On May 31, 2007, 55 year old Jamestown resident, Tom Haroldson lost his courageous, five year battle with cancer. Tom was an extremely outgoing and friendly person who had a strong support network of family and friends. Many of Tom’s friends offered various types of help during his years of struggle, including transportation to treatments, preparing meals, helping with household and outdoor maintenance, visits, prayers and listening ears.
During those five years, Tom and his wife, Laurel, met many cancer patients and caregivers facing the same kinds of problems they were facing. Many of these people did not have the same kind of support system that the Haroldsons had. Laurel recalls meeting a woman in Jamestown whose husband had just been diagnosed with cancer. Her husband was facing daily trips to Fargo, ND for radiation treatments. The woman was not able to take time off from her new job to drive him to treatments, not only because this would put a great financial strain on the family, but also because she was the one carrying the family health insurance through her employment. To make matters worse, this couple has just moved to town and did not yet know anyone they could turn to for help.
Laurel decided she wanted to do something on a local level to help the many families dealing with cancer. She knew there were many people who needed various types of help. She also knew there were many kind, caring and generous individuals in our community who would be more than willing to help. It became her goal to set up a network to match up those who need help with those willing to help. With the aid of others who shared her interest, Laurel founded Help for Hope and Healing.