Paramedic battles to defeat lymphoma

A fundraiser is being planned for a local paramedic who is facing cancerfor the second time. Twenty-one-year-old LeFlore County Emergency Medical Service paramedic Anthony Stankewitz is, unfortunately, no stranger to cancer. According to EMS Director David Grovdahl, it was little more than a year ago when Stankewitz became light headed while responding to an emergency. Doctors found that Stankewitz had a large mass in his chest cavity. The mass was so big that it wasputting pressure on Stankewitz’s heart. Stankewitz was eventually diagnosed with a type of lymphoma. Due to the size of the tumor, doctors were unable to treat it with surgery and elected instead to treatStankewitz with radiation and chemo-therapy. Fortunately, the treatmentstook effect and soon the tumor was undetectable. However, earlier thisyear, doctors found that Stankewitz’s cancer hadreturned, as big as it hadever been. Stankewitz is now undergoing treatment that consistsof an even more powerful and more expensiveround of chemo-therapy. The treatment is taking its toll on both the cancer and Stankewitz who has been unable to work since May and will likely not be able to return to work until July. Grovdahl says thatStankewitz is doing OK and stays active when he can, even coming to workwhen able. To assist Stankewitz, a charity poker game is beingheld to benefit the young paramedic. The game starts at 6 p.m. on June 8 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie in Spiro, located at 19349 Eagle Lane. Buy in is $40, with unlimited buy ins during the first hour. After the first hour, there is an $10 tack-on to buy back in. The prize for first place at the poker game will be a gun and second place will be a $100 gift card. Stankewitz is a graduate of Spiro High School andKiamichi Technology Center.