WADENA -- In the weeks before her death due to leukemia, Jane Fiemeyer had the idea for a Princess Warrior 5K, to find a cure for childhood cancer so others didn’t have to be in pain like her.
And because of her big dreams, a great deal of money, awareness and gratefulness was brought to those who attended the annual event Sept. 29 at Wadena's Tapley Park.
A Perham girl was one of those fighters honored.
Kindergartner Taylor Johnson, one of the area children battling cancer, had a smile that spread to all those who saw her's.
"She is the epitome of a little girl that lives no matter what," said Jil Fiemeyer, Jane's mom and main organizer of the Princess Warrior event.
Taylor, age 5, was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) in January. Taylor just finished up her interim maintenance phase of treatment, and continues with the full maintenancephase. She will continue with monthly treatments that will take up to two more years.
Taylor is the daughter of Tricia and Matt and she has two older sisters, Madilyn and Ava. Taylor loves being outdoors and enjoys playing with her dog, camping and fishing.
The crowds were able to draw from Taylor's smile then hear an inspiring story from 2013 Wadena-Deer Creek High School graduate Jake Krause, who fought his own battle with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma in college.
"My life took a turn, but in all honesty it's probably one of the best things that ever happened to me," Krause said, explaining that he gained a new appreciation for life that he never understood before cancer struck him.
Just before the crowds were off to the races, they heard from Miss Minnesota Kathryn Kueppers. She shared how much she grew from being involved in these community events.
"My own mom had cancer when I was younger and she's 10 years in remission," Kueppers said. "It's really life changing to watch someone go through that or to go through it yourself. The fact that you are all here today in honor of this cause is awe inspiring."
Off the stage were about 75 volunteers from cheering princesses on the sidelines, to food servers and makers, carnival helpers, race coordinators and emergency personnel on hand in case they were needed. They all worked together to ensure that Jane and other children taken by cancer would not be forgotten.
The funds from this event go to prepare care packages for those going through childhood cancer; it provides a scholarship through Wadena-Deer Creek School District to one graduating senior; it funds a grant program that anyone going through childhood cancer can apply for. Other funds may be used to support benefits for families of children with cancer. The funds also go to support several kids each year that are fighting a battle with cancer.
Fiemeyer encourages the region to reach out to the Princess Warrior committee if they know someone with childhood cancer who could benefit from the organization not only through monetary support but from the emotional support from people who have dealt with the cancer bully before.
Call Jil Fiemeyer at 218-640-7906, email email@example.com or visit the Princess Warrior Facebook page.