ELKHART — Kimberly Bunnell Griman, 47, was always a considered a strong, healthy woman. Her family had a history of health issues, but she had never shown symptoms of any serious disease and she always remained active.
So it took her by surprise when she started feeling like she was constantly losing her breath. Just walking to the barn behind her house, where she had two horses, would make her feel exhausted. Then one night, she was taken to the hospital because she was having so much trouble breathing. It took doctors a few minutes to realize that Bunnell Griman had about a liter of fluid in her lung area.
“It went from all quiet to a sudden uproar in 15 minutes,” said Bunnell Griman’s daughter, Tracey Bunnell.
About three days later she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and was expected to live no more than six to eight months.
That was in October of 2011.
A little more than a year later, after constant treatment, Kimberly continues to fight her battle. She said her 13-year-old son is her biggest motivator, her reason to try to keep some of the normal lifestyle she had before the diagnosis.
“He’s my reason to continue,” she said. “All my other children have been raised; they are old enough.”
She groomed dogs for 20 years and even had her own business, Creative Canine, for a while. She has a passion for horses, and she rode often. On her time off she’d go to her son’s sporting events and care for her four grandchildren.
As she sat on her couch Tuesday morning, Bunnell Griman looked calm though slightly weak. She said her last session of radiation has left her feeling nauseous and she lives with constant pain from her cancer.
“I don’t do nearly as much as I used to,” she said. “My muscles are gone, I don’t have the energy I used to.”
Without insurance at the time she was diagnosed, Bunnell Griman had to make arrangements, paying for some of her treatment out of her pocket. Eventually she got on Medicaid, but it doesn’t cover all the costs. She was also recently advised to receive further treatment at the Cancer Center at the University of Chicago, but it involves more costly treatment. Her family decided it was time to turn to the community for assistance and will host a fundraiser from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Moose Lodge, 1500 C.R, 5, Elkhart.
Toni Bunnell, Bunnell Griman’s daughter, said several businesses have contributed to the cause, supplying food and services for the event. The bands and a tribute artist offered to play for free. Members of Boy Scout Troop 747 in Elkhart are also going to volunteer during the event.
If you go
What: The family of Kimberly Bunnell Griman is hosting a fundraiser. All proceeds will go to Bunnell Griman’s cancer treatment.
When: Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.
Where: Moose Lodge, 1500 C.R. 5, Elkhart
Who: The public is invited.
Cost: $15 for one person, $25 per couple and $7 for children ages 5 to 10.