Rungs form Dream Team to battle stage IV cancer

Wristbands being circulated to help family with quick-moving disease


FORT MADISON – Mikey Rung is in the battle of his life…for his life.
The 41-year-old Fort Madison man who has given so much to youth and family in this community is facing Stage IV cancer that has trespassed its way into his colon and liver. He’s in the midst of heavy chemo, what he calls “Pac Man”, eating away at abnormal cells infiltrating his body.
That’s all we’re gonna say about that. Because this is battle of praying… fighting… persisting… and winning.
The Rungs have formed Mikey’s Dream Team, a support system featuring a blue-and-lime green color scheme that will be a part of Pen City Current for the next two weeks to help generate energy behind this family’s battle.
The team is giving out blue wristbands for free will donations to help offset medical and travel costs associated with this battle. Those wristbands can be obtained by contacting Jason Scheetz at 319-470-6488, Jessica Peitz at 319-470-3152, or Amanda Huebner at 319-470-9558. You can also drop donations off at Connection Bank where an account has been set up. You can also mail donations to Connection Bank c/o Lyndsey Schmitz, 636 Avenue G, Fort Madison, IA 52627.
“After the diagnosis, the support came right away. I’m a big sports guy and my dream team and I, we’re going to beat this. I got everyone I need surrounding me to beat this. My wife has just taken this and run with it as a sounding board.”
Mike’s story can also be found at the following link on Caring Bridges: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mikeysdreamteam.
Rung was diagnosed the last week in January and was undergoing chemo within two weeks, an aggressive schedule to match an aggressive disease.
“I’m a do’er. Tell me what to do and I’m going to do it. Let’s go. Let it rip,” Rung said.
It's a foundation that permeates the family’s philosophy. He said it’s too easy to go the other way, so you go hard at the battle with the support of loved ones and the community in general.
“I try not to be emotional. The support means the world. The hope and fighting and everyone having my back has been amazing. My family is my No. 1 team, but just the amount of support from the school and the community and friends and the Caring Bridge - it means the world. It helps me. I’m ready to battle and ready to beat this thing,” he said through broken words.
“When you get that diagnosis, it’s easy to go down rabbit holes and stuff. I just use that power. Sometimes I think of those things and it takes you right out, but I believe in God and Jesus and can get right back on a positive mindset. We’re going to beat this.”
A friend of his in the Navy said they have a mantra – Win the Minute,  the hour, the day. It's emblazoned on the blue and green wristbands.
“That’s been a good starting point for where my mind is,” he said.
Rung and his wife Ashley (Windsor), have four children, Chandler, Maddox, Layne, and Harper. Chandler is a junior in college while Maddox and Layne both attend Holy Trinity Catholic High School, and Harper is a 5th grader in the system.
Rung has spent almost all of his spare time as a parent coaching in one capacity or another.
He played a year of junior college baseball at Southeastern Community College and then helped his cousin Adam coach at the high school level. He was head coach of the HTC baseball program and then did stints with junior varsity and junior high soccer and basketball. He’s also been prominent in the YMCA soccer program for years.
He works at Axalta and, aside from chemo days, still goes to work every day. He said the chemo to date hasn’t shown any harsh side effects which has allowed him to keep the right frame of mind and keep daily schedules and commitments.
“When I have my chemo days I’ve been out. I just had the fourth treatment Thursday and, knock on wood, and with God’s blessing, there have been no adverse side effects. We’ve been very fortunate,” Rung said.
Mike and Ashley have been listening to an audio book from actor Matthew McConaughey and have taken up another battle creed – persist, pivot, or concede. Rung said conceding is not an option.
“It’s just another one of these random things. We find these things that pop up and there are a lot of good takeaways from that,” he said. 
“You take in everything, and you realize how thankful you are for everything. It’s the greatest feeling in the world, and it makes you feel appreciated and thankful for life.”
He said the support that’s come from Caring Bridges journal and from the Dream Team effort is hard to put into words.
“It's unbelieveable. Unbelievable. I can’t even explain it sometimes,” he said. 
“You have a bad minute here or there. And then here comes a text or something through Caring Bridge. There are these little signs everywhere. Hey, God’s got me, and he’s got my team, and it feels great.”
The family calls his team the “Rungulators”. He said it comes from a popular 90’s hip-hop song "Regulators" by Warren G and Nate Dogg. But it’s been on the family crest for years.
“We even named our little boat after it. Throughout our family, that’s a name we use.”
All of his medical care is taking place currently at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He said the quickest path was Iowa City where they were able to get him up there right away and after just two weeks, he was able to start chemo.
Now he uses prayer, a healthier diet, meditation, some relaxation techniques, and some 90s music to keep emotions in check and stay on his path forward.
“Doctors want me on a low fiber diet. I’ve always been a snack food guy so I’m a bit more healthy with that now,” he said.
“Daily prayer, some meditation things, and music have been my go-to. I’ll put on the headphones and just zone out for a bit. With this last week being March Madness, it has kinda been a perfect way to get my mind off things.”
It's certainly a tough thing to keep a mind away from, but Rung said the concentration of support his family has received is the biggest weapon in the arsenal.
Rung is due for another scan in April to monitor the chemotherapy.
(Editor’s Note: For the next two weeks, Pen City Current will change the colors of their E-edition to the Dream Team blue and green to create energy around support for the Rung family. We all have our private battles and some of those get pretty dark and scary. We must meet them with the congruent energy of support and love. Pen City Current encourages all our readers to find a wristband in the next two weeks and, once again, help one of our own.)

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