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In Memory

This page is in memory of my mom.  She was loved by so many people and is missed by even more. 

  • Peggy Lou Hoban, 54

 A resident of London, died Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, at her home. She was born July 6, 1953, at Kewanee, Ill., to Robert Lonnie Andrews and Darlas June Wright Sturtevant.

Peggy was of the Catholic faith. She was a Paint horse breeder for 15 years, a member of the WestArk Horseshow Association and the Arkansas Paint Horse Club. She was preceded in death by her father and a brother-in-law, Earl Dennis.

Survivors include her husband of 20 years, John Hoban of London; a son, Brian Dorff of London; a daughter and son-in-law, Angella and Ron Dumas of Lamar; a stepdaughter, Jennifer Hoban of Russellville; her mother, Darlas Sturtevant of Kewanee, Ill.; three brothers and two sisters-in-law, Robert and Millie Andrews, Carl and Nita Andrews, and Harry W. Andrews; four sisters and three brothers-in-law, Susan Dennis, Julie and Dave Johnson, Carol and Larry Willis, and Patricia and Bill Reed; and a grandson, Keith Dumas of Lamar.

The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a. m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007, at the St. John’s Catholic Church in Russellville with Father William F. Thomas officiating. Burial will be in Madden Cemetery at Hickeytown under the direction of Shinn Funeral Service. Pallbearers will be Billy Reed, Dave Johnson, Justin Reed, Joe Detrick, Steven Davis and Ricky Reed. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p. m. Tuesday at the funeral home, and a rosary service will begin at 7 p. m.


  • Story Date: Monday, April 30, 2007
    Benefit at Hughes Center
    A benefit with Bingo and a silent auction for John and Peggy Hoban will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at Hughes Center. All the proceeds will go toward the medical expenses of Peggy Hoban who has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. John is general manager of Western Sizzlin’.
    All auction items and Bingo prizes have been donated by local businesses and individuals. Some of the prizes include pre-1878 NCO Non-Commissioned Officer’s sword, arrowhead collection, quilt, Milwaukee drill, ceiling fan, various restaurant gift certificates, massages, hair cuts, oil changes, transmission services, top soil, plants and more.


  • Peggy Hoban Memorial Show
    Saturday March 1, 2008 at 10 am
    Pope County Riding Club Arena in Russellville, AR


Battle with cancer brings out best
05.04.07 - 01:19 pm
Local couple realizes true friendship through rough journey By Michelle Gregory

For The Courier

"Leukemia is a death sentence, isn't it?"

The words hung in the air like an unpopped bubble. Lila Townsell, cashier at Western Sizzlin'' looked up at her usually smiling boss, general manager John Hoban, and gave a knee-jerk response, "not today, maybe 20 years ago. Besides, who do you know with leukemia?"

"Peggy," he said.

The words sunk like Aunt Betsy's tuna surprise. Peggy is John's wife of 20 years. Townsell grappled with what she was hearing. Peggy? Leukemia?

In the days before, Peggy, 53, was rushed to the emergency room at Russellville for what she believed was kidney stones. She had an intense pain in her side. What else could it be? The answer was an enlarged spleen.

The spleen essentially houses white blood cells, used to help fight off infections.

Hoban was released four days later and four days after her release, she was experiencing intense pains near her back. Hoban has back problems, so she said she reluctantly took to pain medication. The next thing she remembers is being on the floor and "flopping around like a fish," she said.

Hoban's mother, Darlas Andrews, called 911. Hoban was transported to the emergency room in Johnson County where she learned her spleen had ruptured.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rama Desikan of Arkansas Oncology Associates, got the results of the blood tests and immediately ordered a bone-marrow test.

"In his 25-plus years of practicing, he had never seen blood look like mine. He knew something was not right," Hoban said.

The bone marrow tests discovered a very rare form of leukemia called T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia.

There are four major types of leukemia: acute myelogenous, acute lymphocytic, chronic myelogenous and chronic lymphocytic. Hoban's leukemia doesn't really fall under these four types. What made her blood work different than most is the white blood cell counts were off the charts.

Normal white blood cell counts are 7,000-25,000; leukemia patients average 50,000. Peggy's was more than 980,000.

"The lesions were horrible. I was looking like a leper," Hoban said.

Desikan contacted MD Anderson, a renowned cancer center in Houston. He also stayed in communication with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He urged Peggy to go to Houston for treatment; however, she would have nothing of it. She didn't want to leave where she was most comfortable. Peggy had already started researching this type of cancer on the Internet and didn't find anything hopeful. If she was to die, she was not going to in Texas or Little Rock, for that matter.

