Lighting Strikes Twice a Young Family

Having one member of the family diagnosed with cancer is bad enough. What about two and they happen to be your mother and father. Nothing could be worse.

This is just what’s happening in a certain place in Michigan. The couple, Ben and Shelby Offrink, have two daughters. Maeve is three years old and her younger sister Hazel who just turned one last December.

“It feels really unfair to have all of this happen,” said Jay Tomczak, Shelby’s older brother.

The difficulty in dealing with this type event is too much but despite of it, the Offrinks are determined to fight on.

It was discovered that Shelby has Stage IV glioblastoma shortly after giving birth to Hazel.

“This has been the most challenging year of their lives,” Jay said.

“It’s just shocking, you know? At first it just seemed like a terrible dream,” said Luke Tomczak, Jay and Shelby’s younger brother.

They are some of those family and friends who have extended a helping hand on taking care of the daughters while Shelby is undergoing the necessary treatment to extend her life.

Meanwhile, Ben learned that his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has returned for the third time.

“I feel a lot of their pain,” said Jay, while sighing heavily. “As a brother, it has been a very difficult thing to absorb. I think one of the things that has made it possible for them to get through is the love and support from the family and all the friends.”

Ben and Shelby’s parents are helping the couple and they are always at Shelby’s bed and taking turn in taking care of the kids.

Longtime friends of Shelby have also been helping to offer both emotional and financial help by sponsoring several fund raising activities.

“There is support all around her so we feed off of that,” said Luke.

“She has an intelligent, witty sense of humor and I’m really happy she has been able to maintain that throughout all of this,” said Jay. “Shelby has always been the strongest person that I’ve known.”


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