People step up to help teen battling cancer
By Ryan Spoehr
A local teen undergoing cancer treatment got not one, but two heartwarming surprises when she showed her goat at the Walworth County Fair last month.
When Emma Frodl, who lives just outside of Sharon near the Rock County line, showed her goat Klaus at the fair, a local person bid $5,000 on the goat. Not only did the $5,000 go to Emma and her family, Emma got to keep Klaus.
“It was unbelievable,” Emma said. “I didn’t think the price would get that high. I thought I would at least get $500.”
Emma got Klaus in March when the goat was 2 months old.
“We got him when he was really little, which I wanted because you can work with him more easily. Then, you can pick him up and carry him to where you need to go instead of dragging him,” Emma said.
From there, Emma and Klaus formed a bond and friendship.
“He knows who I am,” Emma said. “He is not super friendly, but was alone at first, he was more friendly because he knew who I was, so that was nice.”
Emma said Klaus likes to be on his own sometimes, but the two hang out a lot during a typical day.
She is homeschooled, so it allows for more time for the two to spend more time together.
“He goes with me,” she said.
Emma works on homework with Klaus by her side as well.
“It’s nice. She has more friends and more animals at home. She’s got chickens and dogs, but it’s nice,” said Inga, Emma’s mom.
The friendship has provided some support for Emma from an unlikely source in the goat she got only months earlier.
“I like to think of him as my cancer goat. I got him a green collar, and I like to know he is at home waiting for me when I get back,” Emma said.
Emma started chemo July 5. Just before that, she was diagnosed with diffuse large b-cell lymphoma, which is a cancer that starts in white blood cells. According to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, diffuse large b-cell lymphoma is the most frequent case of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, accounting for 85 percent of the disease.
She has been treated at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. When Emma started chemo, she was at the hospital for a week for a “light round of chemo,” Inga said. Since then, she has had four rounds of chemo, which have resulted in emergency room visits to be treated for viruses or fevers afterward.
Emma has even taken homework to the hospital when she has stayed overnight.
A day prior to her fourth round of chemo, Emma said, “I should probably do homework.”
Emma said she takes medicine if she gets nauseous, and she has pills for pain. She takes an antibiotic on weekends to try to prevent her from getting sick. She also takes a medicine to help prevent getting a fungal infection.
After the first couple rounds of chemo, Emma was worried about not being a part of the County Fair.
“I was happy. I wanted to go the fair right after we got out of the hospital. I mean, go and not even go home. But, they wanted me to stay home because they thought I would get sick because I usually do get sick after,” Emma said. “But I didn’t, and that’s why I was able to show Klaus and sell him.”
However, she wasn’t quite out of the woods as far as the sickness went.
“But then, I did get sick,” Emma said. “I think that from prayers, God answered them and I was able to go to the full fair. After showing Klaus, I did get to go to the fair and then he let me get sick.”
Prior to the fair, doctors warned Emma not to be around straw or hay because of the funguses that could be in them.
“I was stuck in some places. ‘Don’t go in there. You’ll get sick,’” Emma said.
She was able to get to see more open shows and master showmanship, when in past years she was mainly at the junior shows.
The surprises didn’t stop at the $5,000 bid and Emma being able to keep Klaus.
Giving keeps on coming
Scot Hodkiewicz and his wife Mona were at the animal showing and heard about the situation Emma and her family were facing with the ongoing treatments and the costs. Afterward, Scot set up a GoFundMe page.
“It’s a great way to try to get funds for a good cause like something like this,” Scot said.
Scot and Mona were in a car crash about 10 years ago.
“The community rallied around us to help get us better. Sometimes you have to pay back,” Scot said.
“We are asking them to appreciate the monetary donation and we are asking for their prayers because it’s all part of her healing process,” Scot said. “She’s a tough young lady and we’re going to help her through this.”
The goal for funds raised is $5,000. As of last Thursday, the GoFundMe page raised $1,635. Eighteen people contributed.
“We aren’t taking any of the money for this. All of it is going to them,” said Scot, who also contributed money to the page.
The Hodkiewicz and Frodl families never met prior to the fair.
“It was very cool because we don’t even know him,” Inga said.
“When you talk to them, they are just nice people. They’re a really loving family and everyone wants to help them,” Scot said.
Inga said just driving up to the hospital can start the costs to rise in a hurry along with meals while going up to the hospital, but the treatments are even more costly.
“Everything adds up real fast, and they’re not hesitant to run a test. They just do what they need to do and you let them,” Inga said.
Emma said the doctors said it would probably be four rounds, but two more rounds were scheduled just to make sure all the cancer is gone.
“It seems to be working,” Inga said.
“God loves me a lot,” Emma added.
Emma is not letting this period in her life keep her down.
“Something I want people to know is that they don’t have to treat me any differently. My grandma is one to say, ‘I feel so bad for you,’ which is nice, but don’t look at me as ill. Look at me as a fighter more than I ever could have been,” Emma said.
“She definitely has had a good attitude in everything. She really has trusted in God, basically. I know she feels he has a plan for her. I am very proud of her. She could have been very depressed through this whole thing and said, ‘Why me?’ but she hasn’t,” Inga said.
The GoFundMe page for the Frodls is at www.gofundme.com/emmas-cancer-fight.