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Friends, family to celebrate inspiring spirit

Young Auburn woman passes after bout with cancer
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Friends and family will celebrate the life of a young woman who inspired them to live life to the fullest. Jolene VonMillanich passed away last month after she was diagnosed at the age of 17 with a rare sarcoma, Phyllodes, that occurs in the breast. She was 26. Friends and family described the Auburn resident as “super charismatic” with a warm and caring personality that didn’t waiver despite undergoing many treatments and a double mastectomy. “I don’t know anybody who can go through what she’d gone through and have that outlook on life,” said Jennifer O’Mara, VonMillanich’s half sister. “She really just wanted to appreciate every moment she had left. I was thankful I was able to meet her.” VonMillanich was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish foundation after her initial diagnosis at 17. She and her family enjoyed a trip to Hawaii where she swam with dolphins. After her trip, VonMillanich organized fundraisers for the next five years for Make-A-Wish. Family said she continued to pursue other goals such as her dream to become a nurse. In 2005 she received a medical assistance degree from Western Career College. “She made you want to aspire to be the type of person she was,” O’Mara said. “She was so genuine in her love.” O’Mara said she met VonMillanich in January. She said through meeting Jolene, it helped O’Mara and several of their half sisters unite and get to know each other better. VonMillanich also encouraged and reminded her family to say, “I love you” whenever possible. “After meeting her I started opening up with my friends and other people in my life and telling people how much I loved them because you never know when that will be your last time,” O’Mara said. O’Mara said she hopes others will embrace Jolene’s spirit. “Just really live your life to the fullest and appreciate and focus on the positive things in your life and what things you can control,” O’Mara said. ~ Jenifer Gee ---------- Celebration of Life Service for Jolene VonMillanich Where: Parkside Church, 3885 Richardson Drive, Auburn When: noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12 Attire: Jolene requested that attendees dress colorfully and not in black or dark colors Reception: Follows service and is a potluck, please bring a dish if attending Donation: In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Boot Camp for Cancer, 1750 N. Buffalo Drive, Ste 104-222, Las Vegas, NV, 89128. ----------