Judy’s Story

Site created on December 28, 2018

"Ignore the rain, look for the rainbow."

We are saddened to share the news that Judy Acker-Smith was diagnosed with brain cancer on December 10, 2018 at the age of 62.  We are using this website as a way to keep family and friends updated throughout her journey.  Please feel free to share this site with others that may not have seen the link on Facebook. 

This aggressive disease has spread beyond one, localized tumor and has been categorized as multi-focal glioblastoma.  Outlined below are the chain of events and everything that we know thus far:

-In late November 2018, Judy began to notice slight struggles with her speech; she knew what she wanted to say but could not find certain words.  She first attributed it to being tired as (in typical Judy fashion) she had been keeping herself very busy helping  others in the community and traveling to visit her daughters and grand kids.

-On December 3rd, Judy woke up with a tingling in her arm and was slightly confused so Rick rushed her to the emergency room where multiple tests identified a mass in the frontal lobe of her brain.  She was admitted to the ER and had a biopsy performed on December 7th.

-On December 10th, her doctors confirmed that Judy had glioblastoma, a cancerous and very aggressive brain tumor.  In addition to the main mass, two smaller nodules were also identified which indicated the tumor was spreading and thus was multi-focal.

-It was determined, and confirmed through multiple second opinions, that the tumor cannot be removed by way of surgery due to the location in the brain and the large area covered.  As such, the next steps include radiation and chemotherapy to slow the tumor growth as there is currently no cure.  Six weeks of radiation is set to start on January 3rd with chemotherapy given in a pill form throughout the process.

-The doctors will continue to monitor the tumor growth with an MRI every 8 weeks to determine the next best steps to ensure quality of life.

Our family is devastated that something so cruel could happen to such a wonderful, positive and uplifting person.  It is difficult for Judy to talk on the phone or answer text messages - but any voicemails, text messages, letters, posts on this site or thoughts/prayers/positive vibes are greatly 
appreciated during this tough time.  

If you would like to send a card or something small to brighten Judy's day, her contact information is: 
7202 Angling Road
Portage, MI 49024

-Team Judy

P.S. - Click on the purple "gallery" button above for some great photos taken by Holly Henderson, an amazing photographer and family friend who also photographed Kristalyn, Ashley & Shannon's weddings.  Holly was gracious enough to drop everything and do a quick photo shoot with our family two days before Christmas.  Holly is incredible and we are forever grateful.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Shannon Myers

Thank you to everyone that came to celebrate Judy last Saturday at Stetson Chapel. It was a memorable morning filled with lots of love, smiles, hugs, tears and sunshine. We are grateful for everyone that came, and especially grateful for those that shared their remarkable Judy stories. Judy was certainly smiling down on all of us the whole time! Pictures from throughout the weekend can be found by clicking the "Gallery" tab above.

A link to the celebration can be found here (please share with anyone else that may be interested to watch!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAikoiau1VQ 

Outline/timing of the ceremony:
Intro - Piano solo by Jennifer Drake "Fight Song"
3:50 - Linda Hughes (welcome)
8:10 - Gigi Acker (sister's story)
18:50 - Keith Dauper & the Grandkids ("Raindrops on Roses" dance)
27:10 - Annette Campbell (reflections from high school years)
35:35 - Timon Corwin (reflections from the tennis community)
55:15 - Mary Frailing (importance of music)
57:00 - Piano solo by Jennifer Drake "Somewhere over the rainbow"
1:01:35 - Barb Tarpley (reflections about community impact)
1:06:30 - Kristalyn Musselman, Ashley Smith & Shannon Myers (daughter's tribute)
1:32:30 - Kathy Howland & Pete Strazdas (inspirational garden information)
1:39:25 - Kohlee Musselman (reading of Papa Rick's memories)
1:42:45 - Kohlee & Maycie Musselman and Adelyn Dauper (thank you & closing)
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