Just a few weeks after 2011 Soldotna High School graduate Cheyenne Stettler was diagnosed with Leukemia and flown to Seattle for aggressive treatment, her best friends Halley Griebel and Ashley Duwe went to work to rally the community in support of their friend.
Enlisting their parents a Pizza Feed benefit was soon planned, a direct deposit account set up at Wells Fargo, and "Hope for Cheyenne" donation jars started appearing at places of business. Last Wednesday over 500 people crowded into the Soldotna Sport Center to show their love and support, eat pizza, bid on donated items, and buy chances to win prizes. "She has a lot of friends and is loved very much and under the direction of our fearless leader Joyce Duwe, who I call the Mama Bear of this event, Wednesday was a tremendous success even by this community's high reputation for giving," said Kelly Griebel who helped organize the Pizza Feed.
According to Griebel over 250 some silent auction items were donated, plus another 50 items for the dollar raffle and another 30 high value items for the live auction done by Norm Blakeley assisted by Brooke Blood.
"More than $39,000 was raised at the event alone and another $15,000 has come in so far from the direct deposit at Wells Fargo and the Hope for Cheyenne donation jars around town," she reported to the Dispatch. One of the first live auction items was a blanket made by Halley Griebel that was embroidered with Cheyenne's initials in her favorite colors with the Leukemia ribbon logo attached. It was purchased for $450 by Trina Hakkinen-Sholin and will be mailed to Cheyenne as a gift to represent the warmth and support of friends at home.
Griebel says that Cheyenne is having some better days now after her first round of chemotherapy failed to kill the cancer,
"When she gets her strength up and a donor is found they'll do a bone marrow transplant so all this energy and support is a real blessing for her battle," she said. Anyone not listed in the donor directory can sign up by going on line and visiting the Hope for Cheyenne page, "There's a link there where people can sign up to be a bone marrow donor. This is lengthy procedure and we probably won't have her back for another seven months, the donation cans will remain out so people can continue to give, or people can drop off donations at Freedom Realty in Soldotna or make direct deposits to Cheyenne Stettler. # 7861882897 at Wells Fargo, but we are confident she can beat this and come home to pursue her dreams and grateful to this community," added Griebel.