At the end of October, our dear friend Laura’s world was shattered when she took her 2-year-old daughter to the ER to investigate a rash, and hours later was delivered a leukemia diagnosis. While trying to support her daughter with breastfeeding in hospital, Laura received another blow: What she thought was a blocked milk duct is actually a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.
Laura is only 36 years old. She is a brilliant woman, a PhD in Clinical Child Psychology, and has passionately dedicated her career to public service and helping children and their families heal from emotional traumas. Laura’s true life’s work is being a devoted mother to her 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter; just as she had summoned all her inner-mama-warrior to advocate for her daughter, her world came crashing down for the second time in only a few short weeks.
Laura is the friend that sticks by your side for a lifetime. The wife who brings out the best in you each day. The mother who would stop at nothing to protect you. The daughter and daughter-in-law who jumps leaps and bounds to let you know she cares. The colleague who goes to bat for you both professionally and personally. She has been our rock for so long and now she needs our help.
Over the past few weeks Laura’s daughter has undergone intensive chemotherapy by infusion, orally, and into her spinal fluid and brain. She has 2.5 years of leukemia treatment ahead of her. Laura will have her own surgery on December 22nd, and will literally be in an operating room at the same time as her daughter. She will then start intensive chemo, followed by a mastectomy and possibly radiation. Despite all this, for Laura, the most heartbreaking part of all this is that she will not be able to support her cherished daughter in the same way she that had imagined.
Both Laura and her husband Derrick have had to suddenly stop working. In addition to caring for their 5-year-old son, Derrick is now the support person to double cancer treatments, for his wife and his daughter. This layers in a significant additional financial burden, increased expenses, and real fears around finances. The timeline of the uncertainty is indefinite. The logistics of parenting two young children, while one child and one parent are ill, is overwhelming. All of their extended family is out-of-province, and they have countless medical appointments and impossible schedules. As if this isn’t impossible enough, the COVID-19 pandemic creates its own set of challenges as they try to access childcare for their son with two immune suppressed family members at home. They will need flexible but safe childcare and supports as Derrick moves back and forth between hospitals and home.
We’ve created this GoFundMe page in an attempt to offer some much-needed comfort and financial security during this devastating time. It is our mission to make sure that Laura and her family do not have to worry about how they are going to pay their bills or mortgage, and to ensure they have money to pay for any support and childcare they need while they bravely face this horrific nightmare.
For those of you who don’t know Laura well, know for certain that she only wants people to give what they are in a position to give. She is bolstered by our support, but does not want her pain to add to the strain of others. If you are able to help a little, we (all of her friends and family who love Laura and her family so much) would appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts. If you aren't able to help monetarily, we completely get it – this has been a year like no other for everyone, and many folks are struggling. Either way, PLEASE SHARE with your networks, and perhaps between all of us giving a little where we can, we can help alleviate some of the burden for Laura and her family.
With love and deep gratitude,
Laura’s friends and family
- brenda, Jobina and Katie smith
- Joanne Gusella
- Thomas Osborne
- Jeannine Corkery
Organizer and beneficiary
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