Community rallies around cancer patient

A Fernie woman who received an outpouring of community help three years ago is returning the favour by helping raise money for a Hosmer woman.

A Fernie woman who received an outpouring of community help three years ago is returning the favour by helping raise money for a Hosmer woman.

Raven Garlock along with Cathy Follett are raising money for Tania Wallman.

“Tania has had a hard year. In February 2010, her son, daughter-in-law and their young daughter were in a serious car accident,” said Garlock.

Wallman’s son was pronounced dead on the scene. His wife struggled in the ICU for months, and their daughter Morgan had some injuries but went home with her grandmother.

In November 2010, Wallman was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“She has to stay in Calgary for chemotherapy maintenance, and now needs to rent an apartment,” said Garlock.

Wallman is seeking a stem cell donor.

Follett came to Garlock with the idea of a head shave to raise money for Wallman and the One match stem cell and marrow program.

“Tania has been a big part of the community in Hosmer,” said Garlock, “She really helps wherever she can.”

One of the places Wallman has helped out is the Hosmer Fire Department, and in return several members are planning to shave their heads at Extra Foods on March 11.

“Anyone can shave by donation,” said Garlock. “Even a nine-year-old boy is going to shave his head. His mom told him about it and knows Tania, and he even told his school about it.”

Garlock said that 20 per cent of all money raised will be donated to Canadian Blood Services to be used for their One match stem cell and marrow program. The remainder will help Tania and her family with the various costs.

“It’s awesome the help that people receive in such a tight community,” said Garlock. “No one can say that they never needed help. It’s nice to know that there are people you can fall back on.”

Raven has experienced first hand how the community can rally around to help someone in need.

She suffered two heart attacks before giving birth to her baby girl two years ago.

“I was so amazed by how the community came through for me when I was in need,” said Raven Garlock.

In addition to the head shave on March 11, there will also be a BBQ, a bake sale, a silent auction; and the Hosmer fire department will be selling shirts and toques. There are also donation jars at Extra Foods where people can donate.

Garlock said that there is also a website, www.taniasstemcelldonordrive.ca, where people can get more information on how to donate and be tested to be a stem cell donor.