When family was about to lose its home, high school friends stepped in

A Hermantown man, who has been fighting cancer for several years, was about to lose his family’s home before high school friends stepped in this week.

“I want him to have a peace of mind that he doesn’t have to worry where his family is going to live,” David Stolen, tells the Duluth News Tribune. “We’re going to pay for a move and pay for those living expenses, hopefully, for six months.”

Karl Randa couldn’t have better friends.

It was in 2013 that Karl Randa, 52, began battling Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer even more rare in adults. He underwent an extensive surgery, resulting in the loss of both kidneys, his pancreas and a portion of an intestine, Mary Randa said.

“Everything was twisted together,” said Mary. “Right away that’s hard to recover from.”

Then he endured nine months of chemotherapy. Karl went two-and-a-half years cancer-free while on dialysis — but then the cancer returned. Patients on dialysis must be cancer-free for four years to get on the kidney donation list, Mary said.

Now the tumors in Karl’s stomach are bad enough that pain medications are not working well, Mary said. Karl has been receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

The family had to be out of their home by early November. But friends have raised $11,000 via GoFundMe to help Randa and his family out. They’ve found a place to live and the landlord discounted the rent by $900 a month, thanks to the efforts of Randa’s Denfield High School friends.

“You don’t always get that support and we haven’t had it for a very long time,” Karl’s wife, Mary, tells the paper. “It’s just a blessing to have friends like that from high school.”