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October 12, 2012

City rallies for recent grad battling cancer

METHUEN — Allison Hawkes is no stranger to adversity, having faced off against cancer three times since she was a toddler. She won each time.

But just before the 2012 Methuen High School graduate was to start classes at Wheelock College in Boston, she found out she would have to take up the fight once again. This time, she said she was diagnosed with a bone cancer called osteosarcoma found in her right tibia.

Now the community is rallying for Allie, raising money to help her and her family during the nearly eight-month treatment.

The survivor won a lot of admiration over the years as she continued swimming and other sports along with her studies in between diagnoses and was a co-chair of the Methuen Relay for Life event last spring.

Hawkes said in an email that she began a harsh regimen of treatment that includes six high-dose rounds of chemotherapy, each administered during an inpatient stay, over 10 weeks. After that, she will undergo surgery to remove the tumor, followed by another 20 weeks of chemo. In between all that will be frequent appointments for scans, transfusions, blood draws and surgical consultations.

The School Department organized a fundraiser to help Hawkes and her family while they fight the cancer, and on Sept. 28, faculty and staff at all the schools and the administrative offices wore jeans to work for a $5 donation.

Superintendent Judith Scannell said the fundraiser brought in $3,629. The Fire Department also donated $500, she said.

Current and former students are organizing a mat ball tournament – mat ball is an indoor game similar to kickball – and community cookout and raffle sponsored by the SADD club at the high school on Nov. 3 at 9 a.m., said parent Jill Stackelin.

“We hope to have at least 20 teams of 10 people enter,” she said. “The entry fee is $10 a person. The tourney will be run in bracket format and a random selection of teams will decide the starting lineups.”

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