Stories of progress, inspiration, and information in overcoming osteosarcoma.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Joy Wampler’s Osteosarcoma Story

Lizzy Wampler stayed strong throughout her battle with bone cancer because of her faith and the love and support of her family.

At the tender young age of 9, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Joy Wampler lived a normal girl’s life of jumping rope, gymnastics and playing with Barbie dolls. She enjoyed her daddy-daughter dates, playing Legos with her siblings, and shopping with her mother.

Lizzy liked to live her life to the fullest and seized many exciting opportunities.

During her childhood, she was featured on the NBC Today Show, displayed on the menu in 3,500 Chili’s Restaurants, honored at professional and college sporting events, recorded 3 songs, and starred in a Target video with Chip and Joanna Gaines and multiple national St. Jude commercials.

Receiving an Osteosarcoma Diagnosis

One day, Lizzy began to complain of “growing pains” in her knee, so her parents, Jennifer and John, decided to get it checked out by her doctor. To their shock, amazement, and disbelief, they heard what no parent should ever hear, “Your child has cancer.” For the next 15 months, Lizzy was treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Lizzy’s greatest accomplishment was positively impacting and touching lives everywhere she went. Her passion for her purpose of faith, generosity, and compassion kept her strong throughout her journey.

Honoring Lizzy’s Legacy

Tragically, on March 15th, 2018, Lizzy bravely and courageously finished her battle with bone cancer. Her race against cancer, as well as too many others, ended too soon due to the need for a cure for osteosarcoma. Her last contribution was her desire to donate parts of her body to science for further research and help in finding a cure for osteosarcoma.

Jennifer and John know that their daughter, Lizzy, would want them to help other children and support science, which was her favorite subject in school.

“She loved to learn. She loved to discover. She had a joy for it,” says John. “That’s the mentality that everybody needs, to have that passion that we are going to learn something, we’re going to discover something and hopefully improve treatment for osteosarcoma.”

"Toward the end of her life, Lizzy said, ‘I don’t want any of the other child to hear the words there’s nothing else we can do for you.’” — Jennifer Wampler

A Commitment to Helping Others

The Wamplers wish to provide comfort to other families going through what they did. The Osteosarcoma Institute often connects families who reach out through OSI Connect to the Wamplers because their foundation provides thoughtful, personalized care packages for children battling pediatric cancer.

“This is a gruesome disease,” says Jennifer. “And we were greatly impacted watching Lizzy go through this. Toward the end of her life, she said, ‘I don’t want any of the other child to hear the words there’s nothing else we can do for you.’ She loved her life. Even after several months being away from home and being in the hospital, she still loved her life and wanted to live. And I mean, forever, that’s going to be our mission…. We know that Lizzy would be joyful and happy and want other children to have a better outcome than she did. And that’s enough to keep us going.”

A Desire to Support Science

Lizzy’s Osteosarcoma Science Fund at the OSI represents one of several Partnering for Progress funds that have committed significant support for osteosarcoma research.

“Our passion really is pinpointing osteosarcoma and going after it instead of just throwing money out like a shotgun approach,” says John. “I mean, this is personal. The fact that the government only spends less than 1% on osteosarcoma research — and less than 4% on pediatric cancer? I believe Lizzy deserves more.”

Jennifer says she’s thrilled by the swiftness with which their donations go to work. “I like the idea of trying to help patients as quickly as possible,” she says. “Osteosarcoma is just horrible, so anything that you can do right away to help a child, I want to do that.”

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