Community raising funds for local woman battling cancer
Sierra Kramer and her 4-year-old daughter.
Staff Writer | February 8, 2024 1:00 AM
SANDPOINT — A year after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, Sandpoint local Sierra Kramer remains hopeful as she waits to travel across the country for a potentially life-saving surgery in Houston, Texas.
To help the 24-year-old’s family cover the cost of the expensive surgery, a dinner and concert fundraiser is being held next month at Cedar Hills Church.
In January 2023, Kramer was diagnosed with Stage II Cardiac Angiosarcoma, a group of soft tissue sarcomas, characterized by aggressive local growth and early spread. With no standard treatment for the extremely rare cancer, surgery has proven to be the most effective way to treat the disease.
“Because this cancer only affects 1 in 20 million people, her oncologist had never seen or treated this before and there are very few in the world who have,” said Shawna Tester, Kramer’s older sister.
To make matters worse, when doctors discovered the mass, it had already metastasized, dramatically reducing Kramer’s life expectancy. Her family eventually discovered an oncologist in Houston who is familiar with treating this form of cancer and agreed to help.
Kramer was put on a 12-week chemotherapy plan last year in an attempt to shrink the tumor in her heart, which has turned into a much longer chemo plan.
“Sierra is blessed with an oncologist that is on board with low-dose chemo and natural supplements,” said Cindy Kramer, Sierra’s mother. “We are blessed to have 7B IV in our community. The staff there are part of our family now and we love and appreciate all of them.”
With the treatments, Kramer’s tumors have begun to shrink — which is expected to have a positive outcome on the effectiveness of the surgery. With a tumor in her heart the size of a grapefruit, 39 weeks of high vitamin C infusions have now shrunk the mass down to smaller than the size of a lime. Additionally, tumors in other parts of her body have completely disappeared.
“The doctor in Houston told her to not get discouraged from how long it’s taking to shrink the tumor,” Cindy said. “The positive thing to consider is that all the tumors in her breast are gone and this aggressive beast of a cancer hasn’t spread or grown in 10 months. That usually isn’t the case.”
Despite the trials Kramer and her family have faced in the past year, her mother said she remains optimistic and strong throughout her treatments.
“Sierra is handling this with so much strength,” Cindy said. “She is by far the strongest woman I know. Regardless of her struggles, pain and hardships, she continues to be a hands-on mother to her 4-year-old daughter.
“I can’t say that these last 10 months have been easy. On the contrary, it has been filled with 39 weeks of chemo, weight loss, three blood transfusions, nauseousness, two blood clots, a breast infection, kidney failure, hair loss, migraines, severe pain, daily throwing up and multiple trips to Spokane to see the oncologist and cardiologist. And despite all of that, she is still an extraordinarily beautiful person inside and out trying to live life to the fullest.”
However, the surgery is not cheap. A benefit dinner with all-you-can-eat tacos catered by the Hoot Owl as well as a concert by Devon Wade are being held Friday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m. at Cedar Hills Church to help Kramer’s family raise funds for her procedure.
The cost of the fundraiser is $40. This will be a cash-only event at the door. Interested parties are asked to RSVP beforehand due to limited seating. Online tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/3UxRMlD.
Kramer’s family has also set up a GoFundMe page after they received overwhelming community support asking what could be done to help. Donations can be made at Kramer’s GoFundMe at bit.ly/3wauyIh or in person at Potlatch in Ponderay to Sierra Kramer’s benefit savings. Money can also be sent to Kramer’s Venmo at Kramer99.
“A heartfelt thank you to our community, family and friends for all your support, help and prayers,” Cindy said.
For more info, contact Cindy at 208-946-0426.