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June 5, 2013

Athens grad fights to raise cancer awareness

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

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Athens grad fights to raise cancer awareness
Madison Heights residents Eric and Bonnie Beutler aim to raise awareness of cervical cancer, which Bonnie is currently battling.

Bonnie Beutler, 36, is a fighter, as an attorney and facing her third round of cancer.

“She did not turn away any opportunity to get better,” said Bernadette White, her mother.

White and Beutler’s husband, Eric, have taken care of Beutler around the clock. Beutler was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2010. White said that her annual exam a year earlier had revealed she had HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, but she was not notified or sent for further tests at that time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people with HPV never develop symptoms or health problems. Though nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, 90 percent of HPV infections go away by themselves within two years.

Beutler underwent a radical hysterectomy at age 34. In September of 2012, she was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor around a ureter tube, which leads from the kidney to the bladder. She went through six weeks of chemotherapy and daily radiation in an effort to shrink the tumor.

In April, Beutler learned that cancer was discovered in her bladder and lymph nodes, stage 4, and the tumor that had shrunk earlier had grown. 

“Bonnie is one of those bright, shining-light people,” said Amanda Comeaux, who has been friends with Beutler since middle school.

Despite the pain, Comeaux said, Beutler “has a great sense of humor and a positive outlook.”

Comeaux said they are telling Beutler’s story so all women will be tested for HPV annually and insist on the results. 

Comeaux and Beutler’s friend Melissa Kanasty have organized Bowling for Bonnie 6-10 p.m. June 8 at Thunderbird Lanes, 400 W. Maple, to help with special transport costs for Beutler and help with the insurance premiums her employer said they must now pay.

The event features auction items donated by Olympia Entertainment, the Detroit Red Wings, Neiman Marcus, Darakjian Jewelers and local artisans. The cost to attend is $30 for adults, $20 for children and $5 for those who only wish to attend the auction. The full price includes pizza and soft drinks. A cash bar will be available.

Tickets are available at the door. To purchase advance tickets, visit www.bowling4bonnie.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.