CLINTON — Co-workers say that Barb Krogman, 63, of Clinton, refuses to let her cancer beat her.
In fact, Wild Rose Casino and Resort co-workers say that while others with a similar diagnosis would spend their time in bed letting the cancer get the best of them, Barb instead spends her time there fulfilling her duties as a facilities housekeeper.
Through the work of Wild Rose staff, Make-A-Wish, the Helping Hand foundation in Clinton and World Wrestling Entertainment, Krogman was able to meet her favorite wrestler, Randy Orton.
Krogman said her job at the Wild Rose is the only reason she is still alive. She has worked for the Clinton casino for seven years, even when the gaming operation was still on the riverboat. She said she loves her job and the people she works with.
In May 2010, she was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), a rare malignant cancer of smooth muscle. Krogman said most people who have LMS die within the first six months. However, she has continued on for three years. Krogman and her doctors attribute her success to the fact that she is still working.
One of Krogman’s supervisors, Becky Johnson, saw how hard she was battling the cancer and decided the company should do something for her. Johnson contacted the Wild Rose’s marketing director, Peggi Johnson, who then contacted some other organizations. Before she knew it, Krogman was told she would get to meet Orton.
“I got to talk to him. I got to tell him that he helped me fight my cancer,” Krogman said. “I feel that we do the same thing. We just do what we have to to survive.”
Krogman and her husband, Henry, went to St. Louis on May 19 with Becky Johnson and her daughter to see Orton. Krogman was able to talk to Orton for a while and have her picture taken with him. He also kissed her two or three times. The group also was able to watch the wrestling matches. Johnson was happy to see the look on Krogman’s face when she met her hero. She added that she was honored to take Krogman.
Krogman will be starting chemotherapy once again in July. She has lost her hair four times before and hates it. She said sometimes, managing the pain can be difficult. However, Krogman is not giving up.
“I can’t do anything about it. You just have to live with it,” Krogman said. “All I can do is fight it and that’s what I’m doing.”
She said every time she sees her doctors, they keep extending how many months she has left. She hopes to be around another eight years, maybe longer, and plans to give the cancer a good fight.
Krogman hopes to see others touched by cancer helped like she has been. She would like to see a support group for children who have a parent battling cancer.
“She has a very big heart and she always thinks of other people,” Johnson said.