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Kruse Family Leaves Legacy of Hope

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible." This quote from the late actor Christopher Reeve epitomizes the same spirit that sustained James Kruse as he dealt with much adversity in the last 18 years of his life.

James died on November 15, 2008, at the age of 72. He was a Cedar Rapids native born at Mercy Hospital. According to his three daughters, he was a valiant fighter and a loving father with a "unique gift of smiling eyes." He battled several bouts of cancer facing each diagnosis with dignity, quiet strength, and a sense of humor. Even when he suffered a stroke, James did not give up the fight.

That's why it is so fitting that his daughters - Elaine Behrens, Jennifer Weber and Kyl Gorman - chose to honor his memory by creating Mercy's Cancer Hope Fund. The memorial gifts they received in his name provided the seed money to reach out and help other cancer patients.

"He would be pleased to know he was helping other people with cancer," Kyl said. Jennifer explained, "It was his determination and sense of hope that kept him going all these years. He would want others to have that same fighting spirit."

Mercy's Cancer Hope Fund will provide hope through financial assistance for patients with emergency needs who are receiving treatment at Mercy Medical Center and Hall Radiation Center.

Battling cancer can be difficult physically and emotionally, so providing necessities like nutritional supplements, dressings, medical equipment or transportation assistance will lessen the burden of patients and their families in need.

Thanks to the generosity of James Kruse and his family, hope will be spread to those needing it at difficult times in their lives. As Elaine reflected, "Helping alleviate cancer patients' worries and giving them hope at the same time would please my dad. I feel comforted knowing his legacy of hope lives on."

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