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Brooke Second-Grader Inspires CHOP Fundraiser

An 8-year-old student had a wish granted Thursday during a school assembly.

Brooke Elementary second-grader Julia Eveland doesn't look like a warrior on the outside, unles warriors wear zebra-striped hats with big pink flowers. 

On second thought, maybe that's exactly what warriors should wear.

Julia stood up before her classmates in her striped hat today and beamed as she presented a check for $6,477.10 to Matt DiBattista from the Childrens' Hospital of Philadelphia. 

School staff, parents and other community members held several events to raise the money. There was a basket raffle and a dinner; parents paid a few dollars to come to school and eat lunch with their children; and classrooms collected donations. 

According to Julia, she wished for the money to be donated to research scientists at CHOP because while at CHOP for treatment, Julia said, she "saw a lot of sick kids and felt bad for them."

Julia has been battling cancer since just before her fifth birthday. She was first diagnosed with a stage three Wilms' tumor, a type of childhood kidney cancer, and has had a kidney, adrenal glands and lymph glands removed. She also went through courses of chemotherapy and radiation. 

Julia was cancer-free for about a year, and then has suffered three relapses in succession. The latest diagnosis showed that the cancer had spread to her lungs, and Julia has endured more chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.  

Julia's mother Janet Eveland said that as of Monday, the scans were showing significant improvement. 

"There's no road map to treat this," Janet Eveland said. "It's one day at a time."

Julia has attended school as often as possible during her treatments - in fact, last spring, she never missed a day even when she was having chemotherapy.

Since her last relapse, attendance has been harder, but Brooke Elementary's staff has helped Julia feel like she wasn't missing out by setting up Skype sessions with her classmates.

Janet Eveland said that last year, for her seventh birthday, Julia wanted all her presents donated to CHOP, so they collected toys and other gifts and took them to the hospital.

"She's always thinking of the other kids," Janet said.

DiBattista, the event fundraising and community partnerships coordinator at CHOP, said it was amazing to see a community pull together because of a little girl's wish.  

Brooke Elementary's guidance counselor Sue Pronchik said, "Julia truly inspires us all. She has such zest for life and is a joy."

As the note on the donation check reminded us, Julia is working to kick cancer with style and "Grace" (Grace is Julia's middle name). 

Or, as Julia herself put it, "kicking cancer's butt!"

Liz April 26, 2013 at 01:21 PM
I've had the honor of having Julia in my class, and she has more spirit and courage then most adults!!! She gives the best hugs, and has the biggest heart!!! Way to go Julia!!!
Cindy Butler April 26, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Thanks for writing this beautiful article Alyson about amazing Julia, her family & the school's support...She's such an inspiration!
Susan Mary Reimer April 26, 2013 at 03:20 PM
What an awesome kid! Sending healing prayers her way!
Terry Wiest April 27, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Knowing Julia and the family first hand Julia is truly an inspiration. She has so much to teach all of us if we just open our eyes and listen carefully. Her mother Janet is also my inspiration she has clealy taught and showed Julia the way along with her dad John. We love you guys and our thoughts are with you every day.
Dynamo47 April 29, 2013 at 11:03 AM
God bless her! My thought and prayers go out to Julia and her family!

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