Shelley Nettesheim (right) of Elkhorn is the benefactor of this year’s Kade’s Klassic. Nettesheim was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia last year and was told she was cancer free in April.

Shelley Nettesheim (right) of Elkhorn is the benefactor of this year’s Kade’s Klassic. Nettesheim was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia last year and was told she was cancer free in April.

Nettesheim returns to Kade’s Klassic, this time on other end of track

By Mike Ramczyk

SLN Staff

Shelley Nettesheim is no stranger to Kade’s Klassic.

Two years ago, the 49-year-old Elkhorn native was an active, supremely conditioned athlete, running triathlons and hitting the gym hard nearly seven days a week.

She participated in the 5K of Kade’s Klassic, an annual fundraiser for families in need, which started in 2005 after Whitewater native Kade Vance, now 18, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident near Highways 14 and A in Janesville.

Nettesheim returns to the annual event this year, which will be held at Evergreen Golf Course in Elkhorn.

But she won’t be running, playing golf or straining herself whatsoever.

Last October, Nettesheim was lifting weights and running just about every day. In a recent interview, she beamed about how much she loved working out and taking on physical challenges like triathlons.

But after a routine physical at the doctor’s office, the Delavan-Darien High School graduate got the call nobody wants.

She was told to immediately get to the emergency room.

Still unaware of what exactly was going on, Nettesheim was rushed via ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Janesville.

There, she was diagnosed with cancer, specifically Acute Myeloid Leukemia with a 5q deletion, which is a rare form of the disease.

“You’re scared out of your mind,” Nettesheim said. “I thought it was a mistake.”

“I was in good shape. But they were giving me blood transfusions. I never took medication in 10 years.”

Nettesheim thought it was wrong, but a biopsy showed her immune system was depleted.

“They said I basically had the blood level of someone who had been in a severe car accident,” she said. “I had no immune system.”

“Two days prior, I was at Holy Hill at a healing mass, around all these ill people. It was packed. I had no immune system and I didn’t know it. It’s a miracle I didn’t get sick.”

Nettesheim added she was supposed to leave for Florida for a vacation with friends two days after the biopsy, which occurred on Tuesday.

“When they said ‘leukemia,’ I kept it together thanks to being with my friend. In the car, panic attack set in. They said you could either go to Madison or Froedtert (Milwaukee).”

Nettesheim made the decision that night to drive to Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned cancer clinic in Rochester, Minn.

When it was confirmed after a second test Nettesheim had AML, she didn’t ask questions about her future. She knew it was a random occurrence. A chromosome in her blood stream “broke,” she said, but the reality was serious.

“I learned once I got home I had a 10 percent chance of getting a stem cell transplant,” Nettesheim said.

A perfect match

Though the odds were low, Nettesheim found a match for a stem cell transplant.

She has four siblings, each which had a 30 percent chance of being a match.

“My sister Bobbi was a perfect match,” Nettesheim said. “While my sister started the process to donate her stem cells, I had to endure two more rounds of chemotherapy.”

Nettesheim received one round of chemotherapy when she first got to Mayo Clinic, which proved unsuccessful.

The second round was much stronger, and 10 days after, she learned the Leukemia was gone. But she still needed a stem cell transplant.

“The first round ran 24/7 for a week,” she said. “I used to sleep with a fan. But at Mayo, I listened to the sound of the IV, of the poison going into me. It was a hum, and all I could think was, ‘They’re poisoning me.’”

She said the second round of chemo was like the “world’s biggest hangover.”

“You don’t get a lot of sleep,” she said. “They wake you up every four hours. Nobody gets sleep in the hospital.”

“Sometimes you’re just wired, thinking about all of the things you’re no longer in control of.”

If you go

Kade’s Klassic will be from 6:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, at Evergreen Golf Club, N6246 Highway 12
There will be a 5K Walk/Run, 18 and 9 holes of golf, mini-golf for kids, a bags tournament and lunch, which is served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
More information, visit

For the full story, see the June 30 edition of the Elkhorn Independent.



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