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If there’s a Wil, There’s a Way

Sarah Pickel, Staff Writer

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Lindbergh Comes Together to Lift up a Flyer in Need

For a typical Lindbergh Student, the day starts promptly at 7:25 in class and their main concern is staying awake during the first couple hours of the day. Junior student, Wil Ohler (11) does not start his school day until 10:15, but he has plenty of other things on his plate. For about four months, Ohler has been battling Leukemia, a cancer of the blood. The first two weeks of his diagnosis were spent in the hospital, undergoing various tests and treatments. He knew he was in for quite a fight, but also learned rather quickly that he would not be in this alone.
Ohler’s group of friends jumped right into action to show their friend how much they love and care for him. They sold orange “Where there’s a Wil, there’s a way” shirts, bracelets, and car decals. The profit went toward Ohler and his treatment, and orange represents Leukemia, so the color alone spreads awareness. Hundreds of people sent hundreds of texts sharing their support, and some even spent time with him in the hospital.
“For the first two weeks of diagnosis, I was in the hospital and there was one day when all of my friends came to visit. We had about 15 people in the hospital room and we were just laughing and having a good time, which really made me feel better,” Ohler said.
Support for Ohler became contagious throughout the Lindbergh family. His diagnosis came in the midst of the Girls 2017 soccer season. Ohler’s older sister, Kate Ohler (Class of 2017 Alumni) played soccer all four years at LHS so the team had a special game during districts for Wil and the Ohler family. The whole team wore orange headbands and tape on their wrists that read ‘All in 4 Wil.’
This year, the boys soccer team has also demonstrated their backing for Wil. Before Ohler’s diagnosis, it was expected that he would be the varsity goalie for the next two years. After the reality set in that Ohler would be unable to play because of his condition, various treatments, and procedures, the team ordered orange jerseys to wear in honor of him and his fight. The first home soccer game of the boys 2017 season, against CBC, was an “orange-out,” all for Ohler.
“Wil’s loss was big, but that being said, we draw inspiration from his courage. He doesn’t feel well most days, but he still makes an effort to be a part of the team and get out to everything that he can. He inspires us to push and fight through things,” Mark Giesing (Soccer Coach) said.
In addition to all the support from various groups of friends and teams, Wil’s best friends still make sure he gets out and gets his mind off things as often as possible.
“Our friend group still brings Wil out to everything so that he can have fun. Even sometimes if he says he’s feeling bad, we force him to go with us, which I think getting out really helps him,” Karli Sewell (11) said.
Not only is Wil gaining support, but so is the whole Ohler family. In addition to the merchandise sold, soccer games dedicated, and aid that has been given to the Ohler family, there was also a GoFundMe started to help out Wil and his family with some of the medical expenses.
“I have a chronically ill son and there are days when it can be really depressing and hard to get through, but you just look around and there’s always somebody there to lift you up. The Lindbergh family is just so amazing, someone is always there whether you need food and water or someone just to sit and hold your hand,” Tamara Ohler (Sperreng Teacher) said.
Lindbergh has a history of coming together to support a Flyer in need. The most recent instance, before Ohler’s diagnosis, was last year. Brad Bauer (Alumni) suffered a life changing injury when he broke his neck during a spring break trip in Mexico. He and his family experienced support from numerous people. T-Shirts and bracelets were sold, the water polo team wore Bauer’s number, 18, proudly on their chests for every game, and his friends and peers cheered him on every step of the way.
Initially after the injury, Bauer was unable to walk. After a few months of intensive care and rehab, Bauer ended up making a miraculous recovery. Less than three months after his accident, with the help of a friend, he walked across the stage at Chaifetz Arena to receive his diploma. A few weeks after graduation, he walked out of Ranken Jordan, using only a cane and his own two legs, to go home.
The support that Lindbergh has provided has been so crucial to so many families over the years. Ohler and Bauer are just two examples of many instances that Lindbergh came together to hold up some of their own. From helping families after a house fire, to comforting them after the loss of a loved one, and taking care of their students who are overcoming sickness or injury, Lindbergh is one big support system.
“If I didn’t have all of the love and support, it would be a whole lot different. You go through things in your mind over and over, thinking about how it stinks to be sick like this, but knowing that people truly want you to get better really helps to push through a lot of the pain,” Wil Ohler said.

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