About two years ago, Dawn Scholl of Tiffin had just taken a job as a hospice nurse with Stein Hospice. Three months later, she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and found herself unable to work. She was going to Findlay for treatments and struggling to pay $600 per month to keep her health insurance valid.
Then she learned about Financial Assistance for Cancer Treatment, which helped her with money for transportation to and from treatments and for prescriptions. Scholl spoke to the crowd who had come to the 2014 Polar Bear Jump Saturday at Camden Falls. With her was her daughter, Andrea, and her grandson, Donovan.
During the breakfast before the jump, Deb Tiell, president of FACT, came to the podium to present a check for $10,000 to the organization. The money had come from her business clients at Tiell Financial Group. Although Tiell has taken the plunge in the past, she left that to relatives and co-workers this year. She emphasized that FACT uses its income to help cancer patients.
"In 2013, we raised $91,461 and we gave away, $92,440 ... One hundred percent of the money goes back to the people," Tiell said.
Then she turned over the microphone to Scholl, who said she wasn't up to a leap into frigid water herself. She thanked everyone who had collected donations for FACT and had come to support the cause. Sharing her story unleashed emotions.
"By the time I was diagnosed, I had no disability insurance. I did not know what I was going to do. I could not work," Scholl said.
She had to use funds from her retirement account to get by. Besides the pain and fatigue from her treatments, Scholl worried she might not be around to see her first grandchild. Making the connection with FACT eased the burden.
"I don't like to ask for help, but my community helped me," Scholl said.
Surviving cancer has given Scholl a new outlook on life and a greater appreciation for all she has. At her most recent check-up, she was declared in remission. Scholl has returned to work as a hospice nurse and has cared for a relative of a man who gave her a gift card while she was in treatment for cancer.
"We all need to take care of one another. I think that's what it's all about." Scholl said. "Here we are helping one another. This just makes my heart feel so good."
Others who spoke to the breakfast crowd included Nolan Miller, who had collected $550 in donations, and Patrick Marinis, a teacher from Seneca East Schools. After leading a cheer to rev up the jumpers, Marinis turned over $1,500 students had collected. He also introduced his superintendent, Laura Kagy, who said the snow days had interfered with the collection for FACT. She expects more money will be coming in. She was about to do her part by making the jump herself.
"Hopefully, I'll live to tell about it," she joked.
Adam Smith, general manager and co-owner of Camden Falls, thanked the Tiffin University Women's Golf Team whose members helped with registration and T-shirts. He also recognized the Heidelberg University men's baseball team for assistance in setting up the dining room. In addition, 34 of the 37 baseball players had agreed to make the jump for FACT.