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Tabernacle Choir singer raises money for cancer-stricken friend

MESA, Ariz. — Kristi Sherwood Crum lost her husband, Phil Sherwood, to lung cancer six years ago. At the time, Phil, 52, was serving as bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Fairfield Ward in Mesa.Crum's understanding runs deep: "Heavenly Father doesn't just give us our trials to see what we'll do with them, I think he is also sad," she said.She went on, "I think when he sees me in pain ... he wants to comfort me. He feels sad that I'm hurting and there is a strength that comes (from knowing how much he cares) about how you feel. And he will help you when you ask for it."__IMAGE1__When she mentions pain and hurting, she is not just talking about those emotional pains from losing her husband.Two years after her husband died, Kristi married Richard Crum, whose wife had died of cancer. Then, in March 2009, Richard rushed Kristi to the hospital emergency room one night. Doctors found that she had a cancerous tumor that had splintered her spine. Further tests revealed the cancer had started in her lungs.Neither she, nor her first husband, had smoked a cigarette in their lives. But lightning — in her case lung cancer — had struck twice. The cancer has now spread to other parts of her body, including her kidneys and now her brain."My late husband taught me so much," she said, "If he can do it, I can do it."She optimistically explains, "I feel he expects me to take what I learned from my experiences with him and go forward with that and I have no excuses. I have learned that asking for the presence of the Holy Ghost and his friendship ... that you can just really ask for that and expect the friendship that comes along ... there is such a sweet peace . I think sometimes we just have to ask for it."Illness isn't the only thing affecting Crum — Richard recently was laid off from his job.Tricia Swanson, one of Kristi Crum's best friends since their days at Mesa Junior High School, is using her time and talents to help her. Swanson also knew Phil Sherwood, who was in her ward.Swanson now lives in Sandy, Utah, and sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In September 2009, she recorded a CD to raise money for Kristi's treatments. "I prayed about it," Swanson said, "and I knew it was what I needed to do."She said everyone — including the recording studio — came together and donated time and money to the cause. Swanson said she selected songs that were "calming" and "that Kristi could lie in bed and listen to and feel the Spirit."The CD has raised more than $11,000 to this point.At the time Phil Sherwood was diagnosed with cancer, their daughter, Hillary, now Hillary Sherwood Goodman, had received her mission call to Virginia. She considered not going, but with the encouragement of her father, she decided to serve.Near the end of her mission, Kristi became concerned that Phil would pass away before Hillary came home. Kristi didn't know if she should call the mission president and have Hillary come home early.She prayed and went to the temple and received confirmation that she should ask for Hillary's early release. She called the mission president, and Hillary was released six weeks early.She went home and had a sweet reunion with her father in the hospital. The very next day, he died."That was certainly a blessing for Hillary," Swanson said.She said she calls her friend often to see how she is doing and offer encouragement.Although Kristi's condition continues to worsen — she has numbness on the right side of her face and gets nourishment mostly from liquids — Swanson says to her, "Every time I talk to you, you lift me."For more information about Swanson and Crum, visit www.triciasings.com.


E-mail: wjewkes@desnews.com