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

Vanessa Peterson, Amy Lobner, John Wampler, and Jennifer Wampler at Lizzy's Walk of Faith 5K, holding a check addressed to the Osteosarcoma Foundation

Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation Supports Research into Chemo’s Effectiveness

John and Jennifer Wampler are working together with the OSI to concentrate on finding a cure for osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma ended Lizzy Wampler’s life on March 15, 2018, but her parents, John and Jennifer, continue to fight on behalf of the 10-year-old they cherished. She wanted them to.

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

John and Jennifer Wampler and their two surviving children started fundraising later that same year with a 5K called Lizzy’s Walk of Faith in their hometown of Columbia, Missouri. The 5K has only grown since 2018. In 2022, Lizzy’s Walk of Faith had more than 800 participants, raising $104,000 in donations for childhood cancer.

As the 5K event grew, the Wamplers wanted the impact of their childhood cancer organization to grow too.

“We wanted to fine-tune our vision for how we were helping patients and felt it would be best if we targeted a bit more specifically,” Jennifer says. “What impacted us the most is osteosarcoma, not just pediatric cancer in general. Our daughter needed a cure for osteosarcoma.”

A Shared Sense of Urgency

After consulting with their board, John and Jennifer decided Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation (LWOF) needed to have a more focused mission. The Wamplers learned about the Osteosarcoma Institute (OSI) in 2020, and appreciated that the OSI’s goals aligned with their own.

“We like that the OSI shares our sense of urgency, our sense of desperation around osteosarcoma,” John says. “Collaborating with the institute allows us to feel empowered to make a difference.”

“We like that the OSI shares our sense of urgency, our sense of desperation around osteosarcoma. Collaborating with the institute allows us to feel empowered to make a difference.” — John Wampler

Together, the OSI worked with LWOF to determine where to direct the funds raised in Lizzy’s honor. The OSI presented eight different osteosarcoma research projects to choose from. Ultimately, LWOF selected a study by Brian Crompton, MD, a pediatric oncologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the research co-director of the Solid Tumor Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, looking at the effectiveness of liquid biopsy for monitoring osteosarcoma treatment.

Supporting Cancer Research to Monitor Chemo’s Effectiveness

Currently, all osteosarcoma patients begin treatment with chemotherapy, and there is no way to know if it is working or not. Dr. Crompton’s liquid biopsy technique would be used to help monitor how well chemotherapy is working in the first three months, which is the average treatment period prior to tumor removal surgery.

Dr. Crompton is hopeful that the research will also offer insight into why certain cancers respond better to treatment than others. It could even lead to uncovering biomarkers that may play a role in early detection down the road.

A Meaningful Collaboration

The Wamplers appreciate the involvement they have in their chosen project. Every six months, they receive detailed progress reports on Dr. Crompton’s cancer treatment research.

“It’s really become a relationship we’ve developed with the institute,” John says. “We don’t feel like just a number here. We aren’t just another bereaved family. And that relationship is very important to us.”

In their work supporting families and fundraising for osteosarcoma research, the Wamplers are showing no signs of stopping.

“The walk is a labor of love for sure,” Jennifer says. “It’s a lot of work, but we get a lot of joy out of it, too. It’s a tangible thing that we can do for our daughter, and we feel like she’s with us when we get to help other families.”

No doubt Lizzy would approve.

“Oh, she would be thrilled,” Jennifer says. “I can hear the giggling. She would be giggling and smiling and laughing and absolutely loving it.”

Sign Up to Receive The Frontline

Stay informed as we work to identify new treatments for osteosarcoma.

We never sell or share your information.

More On This Topic

Your donation provides immediate and long-term support to osteosarcoma patients.

Translate »