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Nothing Short of a Miracle

Waconians come together to support the Orth Family

Ask anyone who lives in this community, Waconians show up for each other. There’s an undeniable common thread that runs through us of giving, supporting one another, valuing community, and we’re not afraid to show it. We put time and money towards a new playground so all kids can play. We search on foot for lost dogs that we’ve never even met, and you’d be hard pressed to find a local business who doesn’t have a charitable mission. It was no different, when a phone call ignited a fire to rally the community of Waconia and its surrounding cities for three-year-old Zoey Orth and her family. They had a fight ahead, and unknowingly they were not about to do it alone.

Waconia resident, 3-year-old Zoey Orth, has always been a spirited and rambunctious little girl according to her dad. So when she was recently diagnosed with Diffuse Midline Glioma, H3 K27-altered, Grade 4 cancer, it was incomprehensible.

“We’ve experienced a full spectrum of emotions during this journey. Fear gave way to courage-sadness to joy-despair to hope...but as you read this we want you to know exactly how we feel about our community of family and friends-we’re just deeply grateful.” Mike and Heather have tried to raise their kids to be kind, generous, encouraging, self-sufficient and Christ centered people. Their values make it difficult to receive kindness when they teach them to give rather than to receive. “However, it’s clear this community we love so much wants to cover our little girl in love and support. So we’ve decided we need to get out of the way to allow your healing love to fully surround her.”

In light of the community wanting to help, a benefit for Zoey was conceived. This is no easy task in a matter of 20 days. But on June 26th, volunteers, local businesses, friends, and strangers showed up for Zoey beyond what anyone could possibly imagine. That evening, Carver County Fairground was filled with music, food, drinks, a silent and live auction and loving support for this local family. It was nothing short of a miracle. 

A group of local families even “crashed” Zoey’s benefit as a part of BenefitCrashers, an organization whose mission it is to show those who are experiencing hardships they’re not alone. A large group of BenefitCrashers surprised the Orths with their show of support and got busy bidding on auction items, buying food, and simply adding to the solidarity of the event. 

The family is incredibly grateful, not just for the financial support but for creating a memory for Zoey and her family that is beyond measure. For Mike and Heather Orth, this day was a wish granted for their baby girl. You see, when Zoey was diagnosed, she started treatment and missed her third birthday. All she wished for was “a purple park”. Her wish came true when she was paraded into the benefit, which she thought was her birthday party, by police escort, to a sea of over 5000 people wearing purple.

There’s no denying this community’s heart. Zoey’s benefit proved that when good people come together, phenomenal things can happen.

If you’d like to support Zoey, donate through Venmo at @ZoeyOrth.

Businesses featured in this article