Fate has dealt a raw deal to Ben and Shelby Offrink, young parents of two toddlers, who are both fighting cancer. The Offrinks have two children, Maeve, who is 3, and Hazel, who turned 1 in December.
Shortly after giving birth, Offrink visited doctors for what she thought was sciatica. What she found out is Shelby Offrink has a rare and incurable form of spine cancer that has now moved to her brain. She’s been diagnosed with Stage IV glioblastoma. Right now, Offrink’s treatment plan is to spend as much time as possible with her family.
If learning his wife has incurable cancer wasn’t enough, months into his wife’s ordeal, Offrink learned his Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he’d previously beaten, had returned for a third time.
“Giving up is not an option,” Offrink told People magazine in a recent interview.
Family members have rallied to help the Offrinks with their children. Jay and Luke Tomczak, Offrink’s brothers, spoke to USA Today about their family’s bravery.
“It feels really unfair to have all of this happen,” Jay Tomczak, Shelby’s older brother told USA Today about Offrink’s cancer. “I feel a lot of their pain. As a brother, it has been a very difficult thing to absorb. I think one of the things that has made it possible for them to get through is the love and support from the family and all the friends.”
“There is support all around her, so we feed off of that,” said Luke. “She has an intelligent, witty sense of humor and I’m really happy she has been able to maintain that throughout all of this,” said Jay. She “has always been the strongest person that I’ve known. If she is having a rough day, we try to keep them up with Ben and the girls. Seeing (Ben Offrink) get weaker has been a really hard thing. We love him like a brother, and we are there to support him as much as we can.”
“We are hoping and praying for him to have that go well this time around,” said Luke about Offrink.
“We’re pushing on and fighting every day to make sure our girls are healthy and happy and getting as much out of life as they can,” says Offrink about his cancer. “We’re not going to sulk in a corner. We want to show our girls that there’s a lot to live for and laugh about, each and every day of their lives.”
[Image from YouTube]