Duluth Mom Is Fighting Cancer With The Help Of Her ‘Stranger Things’ Friends
There's an inspiring network of friends that are helping each other out, right here in Duluth. They recently were featured in media sources as one of the coolest costume themes at the polar plunge. They called themselves team Colder Things, as they dressed like the cast of Stranger Things for the polar plunge.
So what's the story with this group? It's pretty cool. They are a group of lifelong friends and now neighbors who have come together to support Erica, one of the moms who recently was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (also known as ALL.) It's rare for an adult to be diagnosed with this cancer, as it normally shows up as pediatric cancer. We've talked about it a lot over the years with our St. Jude Radiothon, as the research facility chose ALL as one of the first to try to cure. (They've had enormous success over the years, increasing survival rates to more than 90% in children.)
A GoFundMe page was set up months ago to help raise money for the family. Erica needed multiple stays out of town for treatment. She and her husband Cole are parents to three children, and as they have found cancer doesn't care what your schedule is. The busy family has been supported by friends and family. Their friend Mike comes over and cooks them great meals while his wife Jenna helps clean. The group of friends helps shuttle kids to and from school and activities. It's really a tight group! Erica's mother became her caregiver at the hospital while Cole continued to work and run things at home, with also the help of his mother.
Now comes some of the fun stuff. I noticed on Halloween that they had a pretty epic Stranger Things group costume that they went trick-or-treating in. You can see Erica rocking the 'El' costume from stranger things. The short hair was a side effect of the treatment, but she used it to her advantage for her costume.
I think they had just about every character covered! Even some of the monsters like Vecna (Hi Mike!), and Leo in the Demogorgon suit. Nice look! Erica is eleven, next to her husband Cole in the Eddie costume. He actually knows how to play that guitar too! Their longtime friend Mark actually custom guitar too as a nice gift to the family in their time of need.
Next came Christmas, and the Holstroms were selected as one of the families for The Best Christmas Ever. It's an organization that works to bring the "best Christmas ever" to a family going through a difficult time. The smiles on the kids' faces tell the story.
Following Christmas once again the family had a rough patch. Covid hit the household and Erica also contracted RSV. Lots of crud was going around this year, and with Erica's weakened immune system she had to be hospitalized again. Their friends Erin and Erik took their kids in for Christmas eve because of COVID and RSV.
They recently could be seen jumping into Lake Superior to raise money for Duluth's Polar Plunge.
Erica didn't jump (for obvious reasons) but the rest braved the water along with hundreds of other participants in another great year for the plunge.
Erica is very appreciative of all the support. She told me she feels blessed to have such a great team around her of family and friends. Obviously, Erica is one amazing woman and mom to have so many people care so much about her. Good luck, Erica. We're with you.