OTTOVILLE — Kalida resident Courtney Ehrnsberger was only 25 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer Dec. 31, 2018, two weeks after giving birth to her twin sons, Carter and Caden.
Ehrnsberger, who is now 26, shared her story with Ottoville Local School students Friday during the 14th annual Ottoville Cancer Walk for grades kindergarten through 12th grade.
The walk — called “Rock Out To Knock Out Cancer” — was held at the school and organized by the school’s Family Careers and Community Leaders of America organization members. The students spent Thursday and Friday drawing awareness to the topic of cancer by raising funds for Putnam County and Delphos Relay For Life Cancer walks.
Ehrnsberger, a 2011 Kalida High School graduate, shared her story prior to the walk and said she thought the bump was a clogged duct. She had an ultra sound and biopsy performed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It’s very important to raise funds for the American Cancer society because they are trying to come up with a cure. Any money that can be raised is awesome,” Ehrnsberger said. She walked Friday with the students and plans to participate in Putnam County and Delphos relays. She will have a double mastectomy on May 31 and emphasized that breast self exams are important.
Students at the school Thursday night participated in a glow walk and had a bake sale and raffle tickets were sold to raise funds for ACS. There was an opening ceremony Friday morning at the school where cancer survivors from the community attended and were presented with a carnation, pin and poem and led the walkers in a survivor’s lap.
The students so far this year have raised approximately $7,500 for the ACS through fundraising efforts such as the eighth grade chicken dinner, T-shirt sales, Dip N’ Dots and dodgeball. The goal is to raise over the $100,000 total mark for all 14 years of the cancer walk combined.
Olivia Gamble, FCCLA president, said she hopes the students understand where the funds are going.
“It’s important to raise funds funds for those who have cancer. We started planning three months ago and formed committees to organize the event,” Gamble said.
As participants walked around the track outside, Gamble read names of honor or in memory of those locally whose lives have been effected by cancer. Students wrote down a name of a person who they knew whose life had been effected by cancer and paid $1 that was donated to ACS.
Students also were able to purchase cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate for breakfast and tacos and soda for lunch with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Raffle items also were available such as snack baskets, tickets to Cedar Point and a candy basket.
The freshman class made posters that addressed cancers such as childhood cancer, colon cancer facts, brain cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that hung on the walls in the hallway.
Cheryl Eddy, ACS community development manager, attended Friday’s opening ceremony and said one in three people in the United States will get cancer in their lifetime.
“ACS is currently funding more than $390 million in cancer research grants and have invested more than $4.6 billion on cancer research since 1946,” Eddy said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.