2021 Recipients

Good morning everyone. Here we are the Sunday after Thanksgiving and it’s that time to begin sharing our recipients for Cancer Freeze 2021. We are starting with Ashlyn Lancer of DeFuniak Springs, FL. Ashlyn is a first for us, she’s also pregnant with her first child. Instead of being able to focus on the excitement of carrying a precious life, Ashlyn was hit with those ugly words everyone dreads to hear, “you have cancer.” Below is her story:

Recipient #1 Ashlyn Lancer

My name is Ashlyn Lancer and I am 25 years old. June 1st was the best day of my life. Me and Stephen found out we were gonna be parents. Something I have always wanted. As the weeks went by I wasn’t gaining the weight properly. My blood work wasn’t coming back normal but we couldn’t rule out why.  August 24th came around and my whole life changed. I woke up very sick and my neck was swollen on the left side. It was almost as big as a softball. I worked at the Pharmacy at the time and my boss sent me to the clinic to be checked. They couldn’t do much for me but antibiotics so she sent me to the birthing place. I was there for hours running test which felt like days. Finally my MRI came back and they broke down and told me I possibly had cancer. Being 19 weeks pregnant and being in the back of the ambulance being sent off for emergency surgery was very hard. I ended up at Sacred Heart in Pensacola late that night. I had the best nurses and doctors. That next morning I met my Surgeon who was also very kind and worried about me and my babies’ well-being. I was hooked up on an IV getting tons of medicine trying to get the mass down a little before surgery. Surgery was long it seemed like. It was my very first surgery so I was scared. And of course being pregnant it made it even harder. Due to Covid 19 I had to be alone which also made it hard. We stayed strong and had a good surgery thanks to my surgeon and his team. They kept me a few more days just to make sure I was healing okay from my biopsy. September 1st I traveled back to Pensacola to the ENT building to receive my results. My surgeon sat me and Stephen down and informed me I did have Cancer. I was 20 weeks pregnant and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It doesn’t hit you right away. It comes more as a shock and leaves you confused. Because nobody ever thinks it could be them until it is. The referred me to the Cancer Center where I met my Oncologist two days later. With me being pregnant we had to sit down and work on a treatment plan a little harder because it wasn’t just me. I was also carrying a baby. 28 weeks is the best time to start treatments when you are pregnant. So for the next few weeks. I went in for tons of testing. CT scans, lung scans, lung test, and also test to check my heart. I had my port surgery placed which was also hard being alone but me and the baby stayed strong for surgery number two. That next week we finally started our first round of chemo. We are on the treatment plan ABVD. I haven’t been able to get a pet scan due to being pregnant but what we could see from the chest and neck scans I was stage 2B. My first chemo wasn’t hard besides being alone but it was nice having my sweet baby kick around. Having cancer was starting to become more real. Even though I was mad at the world because I had to put my life on pause. I had to leave my job. All I could do was sit at home and see doctors all week long. Because due to cancer I became very high risk with my pregnancy. My dopplers in the cord got weak. My baby wasn’t receiving enough blood flow and oxygen, which turned into a lot of hospital visits for the both of us. We go to chemo every two weeks. I am now on my forth round and the side effects are now hitting. It’s been hard. It’s not easy being sick all the time. But I have accepted this challenge from God. I am ready to fight this and beat Cancer. I am okay with life being on pause. I get to focus on healing and getting strong again so I can be ready for the arrival of my baby. I am due anytime now so my oncologist asked me to take a break from chemo until I heal from my c section surgery. Due to the chemo I don’t have the best strength for a regular delivery. But with God me and her can handle anything. We have been through so much already and God gave us this chapter for a reason. I am learning a lot. This challenge is just another step stone in my life. We are ready to fight whatever is thrown our way! With God anything is possible. I’m so ready to ring the bell when I’m Cancer-free.
*please pray for Ashlyn and her precious baby. She should be delivering possibly this coming week. Mark your calendars and make plans to join us on Saturday, February 6, 2021, at beautiful Lake Jackson in Florala, Al, where we’ll be “freezin” for Ashlyn and our other 3 CF recipients for 2021. Also, please share with your family & friends.

