Ronald Barnhart spent little time sitting during a busy life that he carved out as a family man, business owner, electrician, civic leader and benefactor. When it became necessary for him to sit for chemotherapy treatments nearly five years ago, the 6-foot-4-inch Barnhart preferred an extra-large chemotherapy chair.
Ron, a longtime Hutchinson resident, passed away at 70 years old last April after a 3 ½ year battle with leukemia. An outpouring of memorials to him allowed for the donation of an extra-large chemotherapy chair for Central Care Cancer Center in Newton, a scholarship to his high school alma mater Buhler FFA, and funding to help pay for new furniture for Union Valley Bible Church in Hutchinson.
“We are just so proud of the things that he is still accomplishing after he is gone because he was quite a guy,” Sherry Barnhart said about her husband of more than 50 years. “He loved doing for others and making sure other people were comfortable. He wanted to help in whatever way he could. As a business owner, he was always helping people. An example this time of year, if he knew of anyone who had a power problem or needed their oxygen because of a power outage, he would get a generator to them. He was a very kind guy. In his memory, he is able to do for three very diverse places where compassion is needed. It means so much to us and I know it means so much to him.”
With the memorial and an additional donation from Sherry, two extra-large chemotherapy chairs, manufactured by Winco, were purchased and delivered to the Central Care Cancer Center in Newton late last year. The chairs are now being utilized to accommodate patients.
Though he lived in Hutchinson, when he needed oncology services in July of 2014, Ron immediately sought out Central Care oncologist Dr. Greg Nanney in Newton, said Sherry. The Barnharts knew Dr. Nanney and his wife, Pam, a nurse for Central Care, for many years prior to needing oncology care.
“Ron said, ‘I don’t care where he is, he is the only person I will go see,’” remembered Sherry. “There was never any question of choice. Newton is where we were coming for care because we wanted Dr. Nanney as our oncologist. They were wonderful with Ron, couldn’t be more blessed.”
As Ron’s cancer advanced, he required specialized treatment, which meant trips to see specialists in Kansas City. One hospital stay in Kansas City lasted nearly three months, but Ron always returned to Newton to be treated by the team at Central Care Cancer Center.
“He was in love with everybody at Central Care,” said Sherry. “We just have a special connection with each and every one of them. Whether it was in the hospital or at Central Care, the personal care, the compassion and the love, we felt it every single day.
I don’t think I felt that it was ever just a job to anyone here. They come to work because they want to be a changing force in whatever someone is going through. We saw it in every single department. We knew we were in the right place and these are the kind of people the world needs a whole lot more of.”
Sherry returned to the Central Care Newton clinic on a late-January afternoon to visit where the Barnharts had spent so much of their time for nearly four years. She was moved by seeing so many familiar faces, but also by seeing for the first time the donated chairs that completed Ron’s wishes.
“We accomplished everything we promised Ron that we would do,” said Sherry. “I’m sure that he is beside himself with happiness. He was a gentle giant, he was a great guy, and I was just the luckiest person in the world to have him for 53 years.”
Central Care Cancer Center, https://www.cccancer.com
February 6, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News release by: Michael Dawes, PR Manager – Central Care Cancer Center, 785-823-0633, ext. 228; firstname.lastname@example.org