A benefit Saturday will help a Sioux Falls man who's struggling physically and financially. Doctors diagnosed Dan Dammer with cancer of the esophagus nearly one year ago. Dammer's body may be weakened by the disease, but his faith remains strong.
It's still Christmas in the Dammer household. The tree and decorations are still up because the Dammers aren't sure if this will be their last Christmas together.
"We want to enjoy every moment while we could. We should celebrate Christ every day," Dan Dammer said.
Cancer has taken away most of Dan's esophagus and part of his stomach, leaving him unable to eat solid food. He's tethered to feeding tubes for his nutritional lifeline. Dan began three months of chemo treatments this week. But doctors tell him the cancer is terminal.
"I know the cancer will take me eventually, and I know at some point, I will be called home, but I don't know when that time is going to come," Dan said.
Dan is sharing the wisdom he's gained through his battle with cancer on videos he's recording. A kind of electronic scrapbook that allows Dan to stay connected with his four children, including six-year-old adopted twins, long after he's gone.
"And they don't have to wonder, 'What would dad think? What would dad say if he were here?' Dad can be there with them," Dan said.
The cancer won't allow Dan to return to his job as a restaurant manager. The monthly disability checks he gets through Social Security can't keep up with the mounting medical bills.
"I believe when the bills come in, financial blessings will come in also. And that faith is what carries us through, every day," Angie Dammer said.
That faith, highlighted by festive holiday surroundings, displays a firm belief in a belated Christmas miracle.
"Every breath I take, I hold out for that miracle," Dan said.
"And if not in healing through Dan's earthly life, through peace and comfort when the day comes when he's called home. That would be a Christmas miracle," Angie said.
The benefit for Dammer will be held Saturday at the 18th Amendment in Sioux Falls from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The benefit includes silent auctions and a raffle drawing. You're asked to make a $10 donation at the door.
An anonymous donor has pledged to match donations up to $50,000.