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God bless!

Recipient #2 Carolyn Munhollen

Good morning. Let’s meet Cancer Freeze recipient #2 for 2021. Below is Carolyn Munhollon from Pensacola, Fl story:
My mothers side of the family is where cancer is most seen in my family. Her father had colon cancer back in the early 90’s and cancer is what took the lives of his mother (brain tumor) and his father (stomach cancer) both back in the 70’s.
Everyone in my family was healthy until one day in 2017 our world as we knew it came crashing down. I was in my bedroom talking to my husband about our day. I have always talked with my hands and happened to touch my right breast while talking. When I touched it I felt a large lump. My husband agreed something was wrong and told me to go the next day and get it checked. The next day my family doctor of many years came in to see me and agreed with us that something was definitely wrong. Since it was Easter time he named it my Cadbury egg. He sent my to get it tested and a couple days later I found out it was cancer. I had Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I was determined I was going to win my fight. I was doing this for my family. I’ll never say it was easy. After a year of chemo, surgeries, even a double mastectomy, I was told I was cancer free. We were all so excited. I had won!!!!
Then, it happened again. Two short months later my loving husband, my partner in crime, and the love of my life for the past 21 1/2 years is diagnosed with stage 4 colon/ rectal cancer. Brian had always hated doctors and never took care of his health. He had needed to have a colonoscopy for a few years and wouldn’t go. With everything he had just watched me go through, he knew it was time to get his health in order. He finally agreed to get a check up and that’s how we found out he had colon/rectal cancer.
If you knew Brian, you knew he was a very proud and private person. When he loved, he loved with his whole heart. Brian loved law enforcement. He got the bug on a ride-along with his brother in law that was a deputy. Brian became a deputy one month before he and I got married. I was happy with this because Brian was so happy and doing what he loved. It was his passion. He was proud to be part of the brotherhood.
Now, he has cancer. This scared me more than him being a deputy ever did. This was a very depressing time for Brian. He was in the hospital 4 times and had been to UAB in Birmingham a few times. On October 23, 2018, I had to call an ambulance to take Brian to the hospital. He didn’t have the strength to walk from the bedroom to the living room. I knew he needed help. Little did I know, he would never come back home. November 7, 2018, my children and I lost the greatest man we ever knew.
Fast forward two years. Everyone has 2020 stories, unfortunately I do also. In March 2020 My sister was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroendocrine cancer. She fought hard with this and in September 2020 she was admitted to the hospital in hospice. On September 20, 2020 after a hard 6 month battle she passed away. Then a few days later, I started having pain in my chest. It felt like someone stabbing me and would take my breath. After going to my oncologist and being told I was okay, but he listened to me and ordered tests. On October 28, 2020 I was given then news that I have cancer again. After having a biopsy, I learned I have triple negative breast cancer again.
By the time you all read this, my world will be changed again. On November 23, 2020 I will have surgery to have a port put in. On November 24,2020, I start chemo. I don’t know how my story ends, God is still planning my journey. I don’t know why this has happened to our family, only God knows. I hope my story helps one person and it’s all worth it. I’m am a fighter and I will do whatever I need to to win this fight again. So please don’t feel sorry for me. God is good and blessed my life in many ways. I have two amazing children, Alyssa 19 and Brian “Alex” 16, they are my world.
Cancer Freeze was brought into my life for a reason, if nothing else but to lift my spirits.
God bless everyone that donates and helps with Cancer Freeze. There is AMAZING people within this organization.
Thank you for taking the time to read my cancer jouney.
*please mark your calendars and make plans to join us on Saturday, February 6,2021, at beautiful Lake Jackson in Florala, Al, where we’ll be “freezin” for Carolyn and our 3 other recipients for 2021.
Recipient #3 Cindy Bumgardner

