Longtime Imlay City resident Paula Janda battling cancer


IMLAY CITY — Remember those tv commercials? The ones depicting doctors and nurses on the front lines as the deadly virus dubbed COVID-19 swept through the state, and the country, upending everyday life and choking the health care system?

Paula Janda was one of those front-liners. A nurse, Paula suited up in PPE and carried on performing her duties as fear and panic spread along with the virus.

The longtime resident and mom of two did her best to keep a smile on her face and fear at bay.

Paula’s efforts weren’t unnoticed. Like many others in her profession, expressions of gratitude and appreciation were visible outside of her Main Street home. The front door was decorated with words of thanks and heart-shaped drawings.

It took a while, but things leveled out, and slowly a sense of normalcy returned. The respite didn’t last long for Paula, though. In October of last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, Paula’s journey toward full health and healing has had many twists and turns. It is far from over.

Paula Janda poses outside of her Main Street home front door, where family members posted notes of appreciation for her work on the front lines during the pandemic.

Friends and family are hoping the community will step up, like Paula did, while having some fun at the upcoming ‘Tee Up for Community Charity Golf Tournament’ slated for Saturday, August 13 at Holly Meadows Golf Course in Capac. The cost is $125 for a four member team; men, women and families welcome. Participants will enjoy 18 holes of golf, a hot dog and soda at the turn, and a buffet at the conclusion. A silent auction and 50/50 raffle are part of the fun. Tee time is 8:30 a.m.

Paula never expected to be unable to work for this long, nor did she ever anticipate reaching out for help.

“When I was first diagnosed, I was told there would be one surgery and then radiation,” Paula says. “It’s turned into three surgeries, followed by chemotherapy and now radiation.”

Because she’s been unable to work, she’s without medical benefits. Along with struggling to reach full health, Paula is struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s been so stressful,” she says. “I’ve always been very self-sufficient and it’s difficult to be stressed about bills.”

Despite the added stress, Paula says she’s grateful for the support she’s received.

“I have been so blessed by the kindness of family and friends and strangers, without them I wouldn’t be able to go through this,” she says. “I’m so grateful for all the help.”

Though working on the front lines through the pandemic was exhausting, Paula is anxious to return to her nursing career.

“I can’t wait to get back to work and back on my feet,” she says. “I don’t know how long that will take once I’m out of treatment, but I can’t wait to get there.”

Paula also has her eyes on another prize, one that most don’t have to worry about.

“I can’t wait for my hair to grow back,” she says. “It’s starting to just a little bit…it’s a very long road.”

The Tee Up for Community Charity Golf Tournament will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Sat., August 13 at Holly Meadows Golf Course. Donations are still being sought for the silent auction. To donate an item and/or cash, or for more information about the golf outing, call 810-542-1552.