Climb to fight cancer: Stayton firefighters rally to support Breonia

February, 2010 Posted in Food And Drink, People

By Mary OwenBreonia Adam, left,  has been diagnosed with leukemia. Her nutritionist, Paige Barham has signed on to be her chemo pal.

The plight of a local girl has rallied Stayton firefighters to climb 69 stories in full gear with packs at the Big Climb in Seattle on March 21.

“The whole Stayton team has found new meaning in supporting the cause since it involves someone they know,” said Wendy Scallen, whose daughter Breonia Adam, 15, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last month.

Breonia is the focus of Stayton Fire District’s third year to run up the stairwell, she said. Joining the Stayton team will be Brennan Baker, who has known Breonia all her life. Scallen said Baker missed the sign ups, was given the thumbs up to participate by Kris Howard, the director of the annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Washington/Alaska chapter.

In 2009, the organization reported some 6,000 participants “ran, walked, and, well, crawled” up the Columbia Center, raising more than $1.3 million to fight blood cancers. Organizers hope to raise $1.4 at this year’s Big Climb.

“Breonia hopes to go to the event, if she feels up to it,” Scallen said.

To help out
Donations to help cover medical
expenses can be made in the name
of Wendy Scallen and Breonia Adam
at North Santiam Credit Union.
For information, call 503-910-9132.

Breonia has lots of folks rallying around her as she fights to get well. Her uncle, Gary Schott, designed a car ribbon, available for purchase from Auto Art in Stayton. Calvary Lutheran Church, where she was confirmed last June, gave her a quilt and hosted several fundraisers. And Paige Barham, a nutritionist from Portland, signed on to be her chemo-pal.

“Breonia has also been referred to Make-A-Wish, but she isn’t sure of what she will ask for yet,” Scallen said. “She has more people thinking about her than she could ever imagine!”

Meanwhile, Breonia endures blood draws, transfusions, rounds of chemotherapy and a slew of other tests and procedures as she fights for her recovery. Doctors at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland are optimistic about full remission, Scallen said.

Breonia has expressed a few concerns about her condition, Scallen said, but accepts her treatments as par for her recovery course. “She knows she will probably lose her hair with the chemo, but she knows it will grow back when she is well again,” Scallen said. “Our whole family has been supportive of her condition and plants to help out in any way possible.”

Just trying to become more educated about leukemia and taking care of her daughter has been a challenge to Scallen, she said.

“She has daily morning and night medications to take at home, and she also has to have her blood sugar monitored daily,” she added.

“I’ve been learning more about diets and what is safe for her to eat to keep her blood sugar low. The only main side affect we’ve seen so far is her being tired all of the time and losing weight.”

Scallen said Breonia is not one to ask for much, and is doing well despite the hectic pace of the past few weeks.

“I hate seeing my little girl like this, but we are all just hoping for the best,” Scallen said. “Our whole lives have turned upside down right now. It’s a day-to-day process from here on out.”

To help deal with her illness, Breonia contributes by writing her thoughts about having leukemia and her journey to recovery on a Caring Bridge page,

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