Olivia Ruffner is not your ordinary 10-year-old girl.
She has set out on an ambitious goal to raise $1,000 for cancer research in honor of a family member by selling donated items and collecting donations at the Commodore Way flea market in Perrysburg.
In just one week, she’s already raised more than $650, and so many people have donated items for her to sell that her family is beginning to run out of space to store it all.
“It’s kind of growing out of hand, but I think that really speaks to the generosity of everyone who has donated,” said Jim Delph, Olivia’s grandfather.
Last Sunday, Olivia worked at the flea market all day beginning at 6:30 a.m. She’s also spent countless hours making signs, sorting through donated items, and setting up her fundraising tent. She’s doing it all because of someone she loves.
“My uncle has brain cancer, and I thought that something needed to be done for him,” Olivia said.
Her uncle, Mike Glanville of Powell, Ohio, was diagnosed with cancer 16 months ago. At the age of 49, he has undergone four surgeries, the last of which was July 23. Glanville is a graduate of The University of Toledo, which is where Olivia decided the money raised would be donated.
The donations will support the Cancer Biology and Biochemistry Fund at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. Olivia researched her decision by taking a tour of one of the UT cancer research labs under the direction of Dr. William Maltese, UTMC professor and chair of biochemistry and cancer biology.
Olivia hopes to reach her $1,000 goal by Sunday, which is her last day for fundraising because of all her other hobbies and activities that she has commitments to. This week, she’ll be showing her rabbit at the Wood County Fair and working the 4-H milkshake stand.
“We love that she will most likely meet her goal this week, but we also want Olivia to be a kid on the weekends too,” said her father, Rick Ruffner. “She will always accept donations for her cause, but as her parents, we also would like to her to be a little girl.”
Olivia’s efforts also were promoted by The Blade’s local news Our Town Perrysburg website.
Although the fundraising tent will be closed after Sunday, donations will continue to be accepted through The University of Toledo Foundation designated for the Cancer Biology and Biochemistry Fund. Checks can be mailed to Linda Clagus at the UT Foundation, 2801 W. Bancroft St., MS 319; Toledo 43606.