Student nurse grateful for help
The strength of human compassion and generosity was demonstrated during a fundraiser held last April 15 and 16 for LCC student Danielle Uebelhart.
The fundraiser, called “Donations for Danielle,” raised money to help Uebelhart with living and medical expenses while she was recovering from renal (kidney) cancer.
The event, held in the Health and Human Services Building, raised about $684, according to Uebelhart.
The fundraiser involved LCC Nursing Program graduate and licensed massage therapist Jason Riker giving free 10- to 15-minute chair massages to anyone who wanted one. Guests then had the option to give free-will donations, all of which went to assist Danielle.
“I really can’t put into words about how grateful I am for everybody being so generous and so caring,” Uebelhart said. “It was an amazing thing to see how many people come together when somebody is struggling with something.”
Riker, who played a large part in organizing the event, said he knew Uebelhart from working with her at Sparrow Hospital. He said when she was diagnosed, he wanted to do something to help. He was also a student in the LCC Nursing Program at the time.
Riker worked together with the nursing department students, faculty and the Student Nursing Association to make “Donations for Danielle” a reality.
The fundraiser lasted for two days. Over 30 people attended, including nursing faculty, nursing students and people who were simply on campus, according to Riker.
“It felt good to me to help, and I think that’s part of what makes me enjoy nursing … you just want to help people and find a way to do it,” Riker said. “It was one more thing (nursing students) decided to do, but it was worth it.”
Uebelhart’s health problems began in October of 2014 when she experienced severe stomach pains. In December, she went to the emergency department and a CAT scan revealed a mass on her left kidney.
After meeting with urologists, it was determined that the mass was cancerous. In January, she had a surgery done robotically that removed the mass, which turned out to be renal cell carcinoma.
Luckily, the cancer was caught in stage one, and Ubelhart said she is currently cancer-free with no long-term health effects from the experience. She now has the same risk of developing the cancer again as someone who has never had it.
Uebelhart said she plans to graduate from the LCC Nursing Program in May, apply to Sparrow Hospital as a registered nurse and get her bachelor’s degree.
“(Nursing) just makes me feel so good to see that I’m making even just a tiny difference in someone’s life,” she said. “Going through this process, for me, being on the other side of things has really changed my perspective on a lot of things.”
Uebelhart said this experience changed the way she looks at her career.
“After everything, it’s really going to make me a better nurse,” she said. “It’s going to make me more empathetic and sympathetic to everyone that I have and will take care of.”
Danielle Uebelhart (holding donated money) is surrounded by students from the Student Nursing Association and Jason Riker, who organized a massage fundraiser to benefit Uebelhart.