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Candy canes for a cause

December 20, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Employees at an area business, a medical center and Washington County Hospital are trying to help a 9-year-old Mercersburg, Pa., girl sell her handmade candy cane Christmas tree ornaments to raise money for her cancer-ridden mother.

Jill Sipes, 33, of Mercersburg, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in July 2002, and has been the subject of many area fund-raisers since her diagnosis.

Her daughter, Laken Sipes, said she been making candy canes again with the help of "church people and my great-grandma." Laken said she has about 10,000 ornaments which she hopes to sell to help her mother pay her $700-a-month health insurance premiums.

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Jill Sipes has spent the past year raising money to pay for expensive experimental cancer treatments at a clinic in Mexico. Her doctors in Baltimore had told her that her condition was hopeless, she said.

Sipes reported some success from the treatments in Mexico. She said this week that she is undergoing chemotherapy treatments in Hagerstown because the cancer spread to her skin.

"I get tired now because of the chemo, but I'm doing better," she said.

Last Christmas, Laken came up with the idea to make candy canes from beads and pipe cleaners. She sold them at school, in church and to friends and relatives and took in more than $1,000. She sells them for 50 cents each.

Laken said it takes about 15 minutes to make each one.

"It doesn't take that long," she said.

Sipes, 33, a single mother, has two other daughters - Mallory, 5, and Lexi, 17 months.

The family lives with Sipes' parents, Richard and Lois Lynch, on Shimpstown Road.

Employees at Cumberland Valley Surgery Center at 1110 Professional Court off Eastern Boulevard and Reliable Home Furnishings at 1308 Dual Highway are trying to sell the ornaments. For more information, call Sipes at 717-328-5531.

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