When Mike Bondoni passed away in January 2021 of colorectal cancer, his children, Kamryn and Kaitlyn Bondoni, were inspired to give back to those at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) who treated him, and their 4-H community came together to support them in a big way.
After receiving the difficult news that his cancer was inoperable, Mike and his family decided to get a second opinion from the OSUCCC – James. For the next three years, he went on to receive treatment from their team of oncologists and researchers. “The James gave our dad three more years with us,” said Kamryn. Kaitlyn added, “So anything we give back will still never begin to repay that time we ended up getting.”
As lifelong 4-H’ers in Columbiana County, Kamryn and Kaitlyn leaned on their 4-H community after their dad’s passing and found support in ways they never expected. In 2021, at the first county fair without their dad, Kamryn decided to donate half of the proceeds from the auction of her dairy beef feeder to help end cancer.
Kamryn had prepared a letter about her dad’s cancer and her desire to prevent others from going through what her family experienced, and the auctioneer read it as she entered the ring. As the bids kept coming, Kamryn couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the generosity of her 4-H community. “It was just so surreal, and I was crying as the dollar amount kept increasing,” she said.
When Kaitlyn entered the auction ring later that day, their 4-H community showed their support for the Bondoni family again with another generous winning bid. Since 2021, the sisters have donated $32,000 to the OSUCCC – James in memory of their father and could not be more grateful to their community for rallying behind them. “We’re hoping to make a difference. Our community helped us get here, and now we’re giving back to a different kind of community.”
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