ST. MARYS — Katie Vanderhorst was diagnosed in October 2015 with lymphoma. The St. Marys native, now a resident of Dublin, Ohio, participated Saturday in the 10th annual Tailgate for Cancer at the Eagles lodge in St. Marys.
“I was pregnant at the time, 15 weeks pregnant with my daughter. So I got in at the James [Cancer Institute] but it takes a while to get in at the James. The group from the Tailgate for Cancer made some phone calls and got me in sooner, which was much appreciated because when you hear you have cancer you want to get seen as soon as possible. The James took wonderful care of me. I went through six rounds of chemotherapy while pregnant and beat cancer and had a healthy baby girl at the end,” she said.
As a survivor, she knows the impact the event has on others like her.
“I love this event. My husband and I have become sponsors of the event. As soon as I was going through all the chemo, we would sit in the hospital and say, ‘How can we give back and what can we do to help?’ We decided right away we were going to start sponsoring this event. They help so many people from the community. It’s just so nice to have the James as a backup plan for people. They can get wonderful treatment around here, but if they want to go get another opinion and just make sure that the best of the best doctors are recommending the same type of plan, then they know they are doing everything possible to beat their cancer,” she said.
Traci Lauth helped organize the Tailgate for Cancer. The event itself has raised nearly $1 million.
“It takes a couple of days to get everything finalized and everything. Usually in the first part of November we’ll distribute all our funds that we all agree on where the funds are going to go to. We give to the James [Cancer Institute] for cancer research. We give to the Auglaize and Mercer County Cancer Associations and then we also give to the Crippled Children’s Association. With this being our 10th year, we might even add a couple of extra organizations when we decide on everything,” said Lauth.
Lauth was appreciative of the community support the event has received throughout the years.
“When we first started, it was just going to be a one-year event. Our goal was $1,000. We’re very surprised,” said Lauth.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.