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Elsie Brooks Fund provides financial support to local people during cancer treatment
Jean and Glenn Book

By SALINA POST

The rodeo, which Jean Book has been participating in since she was a child, is now helping her in a roundabout way.

When Book was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, she received help from the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund of Dickinson County. Established in 1991, the fund provides financial assistance to any Dickinson County resident undergoing cancer treatment.

The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo has partnered with the fund since 2008 through its “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign, encouraging fans to wear pink for a night of rodeo.

Book, a teacher, retired after 35 years in the profession, most of her career spent at Abilene and Chapman schools. Two years after her retirement in 2017, she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

After six months of treatment, including 12 sessions of chemotherapy, Book was cancer-free for two years. Then, in 2022, doctors discovered spots on her lungs and she has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since.

She was told that the cancer is slow growing and she will receive chemotherapy treatments for the rest of her life.

“This wasn’t on my radar for retirement, but now that it’s here, we’re dealing with it, living our lives and enjoying it,” Book said.

The Elsie Brooks Cancer Fund has provided financial support to Book to make regular doctor visits in Manhattan. Book grew up in Dickinson County and attended rodeo as a child. Book’s mother was a 4-H leader, and she and her siblings were involved in the county fair and rodeo.

When she married Glenn, they continued the tradition. They used to go to all four nights of the rodeo, but now it’s just a few shows.

“We wouldn’t miss it,” Book said.

Book and Glenn have a daughter, Sarah Stalder, and a son, Michael Ade, six granddaughters and were blessed with a little great-granddaughter a few months ago.

Knowing she has cancer is terrifying, but Book doesn’t let it discourage her.

“They know who wins the battle in the end,” Book said. “Whatever God has planned, it’s OK.”

She is grateful to the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund.

“It’s truly a gift to the community to have an organization that is able to reach out and touch people. They reached out to me and that meant a lot to me. I’m grateful to the fund and its contribution to the county,” Book said.

The Abilene Rodeo will host its annual “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night on Thursday, August 1. In partnership with the Elsie Brooks Fund, the rodeo raises money through voluntary donations. Over the past sixteen years, the rodeo has raised over $45,000 for the fund.

The Elsie Brooks Fund has assisted its clients more than 1,700 times. Rodeo tickets are available online at WildBillHickokRodeo.com, West’s Country Mart, other area retailers and at the box office.

Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $15 at the door. Child tickets for ages 4-10 are $8. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website or Facebook page.