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Community sends help 1,000 miles away

Philanthropy — After former resident diagnosed with cancer, community joins to pay for treatment


About seven years ago, Stevi Smallwood moved from Newberg to California. But when she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia Oct. 21, the Newberg community banded together to help her.

“It’s overwhelming,” Smallwood said. “Just to have family, friends and even strangers helping is overwhelming. We were a part of the community for so long and it’s great to see how everybody came together. I feel bad for what it is, but I’m glad to see it.”

Since the diagnosis, Smallwood’s cousins Donny and April Lehmann have been raising money to help cover the cost of her medical treatments. This includes a GoFundMe account — which has raised more than $13,000 to date — selling lanyards at the schools, and even a bake sale put on by someone in Newberg.

The first fundraising event will be a Texas Hold’em event Dec. 7.

“Johnson’s Flooring is allowing us to have it there,” Donny Lehmann said.

Jimmy and Melodie Farmer are donating the poker tables as well as the staff to run the games.

Games will start at 4 p.m. and go until a winner is crowned. The initial buy-in is $25, with re-buy at $20. In addition to the game itself, April Lehmann said they are hoping to have a silent auction.

“Everyone’s going to gather to make baskets and we will have a silent auction as much as we can, depending on the quantity we receive,” she said.

Overall, she said they are hoping to raise $250,000 for Smallwood. From this event, the goal is about $4,000.

“(We are) just confirmed at 50 (participants) right now, but that’s just on Facebook, not including word of mouth,” she said. “We have 26 potential (as well), so just with those particular buy-ins it’s $2,000.”

Donny Lehmann said the event can host about 100 players, but everyone is welcome to come to the silent auction, even if they can’t play.

The end goal would be to cover all of Smallwood’s medical expenses, as well as provide a cushion in case of any future hospital visits.

“We knew she was going to be in the hospital for 30 days, now it’s longer,” April Lehmann said. “So that’s kind of an estimate. We’re just trying to alleviate their stress.”

Smallwood said right now she is in remission, which occurred from about 30 days of strong chemotherapy.

“Now I have 10 weeks of chemo just to make sure it doesn’t come back, then for maintenance I’ll take it in a pill form,” she said. “It’s going good, but the support is what is keeping me going. I couldn’t ask for a better community.”

To donate to Smallwood’s cause, visit www.gofundme. com/4xafio. For more information about the Texas Hold’em event, visit on.fb.me/18m7e98.




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