Community mourns Violet O’Dell

Fundraisers set to help Sequim youth’s family with medical expenses


Sequim Gazette

Beloved red-headed Sequim girl Violet O’Dell, 11, lost her battle with a rare form of brain cancer on Oct. 26.


For more than a year, Violet fought brainstem glioma and received on-and-off treatment at Seattle Children’s before deciding to come home.


Dianne Drake, a family friend of Violet’s mom, Jessica, said Violet chose bravely to stop treatment partway through after she and her family realized treatment wasn’t working.


“What she faced with grace and dignity is amazing,” said Mary Budke, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.


Budke first met Violet in the Sequim club’s first kindergarten program.


“She was the quintessential Boys & Girls Club kid,” she said.


The club, where Violet attended for many years, hosts her memorial service on Sunday, Nov. 11, with the time to be determined.


Budke plans to make prints of some of Violet’s artwork to sell the night before at the club’s annual auction to help the family pay medical expenses.


They also are partnering with the Sunshine Cafe to promote its 10th Harvest Dinner on Thanksgiving with donations helping Violet’s family.


Drake, co-owner of the cafe, said they serve about 100 free meals a year and last year they helped Violet’s family, too.


  The Oasis Sports Bar & Grill, 301 E. Washington St., hosts a benefit concert for the family Saturday, Nov. 3, with blues/rock band Testify playing 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Entry fees all go to the O’Dell family.


Those looking to donate to the family can give in Violet’s name at Chase Bank.


Budke said the club’s staff is providing resources for events and fundraisers and can be reached at 683-8095. In honor of Violet, the staff is renaming the art room the Violet O’Dell Art Center for a year.


Many of Violet’s former classmates fondly remember Violet, often making her cards and presents in the room.


“To say they miss her is an understatement,” Budke said.


Violet would have been in sixth grade this year.


Drake said Violet was a big fan of animals and received a rare dog she named Randy from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.


In the past year, she also visited Disneyland for the first time but was most excited about traveling by train, Budke said.


Violet also is survived by her stepfather, Jeremy O’Dell, and two step-siblings.