Published 07/01/2024

Tanya Guthrie (third from left) in front of the bell at the hospital, as she rang it for her last chemo treatment in February. The Norton woman has benefitted from funds raised through Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the Phillipsburg rodeo. Photo

Phillipsburg, Kan. (July 1, 2024) – The Phillipsburg rodeo has helped a Norton woman with her fight with cancer.

Norton woman fights cancer with help from Phillipsburg rodeo

Tanya Guthrie was diagnosed with colon cancer in December of 2022.

After she saw blood in her stool, she went to the doctor for a scan.

The doctor said it could be diverticulitis, but being a nurse, she had a good idea it might be cancer.

She wanted to know right away, telling her doctor before her colonoscopy, “I don’t want you to B.S. me about anything. If you get in there and you find colon cancer, you just tell me, because I already know.”

Her intuition was right. The doctor found cancer, and the mass was removed in February of last year, along with 22 lymph nodes.

At the time, doctors told her she was cancer free. “They said, ‘go live your life, you’re cured,’” she said.

But two months later, a cancer spot was found on her liver. Tanya was heartbroken. “I sat in the (hospital) parking lot for three hours and bawled,” she said. “I was overwhelmed because I thought I had cancer beat.”

So she started twelve rounds of chemotherapy, six before surgery to remove the tumor, in hopes of shrinking it, and six after surgery.

Her first round of chemo was on her birthday last year, July 3, with chemo treatments every other week.

She continued to work as a nurse at Norton Co. Hospital, but through the chemo treatments, it got harder to do.

Chemo “makes me very sick,” she said. “I tried to work as much as I could, but there were times I couldn’t because the chemo made me so sick.”

That’s where the Phillipsburg rodeo stepped in, giving a financial gift to Tanya.

The money “helped because I have medications that I had to get and bills I have to pay,” she said. “My insurance doesn’t pay 100 percent for everything. It pays eighty-twenty.”

The money “was very much appreciated. I had no idea there was help out there. It was really nice.”

The Phillipsburg rodeo raises money for area people undergoing cancer treatment through its Tough Enough to Wear Pink night, held on the first night of the rodeo each year.

For every person wearing pink to the rodeo on August 1, the rodeo donates one dollar to the fund. That amount is matched by local sponsors: A&A Distributing, Amber Wave, B&B Redimix Inc., Farmers State Bank, and Rodgers and Associates.

Last year, over $12,000 was raised for the fund; in the past 18 years, over $151,000 has been raised. One hundred percent of donations are given out; none is held back for administrative costs.

More than 160 people have been helped, living in north central Kansas and south central Nebraska.

“I still have to pay twenty percent so I’ll forever be making payments, but it’s fine,” Guthrie said. “At least I’m still alive.”

She’s been to the Phillipsburg rodeo as a fan and worked once as a volunteer, serving beverages.

She and her husband Jason will be in attendance this year, “to support other people,” she said. “There are a lot of other people that are less fortunate than I am, that don’t have insurance. I want to do everything I can to help others.”

She also helps through her posts on social media, reminding people to take care of their health and get colonoscopies.

“I try to remain positive in my Facebook posts. It tells my journey and I hope I can be an inspiration to someone else fighting cancer.”

When Tanya rang the bell for her final chemo treatment in February, it was emotional.

“I will continue to fight,” she said.

This year’s Phillipsburg rodeo is August 1-3. Tickets are on sale online at, at Garrett Insurance in Phillipsburg (685 Third Street) or by calling 785.543.2448.