In the Bainbridge family, when mom hurts, everyone hurts.
Nobody in the family hurt more than on June 23, 2017.
It was then that Tara Bainbridge's doctor discovered an ovarian mass while Bainbridge was giving birth to her youngest daughter Greta through a cesarean section.
What was supposed to be a special day turned into a week-long wait of fear for the Bainbridge family, as doctors cut a wedge of the mass to test it. Six long days went by before Bainbridge was informed she had been diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"I remember sitting there that night when he told me over the phone, 'You have stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,' and my mind went to very dark places," Bainbridge said. "I had thoughts of thinking about my husband raising my daughters alone, but all the great people in my life kept telling me to stay strong, stay positive."
A 36-year-old farm wife, surgical technician and mother of three daughters under the age of 6, Bainbridge is the "rock" of the family, tasked with a great amount of responsibility.
"My husband and daughters cried more about it than I did," she said. "I had to literally look each of them in the face and tell them to be strong."
Bainbridge will be one of three honored as a co-chairperson Friday during the Heart and Sole Cancer Walk at the Mitchell Middle School. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.
When Bainbridge isn't busy juggling her career as surgical tech and raising three daughters, she is helping her husband Neal take care of the family farm near Ethan, where she helps plant, bale hay and harvest.
"My family is everything to me, and the farm will always get taken care of between our family," she said. "We're getting through this together, and thank God for my brother-in-law and father-in-law taking care of the farm during my chemotherapy."
With non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, tumors develop from lymphocytes - a type of white blood cell. It originates in the lymph nodes, which attacks the disease-fighting network throughout your body.
Bainbridge has worked for 11 years as a surgical technician at Avera St. Benedict Hospital in her hometown of Parkston, a town she credits for helping her fight the cancer battle.
"The overwhelming support from my friends and family in Parkston is a beautiful thing that helped me fight, and this town will always have a special place in my heart," she said.
With the help of her friends and hometown, the Parkston community rallied together and hosted a benefit in October to support her battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She said the benefit was a special moment and helped lift her morale during the early stages of her cancer battle.
Bainbridge also credits joining the Northridge Baptist Church in Mitchell in the middle of her cancer treatment as a key group in her life.
"People were reaching out to me that I had never even met at Northridge Baptist Church. I felt like I was part of the family when I walked in the door for the first time," Bainbridge said.
Throughout this past year, Bainbridge has endured cancer treatments in Sioux Falls, where she went through three rounds of chemotherapy.
"After my third round of chemo, I was in remission in the middle of December," she said. "Then I did a stem-cell bone marrow transplant, which went very well."
On Jan. 25, a breakthrough procedure helped Bainbridge walk out of the hospital following a stem-cell bone marrow transplant. As she was heading home to her Ethan farm in remission, Bainbridge said she couldn't wait to continue her life journey with husband Neal and her daughters.
"With all of the amazing people in my life, I know we're all in this together, and I'll always be the mother of three daughters and wife to my husband Neal, living on our Ethan farm," she said.