Anna Stodola learned first hand about cancer when she was just in seventh grade. She lives in a small town and had a group three best friends. They were together so much, they were labeled the “four amigos.” One day, one of the amigos, Allie was not in school. It was odd, but Anna called once she got home. Allie said she had to miss school that day because of a doctor’s appointment. The doctor advised Allie and her family that she had Hodgkin’s Disase, a form of cancer. Allie had an operation that week and they removed what they could of the cancer. Although her cancer was only in stage 1-A, she would still have to undergo chemotherapy. This was happening a week before her 13th birthday.
The other amigos vowed to get through this together. The school had an assembly to let everyone know that Allie would only be in school about one week a month. Anna had never had someone close to her diagnosed with cancer, and she wanted to do something to help out.
The three friends started out small, asking the hospital where Allie was receiving her chemotherapy what they thought would help the patients the most. They said that hours in the hospital could get long and boring, so anything to entertain the kids would help. Anna and the amigos decided to hold a children’s video and book drive at their school. They requested that the movies be rated G or PG and in good condition. Initially, only a few donations came in; however, at the end of two months they received 500-700 movies for the kids and several boxes of books.
The girls then held a craft show to raise money. They asked local businesses to donate gift certificates or items to raffle, asked several local artists to donate crafts to be sold and the girls made crafts to sell. The school let them use the cafeteria for the event. Anna and her friends did all of the advertising and recruited volunteers from school to help. The craft show was on May 10, 2002, and it was a success. They played educational movies about cancer, sold refreshments, raffled off the gift certificates, had games for the kids, and sold lots of crafts. The craft show raised a few thousand dollars, which the girls used to buy games, dress-up materials, craft supplies and toys for the kids who were receiving cancer treatments.
The girls delivered the items to the children in July and also celebrated with Allie. She received news that the cancer was gone! Allie was elated and the other children were excited to know that people who did not know them personally cared enough to do so much to make them happy.
Allie and her friends are continuing their crusade to help bring comfort to cancer patients. They are now working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They are working on a special project and have raised $500 through candy sales to date. They will continue until they are able to grant their second wish. Their first wish was that their amigo would be cured of cancer. Allie is still cancer free and has been in remission for more than a year. Volunteering is an integral part of Allie’s life now as well as a great part of the four amigos’ friendship.