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Athena girl raises money for cancer center

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Brooke Boothman

Nine-year-old Brooke Boothman of Athena displays one of her bracelets. Boothman made and sold bracelets to support the Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center in Walla Walla, Wash.

ATHENA — Nine-year-old Brooke Boothman wanted a way to honor a friend from school who survived cancer. So she came up with a way to help others facing a similar battle.

Boothman made and sold bracelets to support the Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center in Walla Walla, Washington.

Her goal was to raise $100 by selling the bracelets for $20 each. She ended up collecting almost three times her goal.

The Athena youth said the satisfaction of helping other people feels good.

“I feel kind of like a superhero,” she said.

The project began when she heard her friend had cancer.

“I thought it would be fun to make bracelets to help other people who get cancer,” the girl said.

Mariah McQuown, Boothman’s mother, said her daughter’s efforts didn’t surprise her.

“She’s always been a helper to everyone,” McQuown said. “She always goes above and beyond. She always wants to volunteer. I think it’s very sweet of her.”

Boothman said the experience makes her want to help more people, though she says she’s not quite sure how yet. She knows she wants to do more volunteering.

McQuown said her daughter got support in the project from her whole family.

“We bought the supplies online,” McQuown said. “It was a lot more work than she expected. … So myself, her stepdad, her brother — we all kind of helped because we all wanted to get them out to make money.”

The family sold some bracelets on their own, and others are being sold at the cancer center’s gift shop.

The money is being donated through the Providence St. Mary Foundation.

Lindsey Oldridge, the foundation’s chief philanthropy officer, said she was touched by the young girl’s kindness.

“I think it’s really great that during a time when things are so hard and there is so much negativity in the world and people are struggling, this child decided to find a way to put positivity out in the world and do something good,” Oldridge said. “This is really special because Brooke’s mom works at Providence.”

Oldridge said McQuown and Boothman approached her about the needs at the cancer center.

While it may not seem like a lot of money, $300 can go a long way, she said.

“Three hundred dollars means a lot,” Oldridge said. “Three hundred dollars can mean three garments. Garments are about $100 each, and we provide them to patients who do not have insurance. They are used after surgery to reduce swelling.

“Three hundred dollars can mean gas cards for patients who may be traveling from Eastern Oregon for treatment. It can also mean art supplies for patients who aren’t able to come into the center for art therapy and painting workshops.”

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at jeremyburnham@wwub.com or 509-551-8896.

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