School helps young pupil with cancer


Shelby Entz

Shelby Entz

By Treena Mielke

The Bluffton School, a long-time participant in the Terry Fox Run, is now reaching out in another way to provide loving support to one of their own who is facing her own personal struggle with cancer.

Thirteen-year-old Shelby Entz, the youngest daughter of Willy and Julie Entz, was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

Doctors were forced to amputate her right leg just above the knee.

“It (the cancer) was in the tibia bone of her right leg,” said Shelby’s mother. “We were immediately sent to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary and they started Shelby on intense chemotherapy with the hope of shrinking the tumor enough to give her knee replacement surgery in the hopes of saving her leg.”

However, the tumor did not respond to the chemotherapy and amputation became necessary.

Entz said the surgery went well and her daughter has been able to experience some relief from the pain.

“Shelby is very determined and has already started physiotherapy and can be fit for a prosthetic in about six weeks. They will be continuing with more chemotherapy in a few weeks once she has a chance to recover from her surgery.”

As Entz speaks about her daughter and the emotional trauma the family has experienced, she stressed the love and support from friends, family, the school and the community have been a great source of strength and encouragement for them all.

“One of the main things we have learned through this whole experience is that we are never alone.”

Entz said her daughter, who loved swimming, jumping on the trampoline, playing softball and dancing, has shown incredible courage and determination.

“She has been an inspiration to us all. There are so many other children here as well that have had to take the same journey that have shared their stories and remain positive and hopeful through it all.”

Bluffton School held a silent auction in conjunction with a potluck supper last Thursday to provide some financial assistance to help the Entz family with transportation, accommodation and other costs associated with Shelby’s illness.

Principal Nolan Kraus said the community has been generous with donations.

“The staff and students at Bluffton School have been amazed by the love and support demonstrate through the community as well as the local businesses in Rimbey, Winfield and other communities in central Alberta. The donations and items for the silent auction have come from all over. People are just coming out of the woodwork.”

Kraus said the school itself has worked hard to make the event a success.

“Staff and students of Bluffton School have all pulled together to put on this special event for Shelby. And her classmates have created a movie including video clips from staff and students sending their love and support.”

Entz will home school her daughter for the remainder of this year, but expects Shelby to be back at Bluffton School next year to complete Grade 9.

“The school has been wonderful, they are like family, really. We are overwhelmed with how helpful and supportive they have been. They are such a great bunch of caring people.”

Entz said she, her husband, Willy, and their older children, Karsen and Jacey remain positive.

“Although Shelby has a long road ahead we remain optimistic and embrace the future and feel anything is possible if you just believe.”