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At Refined Lending we often refer to each other as family, and we mean it. We all truly care about one another and strive to help everyone on the team succeed. One of our top core values is giving back to the local communities we work and live in. This is something that is held near and dear to all our hearts. We really love supporting each other as co workers AND supporting our local community. That is where our Refined Difference Project originated from.  Each month we showcase a different RL Family member and donating to a local charity of their choice. We  also provide links and information on how YOU can donate and support them as well!

For September, the charity we will be raising money for is MN for St.Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

Our featured employee with this month’s charity is Katelyn Foley. From Katelyn:

Why I Chose St. Jude Children’s research Hospital:

St. Jude has held a special place in my life since my best friend was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and spent most of  his time from 2008-2010 at the hospital for treatments. St. Jude gave us more time with Dylan than we could have ever anticipated because of their ongoing research and treatments. Their beliefs and foundation stems from founder Danny Thomas’s vision that no child should have to die in the dawn of life.After visiting the hospital myself in 2019, I saw the efforts that go into running a hospital like St. Jude and what our fundraising efforts do for the families of St. Jude patients. It was completely life changing and has made me want to do everything in my power to continue fundraising for St. Jude to find a cure for childhood cancer once and for all.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

St. Jude conducts more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital across the US and they freely share discoveries so every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children across the world.

Dylan’s Story:

On August 18th of 2008 when Dylan Witschen was 15 years old, he had a great tackle during a football practice at Anoka High School. After that tackle, Dylan started to not feel well,  his has was going numb and once in the locker room, he had a seizure. He was immediately rushed to the hospital for a CT scan that showed a tumor on his brain the size of a golf ball. Right away, he had surgery to remove the tumor that was later confirmed to be a type of cancer called Supratentorial primitive neuro-ectodermal tumor (sPNET).

Dylan’s parents (Ed and Debbie Witschen) knew once they heard their son had cancer, their best bet to beat this horrible disease was St. Jude. This led Dylan to begin his treatment at St. Jude Children’s research hospital on September 8th of 2008 where he underwent 31 rounds of radiation followed by 4 aggressive doses of chemotherapy.

On June 15th of 2009, Dylan returned to St. Jude for his 3-month scans and was declared NED! However, not long after, Dylan began having seizures again in November of 2009 and after having scans was told he had a second kind of brain cancer – High Grade Glioblastoma Multiforme and this type of cancer was inoperable and not curable. Dylan’s doctors sent him home at this point and he was able to live his life to the fullest with his family and friends until he passed away on June 8th of 2010.

Dylan’s love for St. Jude and passion for finding a cure for childhood cancer was so strong. He had always said that St. Jude was so much more than a hospital and while there, he didn’t feel like stuck in a hospital fighting for his life. The halls were all painted/decorated for different seasons, all so bright and cheerful.

Before he passed away, he and his family spent a lot of time advocating for St. Jude and doing a plethora of fundraising to find cures for different childhood cancers and he made his family promise that they would continue to fight to find a cure for childhood cancer. He had a goal to make sure that no child would ever have to go through what he went through.

Dylan’s family started a foundation in Dylan’s name that provides scholarship’s for local college bound students and it also raises money for St. Jude Children’s research hospital and other similar organizations. The Scholarship is award to students who show these seven qualities: team player, leadership, compassion, determination, giving, confidence, and strength.


 “Someday, god willing, we are going to bear all the odds and make childhood cancer a thing of the past” – Danny Thomas  

To learn more about this organization and their mission, click here.

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