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Summer Love

Summer Love

CausePage Fundraisng success

Summer's first CausePage started in June 2022 after she had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  A friend of the Brand family started a CausePage for Summer with two custom t-shirt designs and crowdfunding and rallied so much support. By August, over $19,500 was raised. That's a whole lotta t-shirts and a whole lotta love shown towards Summer and her family! The icing on the cake was that Summer was declared 'in remission' by the fall of that year.

Unfortunately, Summer fell into the rare 5% of Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients who would have their cancer return within 6 months. The family trusted our online fundraising platform and started another CausePage in 2023 with two new custom t-shirt designs (we call them CauseTees), which has raised another $7,000 to date!

Product fundraising + crowdfunding... it really can raise money, quick!

The back story - Part 1 | The Shift

For most of the spring in 2022, Summer hadn’t felt like herself. She contributed this feeling to the combination of the stress of college finals, triathlon training, and allergies. After weeks of medicine that didn’t help with the symptoms, an oncologist diagnosed her with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was surreal. The moment that happened, everything shifted in Summer’s life. Instead of talking about upcoming triathlons and summer trips, we are talking about chemotherapy and treatment options.

Summer is a collegiate athlete at Central College where she is majoring in pre-med. She just finished her sophomore year. For the summer months, she works at MVHS where she is part of the Strength and Speed Camp each morning from 5:30-10:30 and then heads to coaching softball practices/games after that. She impacts multiple student-athletes in Mount Vernon and Pella, where she coaches volleyball. She also works uptown at The Local and dog sits for multiple families in her free time. She does it all. She now has the choice of treating this cancer diagnosis as adversity or an opportunity to impact those around her with positivity and faith.

Summer’s world may have shifted, but her faith has not. As her uncle, Tim, stated, “She is one of the most disciplined and toughest competitors. She has been an overcomer all her life. She has built an awesome support team by the way she has lived her life – from family, friends, teammates, and communities that love her. She will not walk this alone. She is a Child of God and loved by the King of Heaven and Earth. Nothing can separate her from the love of Christ. Not even cancer.” In HIM, she will rise.

This diagnosis may have changed what this summer and the upcoming school year will look like, but we know Summer will continue to bless others in all she does. The verse on her support shirt is one she holds dear to her heart. Help us support Summer and her family…they will not be fighting this battle alone.

The back story - Part 2 | THE Rare 5%

A note from Summer...

Some may call this a setback--I choose to call it another opportunity to put God’s love and His plan on display. I was diagnosed with stage 2 classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June of 2022 after not feeling like myself for a few months prior. While this was surprising, I wasn’t too unsettled by the news because I was told over and over again that it was a very treatable type of cancer. I also have a very strong faith, and while I sometimes questioned why this was happening to me specifically, I never once doubted that God had a plan for me through this news. After my diagnosis I went through about 3 months of standard chemotherapy treatment at the Hall Perrine Cancer Center in Cedar Rapids. I was shown overwhelming support by my family, my friends, the community of Mount Vernon, and so many others. The daily messages and letters I got were what really helped me through each chemo session. I was, and still am, extremely thankful for the love and prayers I felt poured into me at that time. By the beginning of October, I was declared to be in remission.

All my life I have been very active and always on the go. As soon as I received the news that I was in remission, I started working out again. I am a junior at Central College where I participate on the triathlon team. I was bound and determined to be ready to compete by the time the 2023 spring season rolled around. While working out consistently again was a challenge, it was something that I had been anxiously waiting for all summer, and I was excited to be back in the gym and weight room. After a good month and a half of normalcy, I was finally starting to feel like myself again! That’s when everything changed… again.

On December 20, I went back to Cedar Rapids for a PET scan because I had noticed another lump in my neck the past few weeks. I told myself multiple times that IT couldn’t be back again… at least not this soon. I was feeling a little worse, but nothing more than headaches and being slightly more tired than normal. I was so excited to go back to school in January with my brothers and friends. I kept denying what I knew was going to be true. On December 22, the results were back, and they showed what I had been telling myself wasn’t true. My cancer was back. I was, to be quite honest, devastated. This time hit much harder than my initial diagnosis in June. I had done everything right. I was even in remission, until I wasn’t.

My oncologist in Cedar Rapids referred us to Mayo to meet with the same oncologist we had seen at the start of the summer when we took a visit to Rochester. Here I was told that I am part of the rare 5% of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients who reach remission only to have their cancer return within 6 months. There is no way to determine this prior to receiving treatments. The amazing news is that we were able to get a treatment plan put into place quickly and that I will be starting that on January 13th. This will be very different from what I went through over the summer. I will be receiving care exclusively through the Mayo Clinic and my treatment schedule will be much longer. If all goes according to plan, I will work through 3 phases, with the first phase being about 9 weeks of driving back and forth to Mayo each week. The second phase is a complete 7 week stay in Rochester. Then the third phase is a maintenance phase for 16 weeks. This will be long, and it will be a battle, but after having some time to come to terms with everything that’s happened since December 22nd, I am not afraid or discouraged. My faith is still the same. I will not be shaken. I know that God has a plan for me that is much greater than my own plan for myself.

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I will hold this promise close to my heart and pray that it comforts all of you as well.



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