North Country family aims to become top American Cancer Society childhood cancer fundraising team

Regional News

In May of 2019, at just 17 months of age, Jocelyn was diagnosed with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. It’s often called ATRT for short, and it’s a form of brain cancer that is both very rare and very aggressive.

Jocelyn and her parents live in Utah. However, both of her parents are originally from the Plattsburgh area. Her mother, Katelynn Ducharme, has a TikTok account dedicated to her which has nearly 1,500,000 followers.

“She’s very intuitive with the support that she gets, even though she’s only three,” Ducharme says. “And whenever she sees people wearing shirts that have her name on it, she picks it out right away and gets really excited and she’s like, ‘that’s Jocelyn!’ or ‘that says Team Jocelyn!’.”

The reason Jocelyn might see T-shirts with her name on them is because Team Jocelyn is part of the Gold Together program. Gold Together is an American Cancer Society initiative dedicated specifically to childhood cancer.

“Childhood cancer research only gets less than 4% from the government for funding (among the federal money set aside for cancer research each year), so being able to fundraise on our own and dedicate those funds strictly for childhood cancer is amazing,” Ducharme said.

Jocelyn’s family is trying to make Team Jocelyn into America’s most prolific Gold Together team.

“Right now, we’re number two,” Hollie Boulerice, Jocelyn’s maternal grandmother, said. “We’re pushing to be number one. That’s our biggest goal. We have a few more weeks, so we’re definitely pushing to get over that.”

Boulerice lives in Champlain, New York. She says they have a few more weeks because the Relay For Life of Plattsburgh is making its return from a pandemic break on Friday, August 20.

“We’re only about $5,500 off, so we’ve just gotta keep pushing and trying to get her to number one,” Boulerice said. “She deserves it.”

An American Cancer Society senior development manager said that what Jocelyn’s family is doing demonstrates that Relay For Life is about more than raising money.

“It’s about raising awareness, and Team Jocelyn is doing just that,” Joan Sterling said. “We have noticed that this is bringing the community together. It’s bringing the family together.”

Katelyn will fly to Plattsburgh for the relay event. Jocelyn has to stay in Utah for treatment, but it may be possible to say hello to her in a video call from the fairgrounds that night.

In the interest of full disclosure, Local 22 & Local 44 learned of this through sponsorship of the Relay For Life of Plattsburgh each year. We believed it merited coverage as a news story nonetheless.

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