MINSTER — Minster Local Schools freshman Gabrielle Wehrman is currently collecting Christmas cards to send to fellow classmate Jackson Hogenkamp, who is battling Osteosarcoma.
To get a card to Hogenkamp, send to St. Augustine/St. Joseph Parish Center, c/o Jackson Hogenkamp, at 89 N. Lincoln St., Minster, 45865.
Hogenkamp, a sophomore, who has come to be known as “Action Jackson,” was diagnosed with the rare bone cancer in the summer of 2017. He has since undergone multiple surgeries, as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“(Hogenkamp) has recently been met with multiple challenges,” Wehrman said.
“Just recently, I have been given the challenge to figure out what I can do to make his Christmas happy and bright. I came up with the idea to get as many Christmas cards sent to him as possible.”
Wehrman said the idea came from a seed that was planted by her religion class teachers, Deb Wenning, Stacy Lamm, and Matt McDermitt, who gave an encouraging assignment.
“The religion teachers gave us a ‘challenge,’ which was basically homework to figure out something we could do for Jackson,” Wehrman said.
“I was sitting with my family that day and (the idea) kind of just came to me as I was thinking about what people usually do during Christmas.”
Wehrman said she has already collected just under 3,000 cards and hopes for “a lot more.”
“I managed to collect this many cards because it has blown up on our local social media websites,” she said.
Wehrman said every other day, she visits the parish center to pick up any cards that have been received, then hand-delivers them to Hogenkamp.
This isn’t the first time a classmate of Hogenkamp’s has taken the initiative to do something special for him.
In March of this year, freshman Brock Schulte organized and held a fundraising event, called Action Jackson 5K, at Four Seasons Recreational Park in Minster.
Schulte also thought of the idea after being prompted by a teacher, Mr. Muhlenkamp. One hundred percent of the proceeds went to the Hogenkamp family.
Wehrman’s hope is that this small gesture may play a big part in keeping the spirit of Christmas alive for Jackson and his family during a trying and stressful time.
“Our only goal is to put a smile on Jackson’s face.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.