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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Sarah Wampler, an 18-year-old freshman at IPFW, conducted a fundraiser for breast cancer research in September after losing her mother to the disease last year.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017 1:00 am

Teens raise funds for cancer research

Angela Sartiano | For The Journal Gazette

Sarah Wampler and Mallory Metzger lost their mothers to breast cancer before they graduated from high school.

The two girls discovered this connection while working at a Dairy Queen, according to Wampler.

Metzger's mother, Wampler says, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and died in 2016. Wampler's mother, Danielle Wampler, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2016.

The doctors told her mother that her cancer was gone, but it returned less than a year later, Wampler says. Her mother was then diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that spread to her lungs, bones and liver. She died last year on Mother's Day.

“When it was just stage 3, they gave my mother a number of weeks to do (chemotherapy) and she went through them,” Wampler says. “She got some sort of hormone pills to try to stop the cancer. She started back on chemo when it came back. They told her the tumor she had was sitting between her heart and her lungs, so they didn't want to do radiation. They told her it would grow.

“Eventually, it grew around her pulmonary artery. It was cutting off the blood flow and oxygen. The last option was radiation. She passed away not too long after that.”

After finding out that both teens had lost their mothers to breast cancer, the friends decided to conduct a fundraiser to help raise money for breast cancer research. It was then they tapped into another connection the two had: high school.

Wampler, now an 18-year-old freshman at IPFW, graduated last year from Adams Central High School, where Metzger is now a senior.

Wampler says the teens approached their high school principal about conducting a fundraiser, choosing to give the money raised to the Adams County Cancer Coalition, which gives the money to “actual people in our county who are fighting cancer at the moment,” Wampler says.

Wampler is soft-spoken and smiles when she talks about the charity.

She also got help from her grandparents, who helped to set up for the fundraiser and sell the merchandise, along with tickets.

“We started off selling these bracelets we had made to raise money for the big event we wanted to do,” Wampler says. “We rented a popcorn and snow cone machine. People donated money or bought tickets.

“We ordered bracelets online and sold them for a dollar a bracelet. We had six different colors that said 'Fight For a Cure' with a ribbon symbol on them. We didn't want to just do pink, but other colors to represent different cancers.”

All together, the fundraiser, which was held in September, raised $1,000.

Wampler doesn't think she will do anymore fundraisers any time soon.

She's just happy that she was able to raise money for others and make a connection with someone else who understands what it was like to lose a mother to the disease.