Two local moms know all too well the challenges that come when a family member is diagnosed with cancer.
Lisa Geddes and Michelle Williamson understand what it's like to drop everything and rush down the highway for an emergency trip to the hospital. They know about pets that need to be walked, people that need to be fed, homework that needs to be done, and bills that must be paid. Meanwhile, the all-consuming word "cancer" is the only thing on your mind. They have lived this life within their lives.
Then, not so very long ago, they learned about a little Whistler girl called Nadia, diagnosed with leukemia at four years old.
Nadia became the spark, the lightning rod, for change and "Families Fighting Cancer in the Sea to Sky" — a community non-profit organization — was born.
Williamson and Geddes have been sowing the seeds since then and this week the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation gave the fledging organization $10,000 to help get it off the ground.
"There are certain causes that we support that make me so proud to be part of this organization and Families Fighting Cancer is one of them," said Mei McCurdy, executive director of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. "All the hard work and effort that comes with fundraising for our community seems insignificant when we can help make a difference for children and youth in need."
The grant is a shot in the arm for Geddes and Williamson after a year of hard work and dedication to get Families Fighting Cancer off the ground. Their mandate is to support Sea to Sky children and parents with dependent children going through cancer treatment, recovery or palliative care. The group is also partners with Sea to Sky Community Services, which can administer tax receipts, among other things.
Families Fighting Cancer can provide funds up to $2,000 to help cover costs and temporary shortfalls. But that's only half the story.
"All of our help isn't going to be money," said Williamson. "It's going to be our volunteers that can help support people whether it's pet sitting, snow shovelling, household things for people. The money part, for some people, seems to be a smaller part of what they need."
Every year, based on population statistics, there will be six to eight new diagnoses of cancer in this region — the kinds of cancer that require aggressive treatments.
And now there is a place to turn for help.
Families Fighting Cancer is looking for volunteers and sponsors.
Check out the Facebook page — Families Fighting Cancer in the Sea to Sky — which will act as the central resource for the organization. And stay tuned for more initiatives from the community group.