IU Health Simon Cancer Center

Her family is her life

Patient Stories

April 19, 2019

A quilted blanket keeps her warm as Pamela Gerow sits through one of her regular infusions. Right by her side is her youngest son Mitchell. He wears a t-shirt with the message “Mom: Mind over Matter.

The t-shirt is the inspiration of Dallas Cowboy’s quarterback Dak Prescott who started the “Faith Fight Finish Foundation,” in honor of his mother Peggy who died of cancer. Prescott has made it his mission to continue spreading his mom’s message “do the best with the cards you’re dealt and make adversity your inspiration.”

Like Prescott, Mitchell Gerow admires his mother’s strength and unwavering support of her family.

The blanket on her lap is a small indication of her treasures – each patch represents the college where her children earned their degrees – two from Ball State, one from IU, and one from Albion College in Michigan. In addition to Mitchell, Gerow is the mother to Valerie Hatcher, Ashleigh Hubley, and Thomas Gerow. It was friends of Thomas Gerow, a teacher, who sewed the blanket for Pamela. She also has one granddaughter.

“My kids are my life,” said Gerow, who formerly worked in sales for hotel amenities. Her other love is her rescue dog – a white German Shepherd mix named “Simon.”

It was Mitchell she called when she began having excruciating pain on her right side. She thought it was appendicitis but after a day in ER she was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was given about three to six months to live. They were unsettled by the prognosis and switched to IU Health where she is in the care of oncologist Dr. Safi Shahda.

“IU has been amazing, absolutely amazing,” said Gerow. “It doesn’t matter if I’ve been assigned to a particular nurse – every nurse is helpful and friendly. From the people at the front desk to the people who check you out, everyone is so kind.”

Just six weeks after her September diagnosis Gerow’s family surprised her with a special 59th birthday party.

“I always said I wanted to have a blow out party for my 60th and it came a year early,” said Gerow. “They ordered a ‘rent the runway dress,’ reserved a special venue, hired a guitar player, ordered up some amazing food, and each child shared a special sentiment. There were tears and there was laughter. It was a night to remember because I was with my family.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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