WWU, Squalicum High students take on charity effort of fallen friend

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 25, 2014 

BELLINGHAM - A group of college and high school students are honoring former Squalicum High student Hannah Dashiell by making sure a service-learning project she started before she died will come to fruition.

Dashiell was a senior at Squalicum before she was killed in a car accident on Jan. 5.

She had worked with her grandmother, Pat Jerowski, to bring a version of the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk to Bellingham as a tribute to her grandfather, Jerry Jerowski, who died from brain cancer. The Seattle walk, founded in 2008 and sponsored by Swedish Medical Center, has raised more than $2.5 million for research, clinical trials and comprehensive care for Pacific Northwest brain cancer patients.

Dashiell had long been a supporter of the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk. Each year on her birthday she asked guests to donate to the walk instead of bringing her gifts, her father, Dennis Dashiell, told Western Washington University's Office of Communications and Marketing. Dennis works in WWU's Human Resources office.

Thanks to collaborative efforts from Squalicum and WWU students, the Bellingham walk will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at Civic Field in Bellingham.

Registration for the walk, which is not competitive, is available online for $25 per walker through May 30 at braincancerwalk.org/Bellingham. Donations may be made online at any time.

Registration is available the day of the walk for $35 per person.

The walk will feature live music, a kid's zone and an "Honor Tent" for photos and messages celebrating survivors or in memory of those whose lives were taken by the disease. Brain cancer survivors and family members are encouraged to attend the event.

Just days before the crash, Dashiell had registered a website for the Bellingham walk she planned.

On that Sunday morning, Dashiell was driving her light blue 1970 Volkswagen Beetle to work just before 10 a.m. when the car slid on the icy Barkley Boulevard hill and skidded into the oncoming lane near Brandywine Way. It was hit by a Toyota Tacoma coming the other direction and caught fire. Dashiell was knocked out by the impact and likely never regained consciousness, according to an autopsy. The crash was ruled accidental and Dashiell was not at fault, according to Bellingham police.

Dashiell was an honor roll student, senior class vice president, and active in student activities and athletics. Her friends and classmates said she was friendly to everyone and was known for being an optimist.

Between all of her school activities, Dashiell managed to find hundreds of hours to volunteer for the Seattle Cancer Society.

The group working on the project includes Squalicum students Sarrah Truong, Hunter Hanlon and Tyler Ho, as well as WWU's Katie Coty, Crescent Munsen, Lindsay Wells, Sarah Rothgeb, Haley Poradun and Aki Knighten. WWU faculty members Dan Purdy, Samit Bordello and Karen Stout helped mentor the students.

Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at Samantha.Wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com.

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