Hundreds of community members gathered for a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for a Marquette girl battling a brain tumor.
The line of people at the American Legion Post circled in the parking lot to raise money for 14-year-old Hannah Swajanen.
She has a benign brain tumor, and friends, family, and the community came out to raise money to help with medical expenses.
“It means a lot, just the smallest little things that people do it brings a little ray of light to your day,” Derek Swajanen, Hannah’s father, said. “It’ll make Hannah feel better during the course of the day. It’ll cheer her up and brighten her up.”
“I think at the time individuals say something or they may donate something and it may not seem much to them, but it means a lot obviously to Hannah, family, and other individuals involved.”
“Derek is my boss and I’ve worked for him for five years,” Sarah Reynolds said, who organized the fundraiser. “In those five years, I’ve grown close to Hannah and I consider her a friend and like a little sister, and I care a lot about her, and I know they need this help.”
Derek said the Marquette community has been very supportive and generous, not only to his family, but other families in the area that have dealt with similar situations.
“We’ve gone to a lot of benefits over the years, we’ve donated a lot over the years and you never think of how much your little part means to those other people until something happens to you and then it’s just kind of overwhelming with the stuff that we’ve seen come in and the individuals that have stepped forward,” he said.
“I’ve never lived in a city that’s quite like this before where everyone comes to you to donate things or comes to you and wants to be involved and it’s the greatest feeling ever,” Reynolds said. “And I’m so glad that people are behind Hannah, and I think it makes her feel really good too.”
The spaghetti dinner also featured a silent auction and dozens of raffles to help raise money for the family.
Hannah’s surgery is scheduled for May 21.
If you’d like to help Hannah and the Swajanen family, donations can be made to FBO Hannah Swajanen at MBank, or can be dropped off at Hyde & Swajanen, P.C. at 220 W. Washington Street, Suite 220 in Marquette. You can also visit Team Hannah Swajanen’s Facebook page.