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Benefit Slated For Jandie Sitton-Parker
Jandie Sitton-Parker, a 2001 OHS graduate, is fighting a rare and aggressive cancer, which will necessitate the amputation of her leg but she still manages to smile because shes alive and still fighting. Anyone who would like to help Jandie can purchase a ticket to her fundraising event hosted by Pin Ups Salon. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader

Zumba For Jandie


The fundraising event, Zumba for Jandie, will be held Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Bethel Assembly Church at 105 E. G St., Oakdale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tickets are $10 each and available for purchase at Pin Ups Salon. Pin Ups is located at 145 N. Second Ave.

Proceeds of the event, which will include raffle drawings, a fun work-out in ‘80s attire, and a silent auction, will go to benefit Jandie Sitton-Parker for medical and living expenses as she fights a rare and aggressive cancer.

For more information, call 847-1117.

If there ever was a representative for the term “grace under pressure,” Jandie Sitton-Parker would fit the bill.

For the past three years, the 2001 Oakdale High graduate has been living a nightmare and yet, in spite of horrific pain, and the prospect of losing her leg, her smile remains undaunted.


Because she’s alive.

“I’m going to live on — no matter what it takes. That’s all you can do is live,” Sitton-Parker said.

That can-do attitude is likely why she’s still alive in spite of being diagnosed with stage four mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, an extremely rare and aggressive cancer that doctors initially misdiagnosed as a blood clot in 2009.

When the pain started, Sitton-Parker thought she’d pulled a muscle but, “Nobody could figure out why it hurt so bad,” she said. By January her leg had swollen to a point that she could no longer walk. “Every three months I was in the emergency room but nobody knew what was going on. They just kept ordering the same tests over and over again.”

Doctors prescribed pain medication and sent her on her way but no one thought to do a simple x-ray, which would’ve shown that her pain was not caused by a blood clot.

Another doctor suggested physical therapy — which resulted in a broken leg from the pressure of the tumor.

And still no x-rays were ordered.

Sitton-Parker went from vascular surgeons to Stanford — one doctor said her pain stemmed from her body becoming accustomed to the pain medication and implied that she was exaggerating her pain level to receive an increase in medication — but it was the emergency room at Oak Valley Hospital that actually diagnosed the true problem.

“I’d been on crutches for months. The pain was so bad I’d be screaming all night long,” Sitton-Parker said. “I finally couldn’t take the pain and went to the Oak Valley ER. They did an x-ray and found the tumor. I was sent by ambulance to Memorial then to Sutter General in Sacramento.”

Rounds of chemotherapy later accompanied by many prayers and desperate hope, Sitton-Parker received the news that under ordinary circumstances would’ve devastated most people — her affected leg would have to be amputated above the knee.

“As bad as it sounds, it’s actually a good thing,” Sitton-Parker said. “Before the chemotherapy started to shrink the tumor, they didn’t think I was going to survive long enough to amputate the leg. Now, I have a chance.”

Sitton-Parker’s mother, Julie Sitton, who has been with her daughter through every difficult moment, fought tears as she listened to her daughter tell her story.

Even as Sitton-Parker is optimistic, her mother worries.

“I won’t be happy until she’s all better,” Sitton said. “She’s my best friend; she’s my everything.”

If all goes as planned, Sitton-Parker is looking at amputation surgery in January — and medical bills in the millions. Sitton-Parker is also losing her insurance in eight months.

“The prosthetic itself is $60,000,” Sitton-Parker said. “I’m probably going to have to file bankruptcy when it’s all said and done.”

Sitton-Parker had just received notification that she’d been accepted into nursing school when doctors discovered the cancer.

Her ordeal has only strengthened her respect for those in the nursing field.

“I’d still love to go into the medical field,” she said. “The nurses that have taken care of me have been amazing.”

Through it all, Sitton-Parker can still smile and it’s this indomitable spirit that has inspired the ladies at Pin Ups Salon to hold a benefit for her expenses.

“She’s just amazing,” Sherri Staal, owner of Pin Ups, said. “Her personality is just so bubbly in spite of everything she’s going through and we knew we had to do something to help.”

Sitton-Parker was humbled by Staal’s offer and in fact, shocked by the generosity of total strangers.

“For people to reach out and care…it means a lot,” Sitton-Parker admitted, fighting tears. “It’s just so amazing. It’s renewed my faith in people and the power of kindness.”

Sitton agreed, saying, “I’m just shocked by all the things they’re putting together for the even