Bobby Baird, a lifelong resident of Crookston, is in good spirits considering everything he has gone through in the past few months. After being diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in June, Bobby has been busy going back and forth to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is about to have his last treatment on Nov. 11 and then hopes, from that point, he’ll only have to return for checkups.
Baird grew up with two sisters and a brother on their farm three miles east of Crookston. He recalls waking up and having to milk cows at 4 a.m. "You had to hurry up and take a shower after you were done so you didn't stink during school," jokes Bobby. He also remembers the Halloween season as his mom died of cancer on Halloween in 1969. Bobby says, "Back then they used cobalt as a treatment instead of chemo."
This past June, Bobby was diagnosed after not feeling well for a few months prior. He said he had shortness of breath, stomach-aches and trouble with his eyes. When he went to RiverView Health to get checked out, Dr. Afonya took a sample of the lump that had formed along his collarbone. They found out it was cancerous but were able to remove it because,it wasn't attached. Next, within three days, he was sent to Mayo Clinic. Bobby has been going to Rochester every three weeks for chemotherapy treatment. While there he found out that his nurses were from the area, from Fertile, Hallock and Thief River Falls.
"It's such a small world,” he says. “There were even a few Crookston families there at the same time as myself that I got to visit with."
Mayo Clinic houses upwards of 45,000 employees and treats approximately 200 patients per day. In the hematology department alone, there are 100 employees who can see patients with up to 60 types of lymphoma blood cancer. Bobby says he thinks of all the patients that come there in pain, but still "can't imagine what the children and their families who have to stay there are going through." Bobby mentions that anyone who has to work in the children's wing has got to be really strong and it would be tough to have to visit there every day.
After his last treatment and PET scans are completed, he plans to rest with his family. His wife, Natalie, has been very supportive. Bobby calls her "awesome" and "so outgoing.” He adds that, "She even puts up with me when I'm grumpy." Baird's kids and stepkids have also been a great support system for the family.
Page 2 of 2 - "The whole community, really, has been great. I have so many good friends and appreciate everything they've done for me."
Bobby's friends even brought over 12 cords of wood and cut it up for him. He thanked them with a small party in their garage. "I'm not looking for a benefit or anything like that,” Baird says. “There are so many others who are worse off than me and who really need the money. I've been fortunate with my employer (Titan Machinery) and my insurance.”
Baird is still very active in the community despite his cancer battle. He is the president of the Driftbusters Snowmobile Club, which will have their snowmobile run event at Crookston Sports Center and dinner at the Eagle's coming up this winter, as part of Ice Buster Daze in February. Bobby is also the vice president of Habitat for Humanity in Crookston.
"We've been working on a house for Wilson Avenue and hope to pour concrete in the next week,” he says."
He does learn to take it easy when his energy gets low. "My body now tells me quickly when I need to slow down. If I need to take a day off, I'll just sit in my man cave and watch TV or tinker with a snowmobile," says Baird.