Community helping mother battling cancer for third time

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Those who talk to 31-year-old Helena resident Wendie Mitchler may have a hard time believing everything she has been through, said her close friend Rachel Olis.

Mitchler

Mitchler

“She is always trying to give back to others,” Olis said. “We are trying to rally around her, and she is constantly trying to worry about others. She is one of the most caring people I have ever met.”

Mitcher, who graduated from the University of Montevallo with a degree in social work and currently works in hospice care, was diagnosed with lymphoma as a teenager and later went into remission.

Since marrying her college sweetheart, Jeremy, seven years ago, Mitchler has had two children despite being told she would be unable to because of her previous chemotherapy treatments, Olis said.

“When her youngest was 14 months old, her worst fears came true,” Olis said. “She was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer and immediately underwent a radical double-mastectomy and began chemo.

“After 15 months of intense treatments, she completed chemo and celebrated with her family,” Olis added. “Her hair began growing back, her strength began to return. Our Sunday school class (at Alabaster First United Methodist Church) surprised her with a love gift large enough to send their family to Disney World or pay down medical bills.”

But during a subsequent PET scan, doctors discovered small cancerous tumors on Mitchler’s lungs.

“We were leveled and horrified that our sweet Wendie would again have to go through another surgery, another port and more chemo,” Olis said.

To help raise money and gather support for Mitchler and her family, Alabaster First United Methodist will host the Fighting with Faith event on April 27 from 2-6:30 p.m.

The event will feature a concert, inflatable games, food, face painting and more. Admission is $10 per person, and all proceeds will benefit the Mitchler family.

“This is a very small way we can try and be a part of this,” said First United Methodist Pastor Brian Erickson. “When a person gets sick like this, there’s a temptation to make them sound better than they really are. There is no way you could do that with Wendie and Jeremy.

“These are two folks that are beacons of hope and light for others,” Erickson added. “We want to return that for them.”