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Fundraiser set for local cancer patient

Friday, August 28, 2009

GREENCASTLE -- A Ball State University student with Putnam County roots has mounted a campaign to help her "second mother" in her battle against a rare form of cancer.

Janella Edwards Whittaker of Greencastle has suffered from Paraganglioma -- tumors that are found in the abdomen, thorax and head and neck region.

Jada Buchanan, a graduate of South Putnam High School and current senior public relations major at BSU, has sent a request for donations to help with Whittaker's medical expenses out through her e-mail and Facebook accounts.

"Janella and my mom have been friends since her daughter and I began showing horses together more than 15 years ago," Buchanan said. "If you check my Facebook photos, you will see her identified in many pictures. She is a kind, loyal person with a big heart and zest for life."

Buchanan said that Paraganglioma is a "recurring disease," and that Whittaker had undergone surgery in the past to remove tumors. However, she now has multiple tumors that are inoperable.

"The good news is that Janella has been approved for a treatment at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital in New York City," Buchanan said. "This treatment has shown promise in attacking these type of tumors by shrinking them. My mom and Janella anticipate to be leaving for New York as soon as possible and will be there for approximately a week."

Whittaker, who relies now on Medicare and disability to pay for her medical care, will be hospitalized for one day while she receives the treatment, a form of nuclear medicine. After treatment, she will have to stay in New York for several more days so she can be monitored by doctors.

"My mom will be covering her own expenses and will help with the lodging expenses as much as she can," Buchanan said. "She is estimating that Janella will need approximately $1,500 for this trip. Any funds donated in excess of the New York expenses will be used to help with medical bills she has already incurred."

Whittaker is the daughter of Gerald and Dorothy Edwards.

A fundraiser for Whittaker is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members of the Putnam County 4-H Horse and Pony Club will host a car wash in the parking lot of the Tractor Supply Co. store in Greencastle.

"Those of you that know Janella know that she hates being the focus of attention and that it is very difficult for her to accept help," Buchanan said.

Money orders and cash can be sent to Janella Whittaker, 3585 W. C.R. 450S, Greencastle, IN 46135.

Buchanan requested that no checks be sent.

"I don't want (Whittaker) to have to deal with getting them cashed," she said. "She is having a very hard time right now and the limit amount of movement she has to do is best."

Donations may also be mailed to Valerie Buchanan, 5604 S. C.R. 300W, Greencastle, IN 46135. 

"I cannot promise you anything other than knowing that your donation has helped a truly wonderful lady have some hope and not so many worries associated with getting the only viable treatment available to her at this point," Buchanan said. "Janella is a second mom to me. She has seen me grow over the years and has been there at all of my big accomplishments so far. Please help me make sure she is there to see me graduate from Ball State this May, get my first big job, get married and start a family."

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I am Valerie Buchanan - Janella's best friend. I want to notify the Banner Graphic readers that we will not be traveling to New York for treatment. We sincerely appreciate your prayers and any donations received will be used for past and future medical bills for Janella.

-- Posted by buchanan on Fri, Aug 28, 2009, at 9:09 AM

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