Jack Schumacher is an eighth-grade student at Straub Middle School in Salem, Oregon and facing a difficult challenge compared to most students his age: bone cancer. He is currently at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, fighting hard to recover.
However, he’s not alone in his fight against cancer. The middle school had a pep rally for Jack on Friday morning to support him.
In an interview with Koin6, The Principal, Laura Perez, explained, ” When we found out that Jack had cancer, leadership kids wanted to do something more, so they started selling boo grams.”
In the end, the kids raised over $1,000 for Jack’s treatment, and Jack’s friend, Brayden, who had also been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier, was able to present the check. Even though Jack could not be physically present at the rally and had to FaceTime in, several of his family members were there to accept the check, and his entire family was very moved by the show of support.
Jack’s grandmother, Pam Tucker, stated in the interview, “I’m so overwhelmed with what these kids did for Jack.”
Principal Perez was very proud of the leadership students that took the initiative to raise the money. “This is what we want kids to be learning, is how to care for one another.”
There is no doubt, facing a cancer diagnosis is extremely difficult and comes with many insecurities. Fighting Pretty, centered in Portland, aims to help women facing any cancer diagnosis to feel empowered and has sent over 4,500 packages nationally and internationally.
Kara Skaflestad, the founder of the non-profit, was inspired to create the organization after fighting her own battle with breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, fertility treatments, and hormone therapy.
In the midst of her fight, someone gave her pink boxing gloves, and the unique gift eventually became Kara’s symbol to never give up. In an interview with Koin 6 News, she said “It was really my symbol to keep fighting and to never give up.”
After completing her treatment, she gave the pink boxing gloves along with some makeup to a friend who was also diagnosed with breast cancer; with this gift, the idea for Fighting Pretty began to form.
“It was kind of the first pretty package that I ever sent. Then she went on to pass on her boxing gloves, and they went on to five people.” Kara said.
The packages now include a bright pink box, items to motivate the receiver, including a pair of mini pink boxing gloves, and beauty products such as scarves and makeup. Each box has the greeting, “Hello Beautiful!”
“Fighting Pretty really encourages and empowers women to remember how strong and beautiful and amazing they are. Whether they have hair or no hair, breasts or no breasts, they are still an incredible, amazing woman.”
Reflecting on her own experience, Kayla hopes that Fighting Pretty will remind cancer fighters and survivors that they are still special, beautiful, and loved, even if they lose their hair or breasts.
“I lost my hair, my eye lashes, and had a double mastectomy. I lost my breasts. That was really hard. I mean, at first looking at myself in the mirror coming out of the shower, it was shocking.”
The boxes are funded through $30 donations to the non-profit and are usually sent by someone the cancer fighter knows and loves.
Earlier this month, the Portland Timbers added an exceptional new player to their roster. Five-year-old Derrick Tellez of Portland may be a few feet shorter than his teammates, but Timbers coach Caleb Porter can attest to his skills on the field: “Derrick is an extremely talented young goalkeeper, and we’re excited to have him signed for this weekend’s game against Orlando City,” Porter said.
Derrick, who is battling brain cancer, received his special contract with the Timbers through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The budding soccer star couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than playing with the Timbers. Gavin Wilkinson, president of soccer for the Timbers, also feels enthusiastic about the team’s new arrangement: “We are thrilled to welcome Derrick to the club and help make his wish to sign with the Portland Timbers a reality for him and his family,” Wilkinson stated.
Derrick was scheduled to enjoy an exclusive training session with Timbers players, and to join the team in Orlando City for pregame warm-ups and the National Anthem. The Timbers planned to present him with a customized locker and personalized green jersey. Porter was eager to see his newly-minted player participate in team activities: “We are pleased to have him join our club and look forward to his contributions.”
Last Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets of Portland to show support for breast cancer victims in the city’s Race for the Cure.
One participant, Adrienne San Nicolas, joined the race to celebrate her own recovery from the disease: “It’s a celebration for me that another year has gone and we’re still here,” she explained.
San Nicolas received her diagnosis in 2015, at age 34. At the time, she told KOIN reporters, she struggled to accept the news about her disease: “It’s really difficult to talk about the emotions that you feel when you are told that you have cancer.”
However, San Nicolas has been free from breast cancer for two years, and now feels optimistic about finding a cure for other victims. The support she received from her doctor, friends and family during Sunday’s race is “a sign of hope that together, one day we are going to be able to get rid of this ugly disease and eliminate it from ruining people’s lives.”
To learn more about Race for the Cure, click here.
Beaverton couple, Melanie Blake and Brian Cook met over MySpace ten years ago when Melanie reached out to him. “I lived in Connecticut and he was out here and I wanted friends before I got out here,” she explained in an interview with KOIN 6 News.
However, soon after they began dating, Melanie was diagnosed with both thyroid cancer and a brain tumor. She tried to break up with him because of the diagnosis, but he refused to leave her side. “I didn’t want Brian to go through all that,” she stated. “I didn’t want him to be with someone who was sick all the time, but he wouldn’t let me.”
After multiple surgeries that included a craniotomy, she was left unable to talk or perform basic functions; even so, Brian stuck by her side. After eight months of intense rehab, Melanie was finally herself again.
On October 26, 2016, the couple got engaged. Unfortunately, several weeks later, Melanie discovered the tumor had grown back even larger, and she was started on chemotherapy and radiation.
Even with such a heavy diagnosis, the couple was still able to have their dream wedding with the help of Wish Upon A Wedding, which is a non-profit organization that provides weddings for couples with serious health issues. A spokesperson from the non-profit, Kasey Conyers stated, “We are honored to have this opportunity to assist such a deserving and loving couple.” Local vendors also donated their services as well, adding to the amazing generosity shown to the couple.
When discussing how she copes with her health, Melanie stated that “You just need to love everyday because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow . . . I’m so happy. Yeah, I’m so happy.”