La Conner’s Hero
Strength and courage in the face of a diagnosis of cancer is an inspiration to an entire town.
During this past summer, La Conner High School Sophomore Emma Hedbom noticed a bump on her stomach. Through the summer she had some stomach cramping. “I didn’t think it was a big deal, because it didn’t really bother me” said Emma. But as summer ended and school started, she began to feel nausea and had increased cramping. A trip to the doctor resulted in tests that diagnosed Emma with colon cancer, which is very rare for a fifteen- year old girl.
Emma’s Mom, Cindy is a hairdresser in the small town of La Conner. As Cindy canceled her many haircuts, perms, and foils to be with Emma at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, the word spread through the town. Soroptimist International of La Conner was in the midst of planning a community appreciation night after relocating into a new building for their thrift and consignment shoppe. Within hours of the news about Emma’s diagnosis, the club decided to give all the proceeds from the event to Emma’s family. Through word of mouth and emails, nearly a hundred people showed up to the event and the club raised nearly $2000.00 that night in donations and sales. A bake sale a few weeks later, with donated goodies from not only members of the club, but also several restaurants in town helped bring in even more donations. A tourist visiting La Conner bought a cookie and wrote a check for a hundred dollars!
The La Conner High School had a Tailgate Party at their Friday night Football Game and offered the proceeds of food sales to purchase a laptop for Emma to use in the hospital to keep in contact with her friends, school and church. La Conner merchants put out donation jars on their counters. To help Emma’s family, the local Gull Station offered to donate 5 cents per gallon for all gas sold. The La Conner Fruit and Produce Market organized a community Spaghetti Feed and plans to give all the proceeds to the family. This community event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14 at 6:00 at the La Conner Middle School.
Throughout the fall, Emma’s goal through all this was attend the Homecoming football game and dance at La Conner High School Homecoming, Emma said, “I'll be 16 on October 18 which is two days before homecoming. That's why I told them not to place a tube in my neck; I had them put it in my arm because I have a strapless dress. I already have the dress here. It kind of has a bubble skirt; it's short and red and has a black bow.” The whole town showed up to watch Emma crowned as the Sophomore Homecoming Queen!
Emma had her second round of chemotherapy last week. “I have friends who come in to visit every day. I have this group of three other friends. I know I will loose my hair in chemo. So the first day I have to wear a wig, we're all going to wear a wig, really bright multicolored neon wigs--blue, green, yellow, and probably pink. I'll wear the pink.” Emma explained.
Yes, Emma has been an inspiration to every resident in the town of La Conner. Her upbeat attitude in the face of this frightening diagnosis has filled our hearts. And as Emma has explained, “Yeah, I was surprised (about the diagnosis) but I've been really calm throughout the whole thing. I only get nervous at like really stupid stuff like doing projects in front of class. Like my hands sweat and I get really nervous. But with this, I feel fine.”
Emma Hedbom truly is La Conner’s Hero.
For additional Information about Emma go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/emmahedbom
La Conner's Hero
La Conner’s Hero
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