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Dinner on Saturday to benefit cancer-stricken Champion woman

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 1:58 a.m.

In June, Debbie White had just finished replenishing the landscape surrounding the Arnold Palmer Pavilion at Mountain View Medical Park in Unity with a variety of flower seeds.

At the time, White, 53, had just undergone more than one year of chemotherapy at the facility while also enduring several surgeries for stomach cancer.

Employees of the facility reciprocated White's largesse by planting flowers at her home in Champion where she resides with her husband, Randy.

“Next year, it will look much prettier; I can't wait,” said White at the time.

Soon after that, horrible news struck.

The cancer White thought she was rid of following a surgery to remover most of her stomach had returned.

“The cells are so tiny, and the doctors told me they'd found more of them,” White said quietly over the phone last week.

Now she faces an untold amount of additional medical treatments in the near future which will require an equally unquantified amount of money to finance them all.

With that in mind, the couple's eldest daughter, 28-year-old Sarah Harshman of Bryans Road, Md., began thinking of a way to raise money to help pay for her mother's future medical fees along with everyday expenses including property taxes and oil to heat the home.

Harshman turned to to the Rev. Paul Freidhof, pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Saltlick, the family's place of worship.

“I got a hold of our pastor just to see if something we could pull together,” Harshman said. “Mom's on her third round of chemo. We are all very sad that it's back.”

Including Freidhof, who immediately responded by helping to organize a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the church located on Calvary Church Road.“With winter coming, Randy and Debbie are going to have a lot of unexpected expenses,” Freidhof said. “We want to be able to help raise as much money for them as we can. It seems she's going to need extended medical treatment.”

In addition to spaghetti, rolls, salad and dessert and drinks prepared by the Calvary United Methodist Women, attendees will have the chance to win gift baskets via raffle and to by hope bracelets for $15 apiece made by Harshman's friend, Amanda Lent.

A.J. Panian is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or