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Local resident needs a Copper Country assist

With December behind us and a new year to focus on, it is easy to abandon our charity and our goodwill that we build up over the holiday season and get back to focusing on ourselves. This is not a bad thing, by any means, but the reality of the situation is, people around us need help year round, not just during the giving season.

One such man in need of help in the Copper Country is Garth Jurgensen. A larger-than-life character of a man who loves his daughter Macy and hockey, Jurgensen was diagnosed last week with a form of cancer called Gastrostoma multiforme.

More commonly known as astrocytoma, this form of cancer is one where tumors arise from astrocytes, star-shaped cells that make up the “glue-like” or supportive tissue of the brain, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

The tumors are graded on a scale from I to IV based on how normal, or abnormal, the cells look. There are low-grade astrocytomas and high-grade ones. Low-grade astrocytomas are usually localized and grow slowly, whereas high-grades grow at a more rapid pace and require a different course of treatment. Typically low-grades are found in children, while high-grades are found in adults.

Jurgensen, who grew up in Calumet until his family moved when he finished 8th grade, has been very active in the community, proving his heart is big. He was very active in Ripley after the Father’s Day flood, helping his friends and neighbors organize community cleanups.

He is also very active. Prior to his diagnosis, he never met a hockey rental he did not want to play on, or a body of water he did not want to swim or dive in.

The prognosis Jurgensen received from his doctors at UP Health System-Marquette was 18 months to five years. He remains vigilant in spite of the diagnosis, and is seeking a second opinion from Mayo Clinic.

Calumet resident Gail Ongie has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Jurgensen’s upcoming medical bills. Ongie is a longtime friend.

She was quoted by uppermichiganssource in a recent story where she discussed how involved Jurgensen gets when inspired to help those around him.

“He was a big inspiration for people after the hockey team in Canada was hit in that bus accident,” she said. “He sent around the GoFundMe for that to a lot of people. He just has a big heart, and now it is time to repay him.”

She is absolutely right. The GoFundMe page for Jurgensen has already raised $8,104 of the $100,000 goal she set for it.

If you are interested in donating, go to GoFundMe.com, search for his story and get involved.

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