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Gladstones Doernbecher fundraiser is personal for two students this year

Two who have helped with the fundraiser now have cancer

Both Marissa Huddleston and Ashley Roth, seniors at Gladstone High School, helped with the school's annual Doernbecher Week in the past, but this year it's personal.

'It's ironic - after my first chemo appointment, I realized I've helped with Doernbecher Week before, but this is for me,' Roth said.

'You don't get it until it hits close to home,' Huddleston said.

'I would always help, but I never really got it until this year, when I was there,' she added.

Both girls have been diagnosed with cancer; Roth found out two weeks ago that her Hodgkin's Lymphoma had returned, while Huddleston was recently diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenouse Leukemia (CML).

When describing their experiences with Doernbecher, both young ladies used the same word - amazing.

'Doernbecher is amazing - I would not have made it if I had not been up there. The nurses are like family - they want to know you for the person you are,' Roth said.

She added that at the hospital in the fall, she went through four months of chemotherapy and 14 days of radiation, and will now have to go back through the process again.

Huddleston said, 'It's an amazing hospital. When I toured Doernbecher, they knew me and they are going to try to work it so Ashley and I can have adjoining rooms when we undergo treatment.'

In addition to chemo and radiation, Huddleston will have a bone marrow transplant.

Roth and Huddleston have one other thing in common - now that they have experienced the hospital, they both want careers in the medical field.

'I've always been terrified of needles, but now I realize that I might want to go into a career as an oncology nurse,' Huddleston said.

Roth explained that she has always wanted a career in medicine, but now that she has seen children being treated at Doernbecher, she has a whole new perspective.

'The children are amazing; they are inspiring. I want to be a hematology oncology nurse. I know it will be difficult, but I want to help people go through this,' she said.

Sparrow Club

The Sparrow Club 'adopted' both Marissa Huddleston and Ashley Roth. The organization sets up a bank account that the girls can access to help defray medical or other expenses, and the family is not taxed for those funds. To donate money, send checks to Gladstone High School, 18800 Portland Ave., Gladstone 97027-1698, or call the business office at 503-655-2544. Put Doernbecher Week or Sparrow Club on the memo line.

Activities for Doernbecher Week:

Benefit concert in the cafeteria on May 1. Tickets are $6, and a barbecue will follow.

During the week of May 5 through May 9, the following events will be ongoing -

Buy a dolly head poster for $1, and enter to win prizes; Rent-A-Date - buy raffle tickets from participants and go on dates to local restaurants; horse poop bingo - buy one ticket for a designated square on the marked playing field for $3 or five for $2, then wait to see if the horse poops in your square to win $200; and root beer float sales all week for $1.

On May 9, check out who wins the Mr. Gladiator Contest, as male participants model formal wear, beachwear and spirit wear, and then sing karaoke.

That same day, the school will hold a carnival in Max Patterson Park for elementary and middle school students.

To donate money to Doernbecher Hospital, send checks to Gladstone High School, 18800 Portland Ave., Gladstone 97027-1698, or call the business office at 503-655-2544. Please put Doernbecher Week or Sparrow Club on the memo line.