2018-07-05 / News

Wenzel helps Davison girl raise money for cancer benefit


Natalie Polehna, 15, was diagnosed with cancer at just 12 years old and has suffered a number of health conditions since. Now cancer-free, her medical bills have impacted her chances of attending the Ambassador Leadership Summit at Yale University. In order to offset the costs, she’s started a GoFundMe page. Natalie Polehna, 15, was diagnosed with cancer at just 12 years old and has suffered a number of health conditions since. Now cancer-free, her medical bills have impacted her chances of attending the Ambassador Leadership Summit at Yale University. In order to offset the costs, she’s started a GoFundMe page. DAVISON — Twelve-year-old girls are supposed to be worrying about things like homework, makeup, clothes and boys – not histoplasmosis, lung calcification and medullary thyroid cancer.

But, for the past three years, those are the exact things that Natalie Polehna has been forced to think about since being diagnosed with cancer at just 12 years old. Now 15, Natalie is cancer-free and hoping to make her way to New Haven, Conn. to attend a leadership summit at Yale University. The only thing standing in her way is the cost of tuition, thanks to the lingering impact of her medical bills.

Natalie, who is an exceptional student and athlete at Davison High School, was nominated by educator Tracey Fowler to attend the 2018 Ambassador Leadership Summit, which is designed to help promising students develop leadership skills, build confidence and get ready for the opportunities and responsibilities ahead. The program will lay the foundation for the rest of Natalie’s future, affording her the chance to join students from up to 140 different countries. The summit will allow her to experience college life, gain a competitive edge for her college and career, meet change-makers and learn from industry experts.

“As a parent, when I see her desire to do something like this, I wanna do everything I possibly can to make it happen,” said Natalie’s father, Dennis Polehna. “When she was nominated for the Leadership Summit, I was thinking it was a lot of money, and we wanted to budget for that, but with everything that’s happened the last couple years, it’s really difficult.”

In order to offset the cost of the $3,000-tuition for the Ambassador Leadership Summit, Natalie has started a GoFundMe account called “Send Natalie to Yale.” And, along with her online fundraising efforts, she has also gained the attention of Todd Wenzel Buick GMC of Davison, who will be donating a whopping $1,000 to her cause, helping her to realize her goal and attend the summit.

Drew Smith, the general manager of Todd Wenzel Buick GMC, said, “We were compelled by the story, and we’re happy to be able to try and help Natalie get to Yale. When her dad walked in the front door and asked us to donate, the story really pulled at our heartstrings. Todd Wenzel is a family man and does everything he can to stay connected to his community, so we want to help Natalie, and we’re hoping the community does, too.”

For more information about Natalie and her trip, or to donate to her tuition, visit https://www.gofundme.com/tm239-sendnatalietoyale&rcid=r01-153004594588-073777181f0942e1&pc=em_co_campmgmt_m. For more information about Todd Wenzel Buick GMC, visit www.toddwenzel.com.

By Alex Petrie

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