Friends and family are planning a benefit for the family of Julie Gower.
Julie is a 15-year-old sophomore at Hutsonville High School who was recently diagnosed with Stage I Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
She is the daughter of Steve and Trish Gower of rural West Union. She has two sisters, Miranda Steinman and Rachel Gower; and a brother, Jerry Gower.
"Her stage is Hodgkins 2a non-bulky," said Julie's mother, Tisha Gower, "Which simply means it was found in more than one area, but still only above the diaphragm, and no tumors were over six centimeters."
This particular cancer has a high treatment success rate, and is curable if caught early and treated correctly.
Julie has already undergone several tests to make sure she is healthy enough to handle the chemotherapy. Her IV port has been put in and she had a bone marrow draw done. She has already begun treatment and is scheduled for a four-month treatment plan.
According to friends and family, Julie is a bright spirit. She has been on the homecoming court both years in high school. She is active in school sports including volleyball and track, and worked at the Wabash Coffee House in Hutsonville.
"Her smile lights up the room and there is not a person who has met her that hasn't been touched in a positive way," said organizer Chrissy Arvin.
Julie will be going to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis for treatments; she and family will have to spend at least three days per trip. These trips will be costly, both medically and for things like food, fuel and lodging.
There is a benefit dinner planned for the family Thursday, Feb. 27, at Hutsonville schools in the cafeteria and commons area. The benefit will have a lasagna dinner from 4-7 p.m. catered by Jason Bogard.
Arvin said they are looking for donations to make this event a success. "We still need items such as plates, silverware, napkins, cups, drinks and desserts," she said. "We also are looking for items to raffle off in a silent auction that night."
These items could include gift certificates or cards, products that are privately sold, or anything else one can think of that people would want to win at an auction.
Organizers also have Team Julie T-shirts and bracelets to sell preceding the event. Cash donations are also being accepted.
Additional fundraisers include the raffle of a Henry Golden Boy .22 rifle, tickets are $10 each or 3 for $25, limit of 300 tickets will be sold. Tickets area available by contacting Kerry Monk by phone or text 217-279-3904 or email@example.com. She will be selling them the night of the benefit. Drawing will be held March 30, or when all 300 are sold, whichever comes first. Buyers must have a valid FOID card to pick up at Sacky's Firearms.
Monk will also be doing purple hair streaks at her salon, along with selling purple feathers, tinsel, hair clip extensions or hair chalk with proceeds going to the Gower family.
Another recent donation for silent auction is a serger sewing machine, which lists for $3,000 and can be viewed at Robinson Sew n Vac.
Bids will be taken through the benefit at HHS on Feb. 27. Bids can be called or text to Kerry Monk at 217-279-3904 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook on the "Prayers for Julie" page under the post for it.
They are asking for donations to be collected by Tuesday, Feb. 25. Arvin said she can pick up any items people would to donate.
To contact Arvin call 618-554-2765 or by email at Zellers1@hotmail.com
You can also check out the fundraiser page at www.youcaring.com/standwithjulie, or on Facebook at Prayers for Julie Gower.
There is also an account at First Financial Bank for those who aren't comfortable donating online or cannot attend the dinner. It is called "Team Julie Gower." Donations can be made at any First Financial Bank.