Students and staff pull together to help terminally ill student

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


At the Corban University Homecoming celebration in October, Corban senior Sara Swenson gave a personal testimony about her battle with cancer that gave glory to God and moved many to tears.

Swenson was diagnosed with various forms of cancer in June 2009 following her junior year at Corban. Although the disease ravaged her body, the 22-year-old senior was motivated and prepared to complete her undergraduate degree from Corban. Her dream of graduating with her class on May 7 ended in January when she was forced to drop out one semester early because the cancer had returned and is considered untreatable.

Despite being a few credits short, Corban’s Academic Council voted to award Swenson her the Bachelor of Communication degree. Because she was also short on her two remaining community service credits, ASB organized a group of students to complete the remaining credits on her behalf.   In February Corban President Reno Hoff and Vice-President for Advancement Mike Bates traveled to Reno, Nev. to honor her time and studies at Corban and award Swenson her Bachelor of Communication degree.

On April 2 approximately 15 Corban University students and staff will complete Swenson’s two service credits and many more with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

The team will volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House East at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore.  The team will do yard work, housecleaning sort donated items and more. The house is a home away from home for families whose children are being treated at the hospital.

“I don’t know Sara very well, but so many students do,” said Corban student and project coordinator Carrie Bernard. “We wanted to provide an opportunity for students to help Sara because she is someone who wants to make a difference for others even though she can’t do it herself right now.”

When Swenson’s mother, Noreen Swenson, heard about the effort being made on behalf of her daughter, she was overwhelmed.

“One of the most emotional moments came when Mike (Bates) told us that the Corban ASB officers have coordinated a project to cover the two community service credits that Sara was lacking for graduation,” she said through Swenson’s website, “On April 2nd, a group of Corban students will be going to the Ronald McDonald House in Portland, on behalf of Sara, to serve and minister to other families of children who are being treated for cancer. Our hearts are so full.”

Corban University’s Associated Student Body is currently collecting donations of travel sized shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and other small sized personal hygiene items for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. For more information, call 503-589-8187 or

  • On Feb. 19, 2011, Corban President Reno Hoff awarded Sara Swenson her Bachelor of Communication degree. 

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Everyday Heroes: Stepping up to help a fellow student

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