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Pleasant Valley senior helping her classmate battling cancer

  • LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Jamie Dorshimer, fifth from right, and a bunch of friends, held a car wash for Jonathan Gilliam, a cancer patient, fourth from right, next to Jamie.
    LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Jamie Dorshimer, fifth from right, and a bunch of friends, held a car wash for Jonathan Gilliam, a cancer patient, fourth from right, next to Jamie.
Published August 16. 2012 05:02PM

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes good people want to help do something nice for those who have suffered some bad luck.

When Jamie Dorshimer, a senior at Pleasant Valley High School, heard her classmate Jonathan Gilliam had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, she just knew she had to do something to show she and others cared.

"I wanted to be a part of his battle against cancer and to help the family in some way. I talked to my mom and we came up with the idea of a carwash. I posted it on Facebook and a bunch of kids came on board," says Jamie.

The event took place last Sunday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at West End Physical Therapy, located on the corner of Rt. 209 and Silver Spring Boulevard in Kresgeville.

Jonathan was there to thank everyone for their participation. He had tests on Friday afternoon with his oncologist. He's hoping that the cancer has diminished enough so he won't need a second surgery and that the cancer is gone. He's still waiting to hear the results.

No one could have been more surprised than Jonathan and his family when he went for a physical to get his driver's license permit and the doctor told him something wasn't quite right. He underwent testing and on May 1 he was given the news that a tumor had been found.

When he was told he had cancer, he says he wasn't "too bothered but my parents were pretty stressed."

He had surgery to remove a tumor from his right testicle. The cancer had spread to his abdominal lymph node and the surgeon sent him to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). May 8 was his last day of school.

He entered CHOP on May 9 but the doctors didn't want to do surgery until his lymph nodes had shrunk. Arrangements were made for him to receive chemotherapy starting June 1 at Lehigh Valley Hospital's Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest sites.

July 27 was his last treatment and he had his picc line removed.

His mother, Jody Deibler, says that now that it's over, it's a lot easier dealing with what he went through.

A social worker had spoken to her and asked if they were going to be OK.

"I told her we were," says Jody. "We were brought up to never ask for help. At first I wasn't sure about this carwash, but I've changed my mind. Jamie really wants to help. I think she's a Godsend. She's wonderful for putting this together."

Jamie's mother, Terri Dorshimer, says that this is something Jamie feels very strongly about. When she was in kindergarten, a classmate had cancer and died. From that moment on, she said she was going to fight cancer.

Her goal has never wavered. After graduation, she plans to further her studies to become an oncology nurse, specializing in pediatric oncology or work in a burn unit.

After graduation, Jonathan plans to attend college to become a technical engineer.

Jamie hopes the carwash showed Jonathan that a lot of people care about him. The funds they earned from it will help Jonathan's family defray some of the costs of his treatments.

Jamie had another surprise for Jonathan. Her dad, Colin Dorshimer, is a driver of monster trucks and his family has always followed him on the circuit. At the July 15 Bloomsburg 4 X 4 Jamboree, Jamie was talking to Dan Runte from Missouri, one of the most daring and accomplished drivers of the Big Foot Monster Trucks who holds the Guinness World Record for the longest ramp jump in a monster truck, 202 feet over a jetliner in 1999.

She told him about Jonathan. He asked her what could he do to help and she told him that Jonathan was a monster truck fan. Runte took Jamie to his sales tent and told her to pick any shirt out for Jonathan and he signed it, along with his partner Darren. Later, he gave Jamie his official driver's shirt, also autographed.

When Jamie gave the shirts to Jonathan, he was really thrilled and he proudly wore one of the shirts at the car wash.

If you would like to help Jamie and friends do a good thing for a good guy, call (610) 681-4776.

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