MINSTER — Donna Albers and Elaine Huber have been friends for a long time.
The pair met many years ago, working together at Wagner’s IGA in Minster. They developed a strong bond, and now their friendship is being put to the ultimate test and coming out even stronger.
Albers was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013 and has faced a constant uphill battle ever since. When the chance came to honor her friend for the support she has given her, she didn’t waste the chance. Albers sent a nomination letter to the Stefanie Spielman Foundation for Huber to be selected as a “Stefanie’s Champion,” and Huber was given the award April 22 during the Step Up for Stefanie’s Champions Walk/Run in Columbus.
“It hit our family like a ton of bricks,” Alber said of the diagnosis.
Within a few hours of Alber’s diagnosis, Huber was at her bedside, offering whatever help and support she could. Albers’ cancer is now in Stage 3C, and Huber has been there with her friend every step of the way through a failed clinical trial, the chemotherapy treatments, and the constant doctor’s appointments. The duo often plan around trips for treatment to make a difficult situation as easy as possible.
“She has taught me that joy and laughter are daily needs,” Albers said. “She is there every day to give me my daily dose.”
Huber insists that she is just doing what any friend would do.
“I feel like she has been the one there for me,” Huber said. “We go way back and Donna is like a sister. I feel like I am the one who has benefited from this, as much as Donna.”
However, Albers wasn’t ready to let Huber get away with her modesty.
“It can get so overwhelming,” Albers said. “Her spirit and cheerfulness, she has been that way always. She is that type of person. It is an honor to share our story.”
During the last 16 years, Stefanie’s Champions has raised more than $1.7 million for the Spielman Fund. Cancer survivors can nominate their champions for the Champion award.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or on Twitter @LanceMihm.