such as greeter, usher, youth pastor, worship, elementary group leader and currently holds his professional soccer coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation. Michael has been involved in soccer since the age of 4 and played competitively until the age of 25. Michael is the father of 4 gorgeous children: Mykayla 12, Samara 10, Malakai 8, Elaina 6 and two furry cats Peanuts and Mittens.
To contact Michael, email him at [email protected]