Worth the fight
Providence Village residents lined up under the pavilion for barbecue at Lake Providence to support Ariel Porter, a teenage girl fighting brain cancer, and her family on Saturday.
Through their efforts, the volunteers collected more than $5,000 that will help Ariel’s family pay for medical expenses.
“It shows how supportive our community is with everyone and how my parents have so many friends that care about them. It just shows how many there are in this world to me, and it inspires me to be a better person,” Ariel said about her feelings of the community putting on the fundraiser.
She’s has been fighting cancer, specifically diffuse midline gliomas with the H3K27M mutation, since June 2019.
In 2019, she was accepted into a study for an experimental treatment that has helped prolong her life.
She travels with the help of her family to Houston for treatments at MD Anderson.
“This is something that we do for fun, hanging out with friends and family. Anybody that needs help, we’re here to offer,” said Justin O’Neal about organizing the barbecue lunch.
The BBQ fundraiser opened at 11 a.m. on a beautiful spring morning. The men who cooked the meat worked overnight to get everything prepared.
At $12 a plate through the line and $15 per plate that was delivered in Providence, the line moved steadily with few lags. Tasha and Nathan Cotton, Ariel’s mother and stepfather, helped fill plates and wrangle supplies.
Ariel and her brothers Alex and Aydan Porter interacted with the people there to support their family.
The love of the siblings was clear.
“We’ve kind of been best friends, but we’re siblings,” Alex said of his little sister.
Some of the participants took time to fish at the lake. Others rolled up in their golf carts and cars to grab their food and go.
Members of the Providence Village Hope Foundation—President Dave Culp and Vice President Don Fisher—also attended to support the family.
“As vice president of Hope Foundation, this is what it’s all about. It’s helping our residents in times of need. We are more than willing to help Ariel. … She’s such a brave, strong young lady,” Fisher said.
Many residents and friends were there to support the family.
Alexis Rodriguez was there to support Ariel, whose family she’s gotten to know through mutual friends.
“Anything for Ariel, to be honest. We’ll do whatever it takes to support her. Near, far, distance, online, not online, whatever! She’s a young girl, and it’s worth fighting for,” Rodriguez said.
To donate to help pay for Ariel’s medical expenses, email firstname.lastname@example.org or through the GoFundMe campaign “Ariel Porter medical fund.”