Why We Help- BY Chris & Michele Westerholm
We first heard about Northwest Sarcoma Foundation shortly after our two year old daughter, Jenna, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in 2006. We gathered a small group of friends and family to walk with us and support our journey at the Dragonslayer walk at Greenlake. Tragically, on January 22, 2009 sarcoma took her life. Team Jenna continues to walk every year in her memory.
Throughout Jenna’s three years of treatment we missed many days of work, our income was greatly reduced, and our son, Braden, was born. We personally felt the financial and emotional strain caused by having a seriously ill child. Without the financial support from friends and family, we would not have been able to pay our bills.
After Jenna’s death, we wanted to honor her memory and express our appreciation for the support that we’d been given, and in turn pass that along to other families. To accomplish this desire, we founded The Dragon’s Last Ride, a motorcycle ride that raises funds for pediatric sarcoma families. Grants are dispersed by the foundation through the Jenna Westerholm Pediatric Help$ Program (Jenna Help$).
Honestly, it takes an enormous amount of work to put on an event. We spend at least six months planning the event, finding sponsors, gathering raffle items, designing t-shirts, advertising, and ensuring that everything is ready for the big day. Then, after the event, we pay for expenses, finish up spreadsheets, send out thank you notes, and brainstorm for the next year. But, the reward of walking beside sarcoma families and providing them with hope far outweighs the work.
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