Girl dies from cancer, but scheduled fundraiser to help family will go on in her memory

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — An 11-year-old girl lost her fight with a cancerous brain tumor, but her friends and admirers will continue to hold a scheduled benefit to help with hospital bills in her memory.

Violet O’Dell died Friday, according to a family spokesman.

Her parents, Jessica and Jeremy O’Dell, were with their daughter at her grandmother’s home in Port Angeles at the time of her death, said Josh Turner, a family friend.

The benefit for her family will be held Saturday night to help them with expenses that built up during Violet’s final weeks.

Organizations affiliated with Children’s Hospital helped the O’Dells meet their mortgage payment, but the family has additional expenses and can barely afford to put gas in their car, Katy Turner, Josh’s wife, said.

The fundraiser will be held at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Oasis Bar and Grill, 301 E. Washington St. in Sequim.

The band Testify, a rock, rhythm and blues band, will perform, and the Oasis grill will be open until 10 p.m..

The $5 cover charge for entry will be donated to the family.

Violet was a student at Helen Haller Elementary School and a member of Pathfinders, a Seventh-day Adventist scouting organization.

She began treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital a year ago for glioma, a cancerous tumor on her brain stem.

At one point, the cancer was in remission, but it returned this fall, Katy Turner said.

Violet never lost her big heart, Turner said.

In the past few months, even as she lost her hair from her cancer treatments, she helped others, including collecting toys and clothes for a girl who was displaced from her home and assisting others who were recovering from surgery.

Violet had strong faith in her religion, Katy Turner said.

“She was smart and extremely funny,” Josh Turner added.

Her sense of humor lasted to the end, he said.

Last week during a visit, Turner offered to play his guitar for Violet, who could no longer speak.

She used a letter board to request a song.

“She wanted me to play ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady,’” he said, laughing through tears.

Jessica O’Dell left her job and worked part-time for her church, while Jeremy took a leave of absence from his job as a welding instructor at Peninsula College to be with Violet in her final weeks, Turner said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 29. 2012 6:17PM
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