LANGDON, N.D.-Harvest is a busy time for farmers, presenting long, taxing days for producers and their families.
Adding a cancer diagnosis into the mix can cause even more stress, but groups like Farm Rescue try to relieve that so patients can focus on fighting the disease.
One of those farmers is Mike Muhs, a Langdon farmer who was was diagnosed with "adenocarcinoma of an unknown origin" in April, shortly before spring planting.
Muhs was able to get help planting his crops in the spring, and Farm Rescue helped him with harvesting Friday afternoon.
"It's kind of humbling," Muhs said. "I've been battling cancer since the spring, and you quickly realize what kind of support system you need. To have people that just show up to come help from across the country is great. It's hard to believe there are people out there that will do that."
Farm Rescue helps farmers and ranchers who have had a major illness, injury or natural disaster by providing the necessary equipment and manpower to plant, hay or harvest their crop.
Volunteers from across the country take the time out of their spring and summers to help farmers across the Midwest plant and harvest crops, said Dan Erdmann, marketing communications officer for Farm Rescue. The organization helps farm and ranch families in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Iowa.
Muhs has spent part of his spring and summer traveling to and from Grand Forks for treatment, with occasional trips to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. A recent check up seems to show Muhs is headed in the right direction and is beginning to get his strength back.
"Things are moving in the right direction," Muhs said. "We have progress."
Muhs said doctors still aren't sure how the cancer started, despite undergoing a number of tests.
Farm Rescue debuted a new combine while working on the Muhs farm. The machinery was purchased using a $250,000 grant from the Engelstad Foundation.
The community also has rallied around the Muhs family. In July, locals held a benefit for Muhs and raised more than $60,000 for the family. Muhs said he hoped a few friends and some volunteers would show up.
Instead an estimated 800 to 1,000 people showed up.
"It was a very happy but sad day," he said. "Just to know that there's that kind of support out there in the community, it's humbling. Until you go through it, you don't understand."