A Cowichan Valley family is looking to raise money to help support them through cancer treatments.
Mark Stewart was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia about a year ago – the disease is a cancer in his bone marrow. Since diagnosis the disease has advanced to stage two, which means action must be taken. That’ll be taken in the form of a bone marrow transplant, which requires an extended stay at a hospital in Vancouver.
“We were told he would have to spend a month in the hospital, and unfortunately, we were told that he would need at least two months of recovery in Vancouver with 24-hour care before he could come home to finish his recovery,” says Mark’s wife, Dana. “The best case scenario is four months, and the worst case scenario is 6 to 8 months.”
Mark is an RV tech for Galaxy Motors and Dana is the owner of Island Gem and Bead on Trunk Road in Duncan. The family’s finances have already been stretched by the pandemic and so they’re reaching out to ask for help through an extended stay in the hospital.
“He’s going to have to pay for lodging and food and all that kind of stuff and also the loss of wages for four months. Being in the hospital he has no way to come up with $25,000 dollars,” says Mark’s brother, Mike.
Mike has been helping get things moving on the fundraising front. The two own a racecar that they run in the mini-stock division at Westshore Speedway in Langford – they’ve had to park it through this season while Mark undergoes treatment.
Mark is also a father of four, three boys and a girl, two of which are on the autism spectrum.
“It’s definitely been a bit hard on them,” says Mike. “We’re doing the best that we can, right? That’s all that we can do is keep them in a good mood and positive that everything will turn out fine.”
“The funds we raise will help us pay for the place he will stay, the care he will receive, and the travelling expenses,” says Dana in a post on their fundraiser. “It will help us care for our boys while our income has been cut and keep a roof over our heads.”
So far their GoFundMe has raised $1,000 towards their $25,000 goal. They’re also running a bottle drive throughout the day on September 10th to raise funds outside Mike’s home in the 3100 block of Gibbins Road. They’ve got some other fundraising efforts that they’re still ironing out the details on.
Dana says, “We are truly grateful for the love and support we are receiving and hope to pay it forward to others that are struggling in the future.”