COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Breast Cancer: Bernie

Cancer Care
“When it knocked me down, I missed my friendships and community involvement. I got nervous I wouldn’t be asked or included in things because of my illness. Cancer can brand you, but it doesn’t have to be a bad branding. You can work through it.”

Bernie Strong

Sometimes it takes a boulder blocking your original path to force you down a new bumpier road. But it can give a whole new meaning to your life.

Through an emotional journey of treatment for her breast cancer, Bernie Perryman, 59, of St. Augusta, has made it through a long and challenging road of chemotherapy and 16 radiation treatments. During Bernie’s first infusion, her husband gave her a cross necklace with the letters “YGT” engraved on it, standing for “You Got This,” and she hasn’t taken it off since.

As a business owner with her husband of Batteries Plus and a highly-involved community member, Bernie is used to the fast-paced life and enjoys being busy and on the go. Unfortunately, through treatment and side effects, being restricted to her home for over 20 weeks was one of her biggest challenges.

“When it knocked me down, I missed my friendships and community involvement. I got nervous I wouldn’t be asked or included in things because of my illness. Cancer can brand you, but it doesn’t have to be a bad branding. You can work through it,” Bernie explained. “I am married to a good ole blue collar Minnesota boy. Keith has a heart of gold, is a great hugger and tells me he loves me all the time. My illness and side effects were tough on him and watching him struggle was tough on me. too. He was always trying to find what he could do for me to make it better, but I had to tell him there isn’t anything. One day he said, ‘I can’t lose you and I don’t want you to die,’ and that was the hardest. At the end of the day, my love has never been stronger for my husband.”

Bernie Perryman

Bernie with her "Bernie Strong"

Along with her husband’s support, Bernie also had her work team of 20 to lean on. When she first broke the news to them about her cancer, one of the general managers was leaving on vacation to Mexico. He returned with 20 bracelets he had made by the ocean with the words “Bernie Strong” for everyone to wear.

Bernie’s next plans include bouncing back with the help of the brand new Coborn Healing Center. The 100 percent philanthropy-funded center offers many services that enhance patient’s lives throughout their cancer journey. These services to care for Mind, Body and Spirit include integrative therapies (acupuncture, acupressure, Healing Touch), an interactive kitchen with healthy recipe and nutrition classes, art therapy, group fitness classes, spiritual wellbeing, support groups, the Enhancement Program (one-on-one consultation with a cosmetologist for free wigs, hats, accessories) and more.

“This is the perfect place to now heal myself wholly; my body, mind and spirit,” said Bernie. “This package of healing services so close to home is such a blessing. I never believed in acupuncture until now. I can feel the difference; I sleep better, have less anxiety and more peace.”

Bernie also looks forward to utilizing the nutrition and balance classes next. “Coborn Cancer Center has been my second family. They made it about the ‘who’ and not the ‘what’,” said Bernie. “Everyone has been so congenial and comforting. The receptionists are jovial, fun and always giving so much. Everyone treated me so nice, like I was their family. Now I’m seeing the people who are in my shoes from 20 months ago and going through treatment. I sat next to a sad woman on a bench who has bone cancer and told her this is the greatest place, and you’re going to kick cancer’s butt, too.”

In the end, Bernie is feeling great just being out of the house and back to economic development, chamber of commerce, United Way and supporting the community. This unexpected road has taught Bernie about the true value of love.

“Your values change, about love and helping people identify the love they have within themselves to make our world better. My heart grew bigger and my love has grown bigger for people. I don’t look at what people do or have anymore. I like to know who they are and what’s inside,” Bernie explained. “I can’t control my schedule. The guy upstairs controls everything. His presence will keep me going and will cure me. We get so wrapped up in our daily lives, and we go so fast. We forget to be thankful. I’m so blessed to have this wonderful local facility close to home. Stop to smell the roses and say thank you for each day.”