Man charged with stealing collection jar designated for cancer victim, 19

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 11, 2007 - Having cancer and finding money to cover the cost of treatment is tough enough, but to have someone steal money donated to help pay for medical costs is adding insult to injury.

That’s what Danny Joe Woodard is accused of doing — stealing money designated to assist a 19-year-old woman recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Sulphur Springs man is alleged on Sept. 30 to have entered Joe Bob’s convenience store across from Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, swiped a collection jar off the counter and absconded with the cash, estimated at $2,000, according to Hopkins County Sheriff’s Investigator Lewis Tatum.

Tatum and Investigator Jace Anglin served Woodard with the warrant for theft of property valued between $1,500 and $20,000 at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. He was arraigned Thursday morning. Bail was set at $15,000, according to jail reports.

The money Woodard is accused of stealing was to have been used by Shawna Wells, 19, whose family has no medical insurance, to help pay for 12 chemotherapy treatments for stage 2A Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Wells, daughter of Chris and Mary Belz and Scott and Robin Wells, was diagnosed with the ailment on Sept. 11 after a knot she’d discovered on her neck four weeks before was checked out.

The 2006 North Hopkins High School graduate said the prognosis is positive, as there is a 93 percent cure rate for Hodgkin’s lymphoma when treated. She began the first treatment on Sept. 25. 

Hodgkin's lymphoma is characterized clinically by the orderly spread of disease from one lymph node group to another, and by the development of systemic symptoms with advanced disease. Pathologically, the disease is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells.

The stolen jar was one of several put out on counters at local businesses, such as The Furniture Barn, Town and Country Cleaners, Quality Inn, Joe Bob’s Convenience Stores and Furr’s, where Wells has worked for nearly three years.

Purple crosses are also being sold to raise funds to pay for her cancer treatment. The signs are available at The Furniture Barn, 201 Linda Drive in Sulphur Springs, or by calling 903-885-5667.

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