Good morning! Today we are sharing recipient #3 for

CANCER FREEZE

2021. Below is her story:

My name is Cindy Bumgardner and I live in Paxton Florida with my husband Tommy and my son Hunter who is a sophomore at Paxton High School. I also have a daughter, Brittany that graduated from Paxton and a step daughter, Mariah that also graduated from Paxton. I am 47 years young and was initially diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma on October 2, 2020. Wow, Cancer! How? Why? Cancer doesn’t even run in my family!
Sometime in August I had developed an ulcer on the side of my tongue, which I dismissed and told myself it was no big deal it will go away. Well after a few weeks of trying home remedies the ulcer would not go away and my tongue began to swell and get lesions on the side and under my tongue. I made an appointment with an ENT in North West Florida who wanted to do a biopsy on my tongue. Hearing the word biopsy was scary, having it done was even harder and waiting for the results felt like an eternity. I left there in so much pain that only increased day by day and what seemed to spread throughout my tongue. October 2, 2020, I went in for a follow up to discuss the results and was informed then that it was cancer. All I could do was sit there in shock while the doctor was telling me that he would refer me to an ENT surgeon at Baptist Medical Group. He tried to console me as I sat in his office and just broke down in tears. All the while, he was very optimistic that the tumor would be removed and that he was certain that it was caught early on and was small. Since I came to my appointment on my own, he told me to take all the time that I needed before I left to return to my office. I sat there for about 5 more minutes and was on my way, telling myself that I was going to be okay and trying to be as optimistic as the doctor was. I get back to my office and discuss with my boss that also had a cancer like mine the results of my biopsy. From this date on it was one appointment after another as I needed labs done, CT scans, PET scans, it all seemed never ending. I finally went to my referral to Dr. White at Baptist Medical and it just gets worse. I drive an hour away for a ten-minute appointment to be advised that the mass was too much and too deep for her to deal with, they did not have the staff or the facility for what I needed so then she referred me to UAB.
On October 28th I met with Dr, Greene and the reconstructive surgeon Dr. Thomas at UAB and my surgery was set for November 6th. You hear everything they tell you but I am not sure it all sinks in, they are going to remove the parts of my tongue that is showing signs of the mass and my lymph nodes in my neck and reconstruct my tongue. How do I prepare for that, will they get it all, will I be able to talk or swallow when it is all done?
November 5th day before my surgery I had to go back to UAB to be tested for Covid, only one person was going to be allowed in the hospital with me during surgery and only 1 person could stay within a 24 hour period during my stay in the hospital. I am terrified; however, I will try to be strong. I will crack jokes because if I don’t I feel as though I will break. It is time for surgery I am not prepared…
The removal of the mass and reconstruction of my tongue took 12 hours. I woke up in severe pain, and complete stiffness around my neck. They had to place a feeding tube through my nose and a trach to help me breath due to the swelling in my neck. I can’t speak, I can’t tell anyone how I feel, and I can no longer see my original tongue, the part of my tongue that was visible is now gone. I have staples going from behind my ear on one side going all the way around my neck to behind my ear on the other side. I’m shocked as this was not the original plan. I was told to remove the lymph nodes they would make small incisions on both sides of my neck, so when I see pictures taken by my husband that I look as though I was decapitated and put back together was a little bit of a shock. I had multiple drain tubes that are coming from my neck area to help keep fluid from building up under my skin. They robbed parts of myself to reconstruct my tongue, they took blood vessels, skin and tissue from my left forearm and skin graft from my left thigh to put back on my arm. My forearm will have to be protected with a split for the next month, to ensure it is not bumped.
When I saw myself for the first time I was horrified as there was so much swelling I no longer felt like myself, not just physically but emotionally. I went from this very independent person to having to have someone help me with the little things we take for granted like eating real food to having someone feed me through a tube to having someone help bath me and even help me use the bathroom. I stay in the hospital for a week before they discharged me to finally return home. I kept telling myself how much better I will feel once I get home. The 3-and-a-half-hour drive home was the longest drive home ever. Still swollen and in pain I couldn’t get comfortable sitting or lying and every bump in the road was felt. When I get home I cannot sleep in my bed because of the excess fluid that builds up in my mouth I feel that I will drown, so I sleep in a recliner in the living room with my suctioning machine to remove excess fluid from my mouth and my trach.
