Thirteen-Year-Old Cancer Patient Strikes Back

June 13, 2016
By: Karen E. Butler, Director of Communications, DCI

After her check-up, Margaret Stoffregen, 13, looks at incoming texts while sitting outside Duke Cancer Center where she was treated for osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer.

Margaret Stoffregen was just 12 years old when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer occurring most often in children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 30. Initially stunned by the news, Stoffregen set her sights on remaining positive and upbeat.

“When I heard the news, thoughts raced through my mind,” said Stoffregen, 13, whose cancer is now in remission. “Like most people, my first question was, ‘Will I live?’ Now that cancer is behind me, I feel like I’ve accomplished something that not many other kids have or would want to accomplish.”

Margaret Stoffregen and her friends host a bake sale to raise funds to help in the fight against childhood cancer. Photo: Margaret Stoffregen, Abby Vogel, Abby Wannamaker, Cami Parrish and Kenzie Deekins.Over the course of her treatment, Stoffregen rallied her classmates at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill to help her raise funds to support a cause now dear to her heart—the fight against childhood cancer. She and five girlfriends recently organized a bake sale at Merritt's Grill in Chapel Hill. The teens spent an entire day baking cookies, cakes and pastries for which they sold without a price tag, saying instead, “Give what you can. Take what you want.”

“We raised more than $2,000 at our bake sale,” said Stoffregen. “Everyone was very generous. We split the funds between the Duke Sarcoma Research Fund and the Be Loud Sophie Foundation, a local non-profit supporting teen and young adult cancer patients at UNC.”

Pictured from left to right: Nuray Khan, Margaret Stoffregen, Kenzie Deekins, Cami Parrish, Keely Parrish, Abby Wannamaker, Richard Yuan.With a clean bill of health, Stoffregen is now looking forward to a summer holiday in Maine and the start of eighth grade, her final year of middle school.

“If I were to advise another kid faced with a diagnosis of cancer, I’d just say, 'It might suck at the moment,'” said the young teen, now wise beyond her years. “But I’d also say, ‘Hang in there—everything will be okay. Things do get better.’”

Note: The 7th Annual Strike Out For Sarcoma 5K and Family Run, hosted by Duke Multidisciplinary Sarcoma Program, will be held Sunday, Sept. 11, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. The fundraising event honors and celebrates lives touched by sarcoma. For more information, or follow on Facebook.