Last month, the Times published an article about a fundraiser that was being set up to help a local young mother who had been diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer. Dawn LeGoueff is just 39, with two teenage boys, and is dealing with a long series of chemotherapy treatments. The schedule is grueling. In a 3-week cycle, Dawn undergoes chemo in hospital, followed by twenty chemo pills a day, with the third week treatment-free. This will go on until the end of December. After that, depending on the size of the tumour, Dawn either undergoes surgery, followed by four months of recovery, or another four months of chemo treatment. She also has a number of prescriptions she takes daily for nausea, sores in her mouth, diarrhea meds, and others. Also, she can only use all natural ingredients for shampoo and soaps when it comes to personal care, due to the radiation treatments. It is a hard schedule to face for anyone, but with two teenagers, and no possibility of paid work, the financial strain adds hugely to the emotional and physical challenges she faces.
And that is where family, friends, and this community steps in. Dawn’s sister, Sam, and their mother have been taking days off work to go to treatments with her, meaning another financial loss all round. But along to the rescue came two friends who have known Dawn since they were children together. Deb Driscoll and Jaime Peca came up with a raffle to raise funds to support Dawn, and what a raffle it was. The two women who work at Re/Max Affiliates Realty in Kemptville, personally donated a prize of a 7-night resort vacation for two and $500 cash to go towards airfare. They then canvassed donations for 26 other prizes, including dinner for two at the Brigadoon, an Outer Creations Landscaping gift card, a Rideau Roastery gift card, and jewelry from Smiling Moon. Companies that went, as Sam says, above and beyond, were Shouldice Construction, Re/Max Affiliates Realty, CC Squared photography, MT Electric, M2 Electric, and Moto Trenz.
What did all this amount to? A grand total of $11,060 to help Dawn and her family get through the next months of treatments and pain without having to worry about paying the rent or feeding the kids. The enormous relief that this brings to the entire family is simply fantastic. Before being diagnosed, Dawn had only been in her job for four months, not enough time to build up an EI balance. Sam, speaking on behalf of Dawn, their mother, and the family, puts it well:
“Before cancer, Dawn was pay cheque to pay cheque, like many of us. Dawn will have to be on welfare for the remainder of her treatment and recovery. This doesn’t pay half of her regular expenses like rent, hydro, groceries, car payments and groceries.”
Sam had started a GoFundMe page, which raised enough money so that Dawn now has her rent paid for until next April. But the raffle has changed everything. Dawn can get her treatments and prescriptions worry free and stress free. Sam says that Dawn and the family are “blown away” by the generosity of their community.
“Dawn can now rest easy and recover! Because of the generosity of Debbie and Jaime and this amazing community, Dawn does not have to choose between feeding her kids or buying medications to help her fight cancer. This community blows me away with their generosity. I tear up every time I think of what our community has done and continues to do to support my sister.”
Once again, North Grenville shows its character, and how the work of individuals who care makes a tremendous difference in the lives of their friends and neighbours and community. Best wishes to Dawn as she continues to face challenges, but now with hope, joy and genuine gratitude.