Schools rally for 10-year old

Sequim Gazette

Ten-year-old Violet O’ Dell loves singing along to Taylor Swift, expressing her creative side through art and taking care of her animals.


But this well-liked little girl with the bright smile recently learned some difficult news.


She was diagnosed with brainstem glioma, a cancerous tumor on her brain stem.


Violet’s mother, Jess O’ Dell, said her daughter just completed her first of six weeks of radiation therapy and chemotherapy last week.


O’ Dell and her husband, Jeremy, noticed symptoms that alerted them but it wasn’t until an MRI on Sept. 20 that Violet learned of the tumor. Later, she was transported to Seattle Children’s Hospital for treatment.

When asked to describe her daughter, O’ Dell said, “Just in general, she’s a pretty amazing kid.”


Violet lives on a farm tending a garden and raising goats and chickens. She’s missing her two chocolate labs named Fox and Jables, her mom said.
Sequim support

A small community in the heart of Sequim is coming together to support Violet.


Her school’s Parent Teacher Organization at Helen Haller Elementary, whereshe’s a fifth-grader, and the Boys & Girls Club in Sequim are running fundraisers to help with medical expenses.


On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Sequim McDonald’s hosts a McTakeover for the PTO from 6-8 p.m. with 40 percent of funds benefiting Violet.


Kristin Glenn, PTO president, said Helen Haller parents, students and staff feel it is important to support Violet and her family.


“McTakeovers usually go to general funds allocated for different projects, but we have a special fund to meet special needs of students. This is a student in extraordinary need,” Glenn said.


Another fundraiser includes an ongoing coin drive at the Boys & Girls Club.


Kristal Van Selus, program director, said Violet has come to the club for years.


“She is a very, very sweet and loving girl,” Van Selus said. “She loves to help out and is always the first one to volunteer and participate.”


“Violet has a lot of friends and everyone in the club knows who she is,” Van Selus said.


Club students made and signed a banner for Violet, which hangs in her hospital room.


A benefit fund in Violet’s name was created at Sequim Chase Bank, 680 W. Washington St,, Suite D.


O’ Dell said they’ve been happily overwhelmed with the support from the community.


Photo of Violet courtesy Boys & Girls Club. Reach Matthew Nash at
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