Local businessman using cancer fight to help other families create fun memories
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IDAHO FALLS — A local businessman is using his cancer battle to help deserving families in the community create lifelong memories.
Steve “Dutch” Dutcher was diagnosed Feb. 2 with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer that starts in white blood cells. He started chemotherapy immediately and has completed three of six sessions with the final round scheduled in June.
Dutcher and his wife, McKenna, have four boys, ages 2, 4, 7 and 9, and he is the controller at Action Motor Sports in Idaho Falls.
“The events over the past year leading up to me getting cancer are so interesting to us,” Dutcher tells EastIdahoNews.com. “There was COVID so everyone was home and our family spent so much time together boating, riding bikes, floating the river, camping – doing all these family activities and creating amazing memories. Then I got sick.”
Dutcher said being told he has cancer at age 36 changed his perspective about life “in an instant.” But instead of dwelling on scary statistics or negative aspects of his diagnosis, he and McKenna decided to focus on the positive.
“All of a sudden everything changes and you don’t give a crap about some stuff,” Dutcher explains. “Instead the stuff that gives me so much hope in uncertain times are those family memories from the summer of 2020 where we just spent all this time together.”
The Dutchers are documenting their cancer journey on Instagram and have received an outpouring of support from people in the community. ‘Dutch Strong’ T-shirts are being sold to help with medical bills but Dutcher says his family has been “incredibly blessed” so he and Action Motor Sports want to give back through the ‘Be Strong’ project.
“One of my big takeaways is how important it is to create family memories so we’re giving away an awesome Memorial Day Island Park weekend getaway for a family that doesn’t quite have the means,” Dutcher says.
One family will win a two-night stay in a cabin at Sawtelle Mountain Resort, a RZR 4 rental from High Mountain Adventures, dinner at Pond’s Lodge, lunch at Cafe Sabor, dinner at Connie’s, a $50 gift card donated from Sam’s Club and a $50 fuel card from Gas ‘n Grub.
Two runner-up winners will receive a one-night stay in an Idaho Falls hotel, dinner at Stockman’s Restaurant, a family pass to the Idaho Falls Zoo, movie and popcorn at Paramount Theatre in Idaho Falls and a $50 gift card donated from Sam’s Club.
Nominations must be received by April 30 and the following qualifications must be met:
- Another family must be nominated (you can’t nominate yourself)
- The giveaway is for a local family who doesn’t have the means or resources to normally get away like this
- The family must demonstrate they have given hope and support to others but now need it themselves
Information about the contest and how to submit entries can be found here. Winners will be announced May 10.
Dutcher hopes the giveaway will inspire everyone to create new memories in their own special way – whether it’s going out to dinner as a family every week, playing games on Sunday night or celebrating special days.
“Find a tradition your family can create and always do it. Do it like your life depends on it and those family traditions and memories will be amazing,” he says. “You’ll never want to go without and those are the things that will give you strength through your difficult times.”
Dutcher is optimistic he will be cancer-free by the summer and is already planning to make more memories with his wife and kids. He says the love he’s received over the past two months from family, friends and others has “totally restored my faith in humanity” and he’s on a deeper mission to support others.
“Being the recipient of so many good actions has inspired me so much that I hope I never, ever pass up an opportunity to help somebody else,” he says. “Being on the receiving side has been absolutely life-changing for me. We’re going to pay it forward the rest of our life because we have seen what it’s like to be helped.”