Photo courtesy of Jaclyn Kammerer
Julia Kammerer, 20, was diagnosed with leukemia on Dec. 15 and the community is rallying in support.

Maspeth residents, along with faculty and students from Maspeth High School, are creating a movement in support of a graduate who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

On Dec. 15, after weeks of trying to figure out why she was getting frequent colds and broken blood vessels in her legs, 20-year-old Julia Kammerer was diagnosed with Acute B Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her family was devastated, said her sister Jaclyn Kammerer, who was at work when she heard the news.

“I thought maybe she had pneumonia, I didn’t think it would be something this serious,” Kammerer said. “I was freaked out when she called me because she normally texts. She was sobbing and couldn’t even say it, but when she did, I just dropped to the floor.”

One month after the diagnosis, Jaclyn Kammerer decided to start a Go Fund Me page on Wednesday to raise money for her sister’s hospital expenses. She debated about it for quite some time, she said, not wanting to “be too forward or ask people for too much.” But by Friday, the campaign had already received 253 donations for a total of $15,182 in less than two days.

Maspeth High School quickly joined the movement, sharing Jaclyn’s message and the link to the campaign on the school’s website. Julia Kammerer is a member of the school’s first graduating class of 2015. When Kammerer was a freshman in 2011, the class created a special bond with the faculty since they were the only students in the school during its founding year, said Athletic Director Jesse Pachter.

“I don’t know if there was ever a day that she was unhappy,” Pachter said. “She was Maspeth High School.”

Pachter explained that the school is coming up with several ideas to continue helping the Kammerer family. When he spoke to QNS over the phone on Friday, Pachter said that he was with a group of students and they had just ordered 500 rubber bracelets to sell and donate all of the proceeds to the Go Fund Me campaign. The bracelets read, “Stay Strong #TeamJules.”

Maspeth High will also be donating the admission sales from its first home playoff basketball game to Julia’s cause, Pachter said. Several teachers have also been going around the school during the day collecting any donations.

According to Jaclyn Kammerer, Julia has been receiving steroids and chemotherapy for the past month and is currently admitted to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Julia’s last round of inpatient chemotherapy was last week and her final bone marrow biopsy will be next week, Jacklyn said. After that, Julia should be able to return to the comfort of her home and visit the hospital two or three times a week for treatments.

Through all of that, Jaclyn said that her sister has maintained the same sassy and humorous personality that so many people love her for. And even more importantly, she is inspiring all those around her.

“She’s my little sister, but she’s someone I can look up to,” Jaclyn Kammerer said. “I never knew that she was so strong.”


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