Pretzel makers toil for good cause

How good can a pretzel be? Or better yet, how much good can it do?

Shelli Hodges' pretzel recipe has made the snacks popular at craft shows, but now the long chocolate-, nut- and caramel-laden sticks are helping her in a more important way.

Hodges found a lump in her breast in February 2005 and since then has sought alternative treatments her insurance doesn't cover. To this date the Hodges have paid more than $150,000 for her medical bills, but she still needs more treatments.

Her fellow crafters in A Touch of Class crafters' group helped her Saturday at Dayspring Christian Assembly in the Gardnerville Ranchos to make pretzels, with the proceeds going toward Hodges' future treatments.

"She's been with us for three years," said crafter Sue Bennett who came up with the idea. "We hope to sell (pretzels) for Mother's Day and Father's Day. We will then be selling them to raise money to help Shelli and her family out."

Hodges, 44, a Gardnerville Ranchos resident, thought she wouldn't be making any pretzels for the group's annual show this year since it hurts to lift her arm.

"I kept saying at Easter I'm not going to have any pretzels," said Hodges. "My arm hurts a lot because of my swollen lymph gland."

With Hodges' treatment plan, she can't eat any junk food and has to be on a regular exercise schedule.

"I can't eat (the pretzels) because sugar is not good for cancer. That saves me a lot of weight," she laughed.

Hodges researched for three months before deciding to go with a more natural healing plan rather than traditional radiation and chemotherapy. She underwent a 10 percent chemotherapy treatment that shrank one of her tumors and it became non-cancerous. Another second tumor, however, has remained.

"This treatment builds your immune system, it builds your body back so you can fight the cancer," said Hodges, whose mother died last year of cancer after chemotherapy and radiation treatments and whose aunt had a mastectomy, lost three-quarters of her lung capacity due to complications from radiation treatments and now her cancer has returned.

"Your body was made to heal itself, but we don't get what we need in the food we eat," she said. "I want to continue the treatment because it is working."

Hodges is a mother of three daughters, Danielle, 19, Bailey, 6 and Mattie, 4. Danielle is doing a church internship in Nashville, Tenn. Hodges said her younger daughters have asked her if she's going to die.

"My 4-year-old's always praying for me," said Hodges. "She says, 'Jesus is going to heal you. Your tumor's going to be gone.'

"We all just trust in God."

Bennett said she wasn't going to try to get anything in the newspaper until after they made the pretzels, but accidentally sent the news of Hodges and their pretzel-making day to The Record-Courier in a group e-mail.

"It must have been intervention," said crafter Pam Sturlin.

Hodges' pretzels are available at Just Roses, 1659 Highway 395 in Minden, or at Attitudes Salon, 559 Saliman in Carson City for $5 a three-pack through Mother's Day. They are selling quickly and may be sold out soon, but orders will be taken at either location for pretzels to arrive in time for Father's Day at $8 per three-pack. Just Roses can be reached at 783-8622 or Attitudes at 882-2061.

Monetary gift donations can be made to Shelli's Medical Fund at Bank of America, account no. 0050-1035-4903.

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 210


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