Hopkins beanie business helps fund owner’s fight against stage 4 cancer | Hopkins

Dave Rhode Jr. was diagnosed last June

Hopkins resident Dave Rhode Jr.’s life changed on June 4 last year when he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 37.

The diagnosis meant he retired from his painting company Living Breezy Painters and focused on cancer treatment.

In October, his girlfriend Lindsey Chipka had the idea of ​​creating hats with the Living Breezy logo on them. She said it was so that his family and friends could gather around him to support him.

That’s when Living Breezy Beanies was born, and the couple have been selling hats and earmuffs ever since to help fund Rhodes’ fight against cancer.

Cancer diagnosis

Before Rhodes was diagnosed, he said he had experienced weight loss which he thought was related to work stress.

“They didn’t really see what’s wrong with me, about the blood work and everything to the doctors, but I didn’t have any scans at the time,” he said. “But everything else looked perfectly healthy.”

In his painting company he started to take it easy and felt normal again.

On June 4th, he went to the emergency room with two stomach blocks. He had to undergo emergency surgery to remove the blockages that revealed he was full of tumors. After a biopsy of the tumors, Rhode was officially diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s colon cancer, so it started somewhere in my lower abdomen, but it’s really tiny cancer cells. There are a lot of them. He explained that it spread like confetti. “It just shot all over my stomach, stomach, abdominal wall, connective tissue, stomach fluid, and into my liver,” said Rhode.

Since surgery is not an option in his case and there is no known cure, the doctors put him on strong chemotherapy. He’s on round 10 of 12 and will move on to another type of chemotherapy later.

“The goal of my cancer is simply to keep it in check, stop it from progressing, and keep it in a place where I can live with it for as long as possible,” he said.

Start making hats

“I did handicrafts to stay healthy during COVID. Knitting, crocheting and just a lot of handicrafts, ”said Chipka.

While a Facebook fundraiser initially helped Rhode, she said they wanted to do something else to get more support.

Dave Rhode Jr. and Lindsey Chipka, the faces behind Living Breezy Beanies.

The couple then launched a website to sell the hats, under the name Living Breezy, to Rhodes’ painting company. Rhode had always used the name in honor of his dog, Breezy.

“We were hoping to get 50 hats,” said Chipka of the start of the idea.

Since then, they have ordered 182 hats in 12 different states and use Facebook to share their website with family, friends, community members, and others in cancer support groups.

The hats come in seven different styles with a variety of color options that range from $ 25 to $ 35. Ear warmers are also sold on the livingbreezy.com website.

To fulfill orders, Chipka makes the hats and Rhode takes care of shipping. She uses a knitting machine to make the hats and has made up to five hats a day.

She said she was trying to make up for the orders that they have now. The number of hats she can make has changed since she returned to Dairy Queen as a business intelligence report developer.

“Unless there are 30 orders in a day, we’ve had a really good run in a few days, but as soon as I catch up I’m open to making hats for as long as people want them,” said Chipka.

However, while Rhode said the worst he could hear was finding out that he had stage 4 cancer, he had a lot of support.

“As it is the worst case scenario, it still holds up very well, is still working through and I have high hopes for it,” he said.

Chipka said that making the hats gave her a meaning outside of everyday things.

“It gave me something to do, reach out to me, and get people to think about Dave, so he knew how big his network was, that people really care about him,” she said.


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