Last January, a 22-year-old Sumner High School graduate who is now a senior at Oregon State University learned she had stage 3 Lymphoma, and her normal life of friends, work and school came to a halt.
“This was the hardest thing,” Jordan Swarthout said.
For her six cycles of chemotherapy, Swarthout returned home to Sumner.
“It was nice to go home to the support of my family,” she said. “I hated having to stop classes. I love school, and having to postpone it for so long was hard.”
Now done with chemotherapy, Swarthout said she is able to return to her senior year in Corvallis, Ore.
But the cost of chemotherapy has left her with expensive medical bills.
That’s on top of the cost of tuition, which, according to Oregon State University’s website, can cost out-of-state students more than $23,000 annually.
“It’s hard to process how much it’s going to cost,” Swarthout said.
Just as Swarthout was coming to grips with the debt, a 17-year-old senior at Sumner High School came to her out of the blue.
Jessa Latawiec committed to chairing a color run to raise funds for Swarthout, with the help of the community and the Sumner High School leadership class. The event will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Sumner High School.
Latawiec only met Swarthout once. When Swarthout heard about a high school student, whom she didn’t even know, was leading the event, she was speechless.
“I didn’t even know what to say,” Swarthout said. “It’s just amazing that someone – a high school student – would do that for me.”
Latawiec said she loves to help people.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to help Jordan,” Latawiec said. “She was so sweet when I met her.”
Swarthout said she is thankful for the color run.
“Latawiec has put her heart into the event,” said John Norlin, Latawiec’s teacher and adviser of the Sumner High School Leadership class. “It’s amazing for a student do something that people get paid to do for a living, while keeping up with actually being a student.”
The run costs $35 per participant if they’re registered before Saturday. Day-of-event registration costs $40 but doesn’t guarantee a T-shirt. Registration will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday.
To register, visit www.johnnorlin.com and click the “color run registration” button. Donations also will be accepted from people who are unable to run in the event.
Jesse Major is a freelance reporter for the Herald.