If Cheryl Mallak was stranded on a deserted island, she said she'd want to have her sunglasses with her, because she couldn't count how many times she has had to turn the car around to go back for her sunglasses. This seems to be a theme in Cheryl's life, as her outlook is often a sunny one.
Cheryl is a resident of Fifield. She has been married to Bill Mallak for 40 years. The marriage has brought them two children and five granddaughters.
For 33 years, Cheryl worked at Eyecare and Eyewear Associates as an optician. It was her dream job. "I enjoyed seeing different people every day and getting to hear their stories. I loved hearing about their families, and everybody I worked with was so kind that it was like having a second family," Cheryl said.
As for her hobbies, Cheryl enjoys kayaking. "I love kayaking down the Flambeau River. I enjoy soaking up the sun and enjoying the sights." The hobby she enjoys the most, however, revolves around horses. "I love horses. Iíve had them most of my life. I usually ride with my sister, Jean. I love to ride in the woods and look at Mother Nature." She said she also loves to shoot pool and throw horseshoes with her friends. When she is not doing all that, she is with family. "My five granddaughters consume my life, which I love."
The motto Cheryl lives by is to be kind to others. "This world needs more love. At a time when hate seems cool, kindness is the answer." On that note, if Cheryl could have one wish to make the world a better place, she would wish for no one to go hungry ever again. "I feel like food is something everybody should have access to."
Cheryl has been living a good life, but it has handed her some lemons, one of which includes the growth of tumors that keep coming back, a condition that affects less than 2% of the population. With those lemons, though, she has tried to make lemonade. "I found out about my first tumor because I started losing movement in my left hand. My pinky and ring finger became really hard to type with or do much of anything. I went to see Dr. Tim Wakefield for what I thought was a pinched nerve, but he informed it wasnít and advised me to get an MRI." Unfortunately, the MRI showed that Cheryl had a golf ball sized tumor, a Grade 1 Meningioma, and she had to have brain surgery to remove it. Since she has found that humor has helped her get through this and has always tried to see the positive in the world, she nicknamed the tumor Francis and had Francis removed in November of 2014. A year and a half later, Cheryl learned she had another tumor and hoped radiation would help, so she tried that route in 2016. However, in January of 2018, another tumor the size of an egg, which she named Flo, was found. A second surgery was scheduled, and she had Flo removed. After the surgery, Cheryl had radiation treatments. "I had 30 radiation treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and in two months I will find out the success of my treatment. Fingers crossed."
Cheryl says the most special thing that has been done for her has definitely been what she is experiencing now. "The support that I have gotten through all my tumors has been tremendous. I am amazed and so thankful at how willing people are to help." If you would like to help Cheryl, you can attend her benefit on Saturday, August 25th at Movrich Park in Fifield from noon to 10 p.m. The band, Flashback, will start at 6 p.m. Ticket raffle sales are available prior to and during the benefit. There are many large items which will be raffled at the benefit, such as fishing rods, Packers gear, a fire ring, 1/4 beef, a gun, and many gift certificates. There will also be basket raffles. Beer, wine coolers, and food will be available at the event. Cheryl also has a GoFundMe page, which can be accessed at http://www.gofundme.com/cheryl-mallak