My follow up visit at UAB was on November 24th, they removed the rest of the drain lines and reduced the size of the trach. I wish this were the day we were told they got all the cancer with the surgery, but we didn’t get the news we wanted to hear. Instead, I am informed that the tumor was adenosquamos carcinoma which is a hybrid tumor that was staged a T3 and that they removed 55 lymph nodes from my neck and of those, 4 lymph nodes contained cancer and appeared to be growing outside of the lymph nodes, which was a N3 for staging. Chemo and radiation for at least 6 weeks is now needed. I am still needing to undergo therapy to swallow and for speech. It is now almost 4 weeks since my surgery and I still cannot move my tongue, still have my trach and feeding tube. To say that this is all overwhelming is an understatement. Since all of this is so unfamiliar territory for me, I try to find as much information about what I am dealing with and I may have bit off more than I could chew. Immediately I am terrified as I read how aggressive this cancer is and that it is not a very common cancer, not to mention that most cases are typically males and the outcome is quite poor. So, for another moment I have stressed myself out and find myself terrified and all in my feelings. But I refuse to keep my spirits down and there is no way that my husband will allow that either. So I will chin up and put it in God’s hands that his work will be done. But I have learned a great deal within this time, not only about myself but my family and those around me. I have learned that it is okay to be scared and to have my moments of weakness, it’s okay to cry and it’s okay to lean on others, when I have gone my whole life being so independent that I refuse to ask for help when I most need it. I have learned that I have the best people in my life to include my husband and my sister that have dedicated all their time to take care of me during my time of need without hesitation. That I have the best of friends that have prayed for me daily and provide their positive vibes to push me through this ugly battle and letting me know that I am not alone. That people that I don’t even know and have never crossed paths with continue to pray for me, which is so awesome and humbling. Most of all to our almighty God that has been by my side through all of this and reminding me that he will get me through this as he is still working on healing me daily.
*Please mark your calendars and join us on Saturday, February 6, 2021, at beautiful Lake Jackson in Florala, Al, where we’ll be “freezin” for Mrs.Cindy and our other 3 chosen recipients for CF’21.
Recipient #4 Peyton Boyette
Introducing our 4th and final 2021 Cancer Freeze recipient. Below is her story:
Peyton Boyette is 11 years old and lives in Brewton, Alabama. Peyton is a very special little girl with a very big heart. In 2019 she saved her family from a house fire by notifying her Mother, and making sure everyone got out of the home. Sadly, the family lost their home and everything inside. Shortly after settling in to a new home after the fire and trying to get things back to normal, COVID came as somewhat of a blessing in disguise. Peyton wasn’t feeling well and the school nurse urged her Mom to have her tested for COVID-19. The Doctor at DW McMillan Hospital in Brewton, Alabama saw some irregularities in her bloodwork and sent her straight to Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida. Test results returned on September 11, 2020 and Peyton had been diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Sacred Heart Hospital has a great Oncologist Team and Peyton is receiving the best care, without being hundreds of miles away from her family. Peyton received her first chemo treatment two days after her diagnosis, two spinal taps, and will continue weekly blood tests and chemo treatments for approximately two and a half years. Peyton’s life will not be the same. She will be sick and weak, and won’t be the same bubbly little girl. Peyton’s Mom, a single Mother of three, was forced to take a leave of absence from work to care for her. Although this is a lot for an 11 year old girl to go through, Peyton is a fighter and is staying strong through it all.
Please mark your calendars and join us Saturday, February 6,2021, at beautiful Lake Jackson in Florala, Al, where we’ll be “freezin” for Peyton and our other 3 recipients.
**feel free to share Peyton’s story and pray for her journey. ❤