Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Hairdresser with ‘Pay It Forward’ Heart Receives Support in Time of Need

After stage 4 cancer robbed Jody Deibert of her ability to work, the Grand Forks, N.D., hairdresser found support in her friends and customers.

“This Pay It Forward program is a win-win for everyone involved, as it helps those in need, and it makes us as Bell Bank employees feel good about being able to help those who are going through tough times. Words cannot express how thankful I am to Bell for providing this opportunity!” – Kathy Radermacher, Bell Bank branch manager

Bell Employees

Kathy Radermacher, branch manager at Fargo South University location

Paula Otto, commercial/ag loan coordinator trainer at Fargo-Headquarters location


Jody Deibert, Grand Forks, N.D.  

The Need

Jody Deibert has been a hairdresser for 35 years. Up until the fall of 2018, she never had to take a sick day in her life.

Then she pulled a muscle in her back, and the pain wouldn’t go away. When she finally had an x-ray done, she found out she had an aggressive form of stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to her brain, bones and liver.

“It was crazy,” Jody remarks. “I never even had a clue. I was still working and exercising. I was never a smoker. I never felt winded. It just really came out of the blue.”

Jody had 25 tumors in her brain alone.

After going through chemo and radiation, the tumors have shrunk, but her bones have become brittle. While she receives injections to build her bone strength back up, she had to quit working. Her immune system is also compromised, so Jody has to limit how much she leaves the house.

“I miss it,” Jody says of working with her more than 200 clients. “When I’m used to seeing 40 to 60 clients a week – some I’ve taken care of for 30 years – I want to get back to styling hair.”

The Impact

Friends and family held a benefit for Jody in May – to help keep her spirits up and help her financially while she goes through cancer treatment. With 500 people in attendance, the benefit has allowed Jody to keep living in her house and paying her bills.

“I’m just so thankful,” Jody comments. “My clients, who I call my salon family, have been super-supportive and great at keeping in touch.”

The cards and support Jody has received help keep her going and maintain her positive attitude.

“Positivity equals power, and negativity equals nothing. I’m always positive, always looking at the bright side of things,” Jody notes. “The outpouring of support from people helps me stay that way. I pray a lot. I also think it’s mind over matter. I can get through it; I’ve just got to believe I can get through it.”

When they learned about Jody’s situation, Bell employees Kathy Radermacher and Paula Otto rallied several of their co-workers to combine their Pay It Forward funds to help. Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.

“Jody is an amazing person,” Kathy remarks. “Through this whole benefit, even while going through all of her treatments, she has kept her smile and has such a positive attitude. She is truly inspirational!”

When Kathy’s mom was going through cancer treatments and lost her hair, Jody trimmed her wigs and would not take payment for it.

“I couldn’t think of a better person to provide my Pay It Forward funds to, as Jody has always ‘paid it forward’ to so many others in so many ways!” Kathy exclaims.

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