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Golf Outing to Benefit Cancer Victim's Son

by on June 20, 2014 11:00 AM

Jaime VanOrden didn't like to draw unnecessary attention to herself.

If she were still alive, the Penn State graduate probably wouldn't like that her friends planned an event for her. That is, until she heard it was to support VanOrden's four-year-old son, Jackson.

"She never liked the big fuss over herself, but I think she would have appreciated this a great deal," says her mother, Sydney Sayers, of Howard. "Jackson was the light of her life. She just adored him. I know she’d be so glad people are thinking of him and supporting him."

Friends of VanOrden are holding a golf outing Friday afternoon at the Belles Springs Golf Course in Mill Hall, with all proceeds benefiting VanOrden's son. It costs $75 to attend the event, which includes a round of golf, food, drinks, and a T-shirt. At least 80 people have signed up.  to

The participants will be divided into teams of four. Every eight minutes, a new team is scheduled to tee off, beginning at 12:36 p.m., says organizer and friend Lynnette Patterson.

Patterson says there are 33 sponsors for the event, including Belles Springs Golf Course and Erin Orr Photography. There are prizes for the top teams of the golf tournament.

Many of VanOrden's friends and family will attend the golf outing, including Sayers and her husband. Others, some of whom never met VanOrden, are attending because they were inspired by her story.

Much of this attention stemmed from a magazine column written by VanOrden about her battle with breast cancer. Her strength and positive attitude rang through as she discussed her struggles and thanked the important people in her life. A friend created a widely viewed Facebook group for VanOrden to update as her cancer worsened.

VanOrden died Nov. 19 at Mount Nittany Medical Center after battling breast cancer for nearly three years. She is survived by her son and husband, Bill.

Patterson, who met VanOrden through their same-age children, imagines her reaction to the event would be surprise. Throughout VanOrden's treatment, she was always shocked at the outpouring of support she received, Patterson says.

But in the end, Patterson agrees with Sayers that VanOrden would be happy to know the community continues to support her son. There won't be stipulations for how Jackson spends the money but grandmother Sayers believes it will be used as an education fund.

Patterson says VanOrden's death was very difficult for son Jackson.

"He is young enough to remember his mom but not old enough to understand why she’s not there," Patterson says.


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Jessica Tully recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in journalism and political science. She is a frequent contributor to and has also reported for USA TODAY, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
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