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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Evans continues to beat the odds

Monday, March 23, 2009

It was 26 years ago in February when Sharon Evans received the news. After thinking she only had the flu, Evans learned it was much worse. There was nothing to prepare her for the diagnoses of multiple myeloma. She was given two years to live.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell. It is an incurable, but treatable disease. Research shows it is the second most prevalent blood cancer after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Suddenly finding herself in a fight for her life, Sharon relied upon her husband Bob for strength. Bob gladly took on the role of his wife's advocate.

"(He) took care of everything," Sharon said.

Bob kept himself informed. He received copies of all the doctor's charts and paperwork throughout his wife's illness.

Sharon -- a rarely ill person to that time -- suffered kidney failure, which led the doctors to find the cancer. She underwent brutal cancer treatments along with dialysis. She took machine dialysis through a shunt every other month for six months to one year.

While taking dialysis, Sharon continued to teach her sixth graders at Central Elementary. She left early two days each week for her treatments.

"South Putnam was wonderful," she recalled. "They let me leave early and have privacy when I was put on peritoneal dialysis."

One day Bob received a phone call from someone suggesting peritoneal dialysis. With this form of dialysis, Sharon was able to still get her treatments without having to make the trip to Indianapolis for them.

Since she was given a grim prognosis, Sharon was an unlikely candidate for a kidney transplant.

However, in August of 1992, Sharon's name was put into a computer for a transplant. It was in October of the same year when Sharon received her new kidney -- she has named it "Amy Elizabeth."

The average transplant recipient survives nine to 10 years with the longest being 28 years. Odds mean little to the Sharon, though. Before Sharon Evans, the longest survivor of multiple myeloma was 17 years.

Instead of a heartbreaking tale, Bob and Sharon Evans have one filled with blessings and miracles. The journey reestablished focus for Sharon and her husband.

"What seemed important before was no longer important," she said.

While doctors will never say Sharon is cured, her cancer has been in remission since June of 1986.

She and Bob have three sons, Brad, Stan and Scott. Sharon has been teaching in the South Putnam school district since 1972 -- the same year she married Bob.

Putnam County natives Bob and Sharon have served the community for many years.

Sharon was instrumental in the building of the Putnam County Public Library. She served on its board for a total of 18 years.

Bob is one of the founders of the Putnam County Community Foundation. From 1990 to 1993, he served as its president. He is also the Evans at Collins-Evans Real Estate agency.

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-- Posted by skittlebug on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 8:19 AM

You are a true blessing. Congratulations.

-- Posted by mad-mom on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 8:41 AM

She is the best and will always be one of the best. She was one of my teachers and I learned so much from her. She is very loved by just about all of her former students if not all of them. Love you Mrs. E!

-- Posted by chrisjordan on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 12:31 PM

This story is an inspiration to all myeloma patients (esp. myself). Thanks for brightening our day.

San Clemente, California

-- Posted by johnwmson on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 4:11 PM

Mrs. Evans was my 5th grade teacher and I've always adored her!

Sharon, you stand out in my mind as one of the best teachers I had in elementary/high school years. Bless you!


April (Arnold) Gorsline

Kennewick, Washington

-- Posted by aprilcgorsline on Mon, Mar 23, 2009, at 8:01 PM

Count me among the former students who continue to adore Mrs. Evans. Fifth grade was one of the best years of my academic life, thanks to Mrs. Evans' dedication and guidance. What's amazing is that I was still at Belle Union when she became ill, and I had no clue about what she was going through until several years later.

A select few people in our lives make truly lasting impressions that carry us forward and help to make us who we are. Mrs. Evans is undeniably a very important touchstone in all of her students' lives. We will always remember her example ...

"I will behave as I know I should and as I have been instructed."

-- Posted by Balding Eagle on Tue, Mar 24, 2009, at 7:16 PM

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