There is kindness on other side of door


Every time I talk to my friend Tom, he mentions how kind the people are at the Roger Maris Cancer Center. Valet parking, a lovely receptionist, smiling staff members ... Tom makes it sound a little like the Ritz Carlton, which always makes me laugh.

Tom doesn't have cancer, but he's in his 80s and his blood is giving him a little trouble, so he visits the Fargo center on a regular basis.

It turns out Tom isn't the only one who has noticed the above and beyond treatment in this facility. Clifton Melby of Oklee, Minn., shared his thoughts on the Roger Maris Cancer Center too.

"My friend and I had been sitting side by side in my pickup driving for the last two hours, when we finally pulled into the parking lot of the Roger Maris Cancer Center. Lots of time to talk, but not much to say. My friend has three tumors on his brain and the prognosis is dim.

I parked the truck, feeling the anxiety flow between my friend and me. Time to go into the cancer center. Door #5. My friend looks defeated.

Door #5 was opened for us and we got two nice smiley 'Good morning!" greetings. Then a woman with a genuinely kind expression directed us down the hall. Once in front of the girl admitting us, some of the tension was down. She did more than her job — we even had a little friendly banter, as if she knew how hard this was and was trying to lighten the mood.

A lady came looking for us in the waiting area. Off we go. She was a comforting sort of person and talked with us on the elevator ride. Our dreadful thoughts were slowly evaporating.

For the next three hours, my friend sat for his first chemo treatment.

My friend was to have many infusions. Though his cancer was of a very bad nature, his tumors began to respond to the treatment, shrinking with each session, until finally they could not find one trace of cancer in his body. Truly a miracle.

My friend stayed active and recovered most of his old life back. At some point, the symptoms returned. The cancer was back and no longer treatable. My friend was dead in less than seven days.

I just want to say that we were in good hands from the time Door #5 opened for us. Everyone who touched us was so good, and it was the real thing. He got so much help from so many caring and wonderful people. His hope had been restored. He was given back his life, if only for a short time.

Since then, I have had to walk through Door #5 for my own issues. Having been there a few times before with my friend, it was not so ominous. Anxiety? Oh yeah, but I remembered the kindness that was inside.

I don't want anybody to have to walk through Door #5, but I want everyone to know, there are truly a lot of very good people and plenty of rays of sunshine on the other side of that door.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University's men's head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at " target="_blank">