MONTICELLO, Ill., (WCIA) — Sarah Jane German is a senior at Monticello High School balancing school and extracurricular activities like any other kid. But, she’s also managing her own non-profit in honor of her late mother.

She’s making it her mission to ensure other families have the support they need when navigating a scary diagnosis.

“In my family, she was our source of hope,” Sarah Jane described. “Even though she was the one going through hard times.”

Her mom, Beverly, battled Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) for eight years. It’s a slow-growing type of cancer that forms in the salivary glands.

“My mom is as extroverted as you could get. She knew everyone which in turn meant that they knew her,” Sarah Jane said.

Now, she’s aiming to keep that memory alive with her non-profit Cure ACC.

“We’re hoping to start bringing people even from across the world to support one cancer patient at a time,” she said.

That starts with chemotherapy care packages for patients, and connecting them to people who can help them along the journey. German said it all started with a small Instagram account a few months after her mom died in 2017.

“It just took off faster than I could handle and now we’re here and it’s just growing,” Sarah Jane said.

She wants to break the stigma around the disease. Growing up, she said people were scared to ask her mom questions directly and asked 5-year-old Sarah Jane instead.

“There’s this bubble around cancer patients that people don’t want to pop,” Sarah Jane explained. “They’re so scared of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing and potentially hurting them.”

She doesn’t want that to keep happening and said Monticello High School is helping her reach that goal.

“I walk through the halls and I see any teacher and I say ‘hey I have this new thing coming up!’ and they are so stoked for me,” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “It’s amazing because I don’t get that validation from my mom. To hear everyone else rally behind me fills that hole.”

Fred, her dad, is beyond proud of her hard work and said he sees a lot of aspects of Beverly in his daughter.

“She’s outgoing, friendly, talks to anybody and she certainly didn’t get that from me. Just an incredibly positive attitude,” he said.

Even with moving away for college next year, Sarah Jane and her dad knows it’s important to keep pushing Cure ACC further ahead.

“I want to give one little girl in my place eight more years with her mom because my eight years will never be enough,” Sarah Jane said.

In the fall, she’s heading to Auburn University to study business management and build more connections for the organization.