This type of leukemia is so rare there have been very few clinical trials on treatment options. Because of this, Desikan won't give a prognosis - there just isn't enough information - but he refused to give up and neither did Peggy.

Meanwhile, John has been keeping his employees informed about Peggy's condition.

After she started chemotherapy in January, she developed a bad case of the rigors [severe shaking, or shivering, as the body's way of warming up and bringing down a fever]. Her fever reached 105 degrees, and she was rushed to Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center in Russellville.

"I nearly died. As my temperature was going up, my blood pressure was coming down to dangerous levels. I remember being in and out of consciousness. At one point, I remember a nurse being happy that my blood pressure was 60/40," Peggy said.

Peggy and John said both hospitals were amazing and credits both for bringing her back from the brink of death not once, but twice.

"The emergency room in Johnson County moved like a ballet with everyone knowing what each person needed and wanted. And I can't say enough about the nurses in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Saint Mary's; they kept everyone informed about any changes in her condition," John said.

Her treatments have been agonizing. Desikan has tried several treatments all with varying results, but the constant is there isn't much change in her white blood cell count. The best they can do is manage the levels. He's in constant contact with Houston and Little Rock, getting treatment recommendations and staying positive.

Peggy said the nausea is the worst, besides not knowing if this therapy or that will be the miracle they're all looking for. She's avoided some of the other side effects.

She still has her halo of blonde hair and the brightest blue eyes. Her complexion is ruddy, like she's been in the sun all day, and has what could be described as hives across her forehead. The rigors and nausea leave her uncomfortable and tired. Just recently, she was able to ride her beloved horses for the first time in a couple of months.

Peggy has a Painted Horse farm, Hobans Painted Acres, and also runs an embroidery business from her home, Hobans Embroidery. Peggy isn't one to sit still and said she gets frustrated when this cancer grounds her. She refuses to let it take over her life.

Ironically, Peggy thought her worst worry would be heart problems or rheumatoid arthritis as there is a family history of both. She said she does have leaky heart valves, stemming from using diet pills several years ago. Today, she would welcome either one.

She credits her good spirits to her husband, John, who has been "wonderful" throughout this whole ordeal. She's also very close to her mother, Darlas, her two children, Angela, and Brian, her stepdaughter, Jennifer and her grandson, Keith.

"I hate I can't spend the time with [Keith] that I use to," she said.

She said she also hates that her and John's dreams are on hold, probably permanently. The treatments are expensive. John jokingly commented he could have bought several pickup trucks with what her weekly treatments cost. John explains how confusing insurance was to him, until this, and now he's almost an expert. There are co-pays, deductibles, stop-losses.

It all adds up to being a drain on resources.

"It's literally like playing roulette - you get the therapy and wait and see what the outcome will be," said John of the treatments Peggy gets almost weekly and how they never know if the side effects will actually be worse than the symptoms.

Peggy is more overwhelmed at the outpouring of prayer and hope she gets from friends, family and strangers.

When Peggy was first diagnosed, John's employees leapt into action. While they all made prayer requests with their respected churches, Lila and manager Teresa Wesley started organizing a benefit silent auction and bingo in an effort to raise money to help offset the cost of the treatments.

"I couldn't believe they were doing this," Peggy said, trying to hold back the tears. John added that he couldn't believe they were doing all this for them.

"I'm their boss; they're not supposed to like me," John said.

After spending just a few minutes with them both, it's easy to see why there is such an outpouring of love for them.

"For the last 10 years, I've had this beat-up old trailer. I went to competitions and last summer was finally able to get a new one," she said with a glint her eyes. "I had the best summer and won first place in several of my competitions."

The leukemia struck in December.

The Hobans don't know if this leukemia will be a death sentence, so they look at each day for what it is - another day.

Benefit for the Hobans

A benefit for John and Peggy Hoban will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hughes Center, 1000 E. Parkway. There will be bingo and a silent auction.

Proceeds will go toward Peggy's medical expenses.

Auction items and bingo prizes donated by local businesses and individuals include Pre-1878 Non-Commissioned Officer's sword, arrowhead collection, quilt, Milwaukee drill, ceiling fan, restaurant gift certificates, massages, hair cuts, oil changes, transmission services, top soil, plants and more.
couriernews.com 2007

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