Junior raising funds for mother coping with cancer

By Tehya Tournier

With a bright smile on her face, junior Sarah Wagner grins through her mother’s tough situation and stays positive for her family.

Julie Paup was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Two weeks later, she and her family found out it was terminal.

“We are really close. I usually go to her with all of my issues or just to talk. We do a lot of stuff together too,” Wagner said.

Wagner said she sees her mother as a strong person.

“She doesn’t give up when she’s under pressure, and she’s happy a lot, almost all the time.”

Wagner and her family had started a gofundme page for her mother and have gotten lots of people in the Cedar Valley community’s love and support.

“After we made the account, I told her how much we have been raising, and she really broke down, started crying because she was so shocked that so many people have donated for her and have been thinking of her and what she is going through.”

Paup said what her family did was so sweet. She said for them to come up with an idea like that for her what was very special.

“Oh gosh, I cried. The generosity of our friends and family has been unbelievable. It’s just amazing how many people out there are willing to support you and help you.”

The Wagner family stays strong through this difficult and frustrating time by not giving in to the “what if” thoughts.

“We try to not let the negative stuff hit us so hard,” Wagner said. “We just think it can keep getting better, and we just want to think positively about it. If we don’t, then things might not go as well or my mom could also lose hope.”

Paup said by having a positive attitude it helps tremendously with getting better. She said if one stays negative all the time, it brings everyone else down and it takes longer to recover.

“I feel like I have to be there for the girls and for my husband because it’s hard to live with somebody who’s sick. I don’t like it. I don’t like having to be this way, and I try to be as positive and normal as I can.”

Paup said a lot of progress has been made in the last few months, and she is working hard every day in gaining her strength back.

“I am getting better, but I still have a little ways to go. Every day I’m getting stronger. I was really weak because I lost a lot of muscle from being in the hospital. I lost a lot of weight and muscle, so I just have to do lots of physical therapy, and I’m still recuperating from the last several months.”

However, Paup’s cancer has led to other problems. Wagner said the doctors cannot give her a liver transplant due to the cancer in her body.

In recuperating from this, Wagner said her mother had just spent four weeks at Covenant Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, but now she has been home for a month and a half.

A healthy person’s liver numbers should be roughly around 10,000-20,000. Wagner said her mom’s liver numbers have gone down 3,000, and that every day it is getting better.

“Yeah, it scares me a lot,” she said, “but we usually just try to live in the moment and not think about how things could go and what could happen. It could also get my mom down too.”

Paup said she was in total shock when she first found out about her cancer.

“It was never something I expected to hear.”

She said she was very scared and worried about telling her kids, nervous how they would handle the startling news. Little did she know they would end up being her biggest supporters.

“Luckily they asked questions and handled it very well. I couldn’t do it without my family, from my husband to the girls and my siblings and parents, the girls’ dad — they all have been very supportive,” Paup said.

Still smiling and making the best of a heart wrenching life situation, Wagner encouraged everyone to ask her about the bracelets she is selling for her mom. She is selling them $2 for one bracelet, and they will be available until she runs out.

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