TONTOGANY – An Otsego High School senior who was diagnosed with leukemia as an infant is raising money for research.
Nataleigh Hartman is carrying on the school’s tradition of competing in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student Visionaries of the Year Campaign.
“My family has always been involved in fundraising for LLS,” she said.
Hartman was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when she was 16 months old.
Nat’s Cancer Crushing Crew is planning a dodgeball tournament on Feb. 17, Galentine’s Brunch with purse bingo on Feb. 19, winter formal on Feb. 25, 3-point shooting competitions at home basketball games and Dime for Donuts in the school classrooms.
Signup can be done on Instagram at natscancercrushingcrew.
Hartman said her team’s goal is $35,000 “but obviously we want to beat that.”
She doesn’t remember her cancer treatment but has a three-ring binder of her treatment plan that was kept by her parents, Doug and Janell Hartman, of Haskins.
“I don’t remember the bad stuff, but I remember being there. …” Hartman said.
Her treatment lasted for two years, two months and six days, during which she was given nine different chemotherapies, some taken orally, some injected intramuscularly, some through an IV, and some injected directly into her spinal cord.
She said she went into remission in 2008.
Hartman goes for checkups every year and said she remains in touch with a nurse she adopted as her grandma.
None of her three siblings has shown any signs of leukemia, she said.
Hartman grew up attending events supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and watching her parents fund raise through Team in Training and other groups bringing awareness to LLS.
In 2013, she was named the inaugural Northwest Ohio Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Girl of the Year.
Hartman is hoping to be named Student Visionary of the Year in 2023, and in another 10 years be named the LLS Visionary of the Year – the first person to earn all three titles.
Her 24-member team is running under the pillar of research, with the goal of raising money to make treatment shorter and more effective.
“Obviously I want to win because I’m competitive, but it means a lot to me and my family,” she said.
Her hope is that in a few years, a leukemia patient won’t have a binder but a sheet of paper outlining their treatment.
Hartman plans to attend Ohio Northern University this fall and major in political science with the goal of become a prosecuting attorney.
She has a year of college credits and expects to earn her law degree in five years at ONU.
Hartman was a delegate to Buckeye Girls State, where she was elected the director of public health and safety.
At Otsego, she plays basketball and soccer, is treasurer for FFA and student council, is secretary of the book and media club, is a student representative for the Sun Federal Credit branch at the high school and helps run the Knight and Day Café.
The Student Visionary of the Year competition is among area high school teams to raise the most funds in the seven-week time frame.
This is the fifth year Otsego has entered a team in the competition.
The title Student Visionary of the Year (formerly Student of the Year) is awarded to the candidate or co-candidates in each community that raise the most funds during the competition. Locally, 11 teams are competing in the Toledo region.
Donations to Hartman’s team can be made until March 3 at https://events.lls.org/tol/svoynwoh23/nhartman.