Posted by: mollyrossiter | May 14, 2009

Faith carries cancer patient through to the end

Right before Easter Gazette photographer/visual journalist Liz Martin and I spent a Saturday morning at the North Liberty home of John and Julie Flesner.

We were working on a story on people who had turned away from their faith only to eventually turn back, and how their faith carried them through a particularly difficult time. What we didn’t count on was being referred to the Flesners by their pastor, the Rev. Paul Hansen, of Grace Community Church in North Liberty.

The Flesners had been married for 22 years but neither was real interested in church until they began having problems in their marriage about three years ago. They found a church they loved and gave themselves over to their faith.

Then Julie was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.

“There was no whining, no complaining, just the thought of, ‘Now I know why we’re here,'” John told me in April.

Both John and Julie credited their faith with helping them get through the diagnosis, the treatments and the reality that Julie’s prognosis was terminal.

When Liz and I were leaving the Flesner’s home last month, we remarked about how good Julie looked. She was fighting a good fight.

Julie Flesner lost that fight yesterday morning. In continued updates through Julie’s hospice page, John continued to remind readers that their faith was carrying them through. Two days before Julie died, John posted this: “It feels like He is reaching for her hand and has His Angels ready for His command to bring her home.”



  1. I am a former employee of Julie’s and am saddened by her passing. Can you tell me the address to her hospice page?

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