DAYTON, Ohio – When donors supported the Community Blood Center “Wild About Alaska Adventure for Two Summer Blood Drive” they were helping patients like David Stammen, a local teenager surviving lymphoma. Saturday, Sept. 3 is the final day to enter the drawing for the grand prize custom Alaska vacation for two by registering to donate. For anyone not in the drawing, David has a word of advice: don’t miss this chance!
David was a sophomore at Houston High School last December when he was diagnosed with Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. “It was not good,” said his dad Doug Stammen, a Sidney firefighter. “They told us to get our affairs in order.”
David turned 16 in the hospital. “My first round of chemotherapy was at the beginning of January, the day after my birthday,” he said. The Houston community rallied around him with fundraisers, including a 5K race that raised $18,000. David completed treatment in May and is cancer free.
On his way to recovery David and his family got a surprise from the Special Wish Foundation, an organization dedicated to granting wishes of children under the age of 21 diagnosed with a life-threatening disorder. David was granted his special wish of traveling to Homer, Alaska – known as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.”
David flew to Anchorage in June with his mom and dad. His grandparents drove all the way from Florida to join them. They then drove 218 miles southwest to Homer.
David was amazed by the Alaska adventure. “Wildlife… everywhere you look,” he said. “Trees everywhere… mountains everywhere… eagles everywhere.”
The drive to Homer took four hours, but the return trip took twice as long as they made stops along the way, absorbing all they could of the wild country.
David is now so in love with Alaska, he hopes to return for a summer job. Doug summed up the experience by saying, “If it’s not on your bucket list, it needs to be.”