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Woodbury Lakes partners with cancer charity for Girls Night Out

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Zach Sobiech's "Clouds" song touched many hearts - not only those he dedicated the song to, but millions of others.

The Stillwater teen who's battling osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, drew supporters from Woodbury who will help raise money for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund/Children's Cancer Research Fund this spring.

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Woodbury Lakes Mall turned to its fans on Facebook this year to choose a charity to partner with during the annual Girls Night Out event in May.

After getting 85 suggestions, mall officials narrowed it down to the top five and asked fans to vote for the charity they'd like to support.

Between the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf, BARK Rescue, The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund/Children's Cancer Research Fund, The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Sobiech's charity had the most votes at 415.

"That was our reason for opening it up to Facebook, we wanted to hear from them about which charity they're passionate about," said Laurie Mordorski, marketing director for Woodbury Lakes. "It was difficult, we really wanted it to be well-rounded we wanted it to be a lot of different types of charities."

Sobiech was diagnosed at age 14 and as the disease spread, he ran out of effective treatment options that would offer him a cure, according to the Children's Cancer Research Fund website.

About a year ago, Sobiech was told he likely has months to one year to live, the website states.

But his response was to embrace every day and surround himself with friends and family, in addition to writing music and playing guitar.

"Clouds," which Sobiech wrote as a goodbye song, and its accompanying music video has gotten more than 2.5 million views on YouTube and garnered worldwide attention after he was featured on CNN, People Magazine and the local media.

He's also played at various Twin Cities venues and was heard on Cities 97.

"He's getting huge publicity for his music, he's just a phenomenal artist," Mordorski said.

The Children's Cancer Research Fund partners with various families who suffer from specific types of cancer from all over the nation to create branches for the organization and the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund is one.

Voting for the charity ended Friday, March 8, well ahead of the Girls Night Out event that's slated for May this year where all proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund.

Woodbury Lakes fans on Facebook and other Sobiech fans from across the world showed him support and commented on his story on the Woodbury Lakes page last week.

"Zach shows others that an illness doesn't mean you stop communicating with those you love, but to leave a legacy like 'Clouds' and Zach's more recent music is truly special," said Casey-Lee Hoffman from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. "Well done Zach and family, you deserve this and so much more."

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Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.
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