Tickity Boob fundraiser brings in $18,700
April 9, 2018 7:39 am
The Tickity Boob fundraiser held recently for Debbie Brown, battling breast cancer, raised a total of $18,712.74.
Debbie said it was overwhelming to see the community come out to support her. “It’s very humbling, it makes me want to cry every time I think about it,” she says. “I don’t even have words actually! Believe it or not I’m at a loss for words.” She said the funds raised should help cover a lot of the costs of travelling to the city and staying over for some of the treatments.
Marlyne Primrose, one of the organizers of the fundraiser, said she too was overwhelmed with the support. “The support we had was just phenomenal, even we are lost for words.”
Marlyne says friends wanted to help as soon as they heard Debbie was battling breast cancer. “We heard she was doing doctors appointments and that. Then when she gave us the news that she had breast cancer, I just said ‘Okay, we are going to help you!’ ”
“I told Marlyne, no it’s not necessary, you don’t need to do that,” says Debbie.
“I explained to her, remember what we did with Taylor and how things turned out. I said it’s going to help you extremely well in the long run. And she realized yes, this is going to help.”
“I have been going to the city sometimes twice a week, for appointments and tests to begin with,” says Debbie. “Then after we scheduled chemo, it was every three weeks. The first one had to be in Regina. I had to have quite a few MRIs. So just trips back and forth, gas alone. A couple times we had to stay overnight because the appointment was so early and with winter we just decided to go up when the travelling was good. So there is a hotel stay plus a meal, and then Devon’s time away from work because Taylor wasn’t here at the time.”
There will be more trips coming up, Debbie explains. “Coming up after surgery is an overnight stay. After surgery is radiation and when I had my appointment with the radiologist, the oncologist he said that it could be three weeks or more. He’s not sure depending on the results of the surgery. So that’s a Monday to Friday stay.”
She says having the financial cushion from the fundraiser takes some of the financial stress away at an already difficult time.
“It makes things way easier, because it takes away that worry. I have no rainy day fund, so to have this is a relief.”
Even more important than the money, however, is knowing that she has so many people behind her.
“To be honest, it means so much to know that you have the support. That gives me so much encouragement, and that’s a huge thing for me right now.”
At the fundraiser, people wrote messages of encouragement on squares of cloth, and those will be put together into a blanket for Debbie.
“I thought that well, we can’t be around you all the time, so we thought with this blanket everyone had signed, that when you are in the healing process, you can have this blanket and just read what everybody is saying and know that we are with you,” says Marlyne.
“That’s awesome,” says Debbie. “That’s too much I keep telling you guys it’s too much.”
Marlyne says the fundraiser came together very easily because so many people came forward to help.
“Everyone who heard we were doing this was very helpful,” she said. “People were just stepping forward and saying what can I do? How can I help? Whatever we needed, people were willing to help, whether it was dainties or help moving the silent auction items from the store over to the hall. Thank God for Les McGonigal bringing his truck and trailer and helping us load everything into the trailer and moving it over there—he was a great support.”
Tough to describe
Debbie says it’s tough to describe what going through cancer treatment is like.
“I think each person will have a different experience definitely,” she said. “In my case, with my daughter, I had an idea of things that I might expect. I think I’d rather not know what’s to come. I think when you already know ahead, you’re already in a negative frame of mind. I found the mental part the hardest. Anybody that I have spoken with found the chemo to be the hardest, it gets you physically, but mentally it can really drag you down.
“Anybody in this room probably has a family member or somebody they know very closely who is going through it or has gone through it.
“All I can say is really embrace your support group whomever it may be, whether family, close friends or just people you know in passing and try to stay positive. Really look for funny things. It’s sounds so cliche, but it really works. And have your bad days. Just have it and just power through and remember it’s just a step at a time.
“The chemo was the worst so far! I’ve had a couple surgeries so I’m nervous about going under, which everybody is, but the surgery part doesn’t bother me as much as the chemo part did.”
What are the next steps in her treatment?
“I’m just currently waiting for a definite date for surgery, I have to have a full left breast mastectomy, and five lymph nodes removed. In between that sometime in the next couple weeks, they want me to go back to the Alan Blair Clinic and talk to a group that specialize in lymphoedema, which you can get. 25 percent of breast cancer patients can experience it. It’s when the fluid in your lymph system will seep into your arm or your trunk and it causes swelling, and fullness. Worst case scenario is wearing a sleeve full time and regular massages to get that out, because there is nowhere for it to go, it just seeps. It can happen immediately, it can last forever, it can happen 20 years after surgery.
“Then surgery sometime at the end of the month and recovery from surgery, and then it will be radiation, and then recovery from radiation and hopefully reconstruction—I haven’t decided yet.”
How long does the process take?
“My surgeon was telling me into next year, but I think that depends on if I go for reconstruction—if I decide against I’ll be just half a rack,” she says with a laugh.
Debbie said she is grateful to everyone who helped with the fundraiser.
“Once they started planning it, people were talking about it and coming up and then other people were doing things on their own towards it, like the key chains, which I thought was really awesome. I have to sit back, it’s completely out of my control. When people come up to me I just say thank you. It doesn’t seem enough, but I don’t know what else to say.
“I didn’t realize that many people knew me, let alone liked me,” she says with a laugh.
“It’s an awesome community. Look at Lesi last year, and how everyone came together to help them stay in Canada, donating money for lawyer fees. Moosomin is pretty awesome that way.”
What keeps Debbie going in the face of a cancer diagnosis?
“I just stay positive,” she says. “I’m lucky that I am still young, and everything is so much better than 10 years ago or even five years ago, because they keep doing research.
“I feel pretty fortunate. When you hear the words, when you are getting diagnosed, ‘If you do have cancer this is the best one to have,’ it’s still a hard pill to swallow. Nobody wants cancer of any kind, so when they say the best one they are saying it’s extremely responsive to treatment. There is a very good prognosis, very good outlook.
“Survival rates, when they give you survival rates after five years, you hear percentages— 85 per cent or whatever—that’s based on just the cancer, but anything can happen. You could have a heart condition or something, but after five years, what they are saying is you could go into remission, and not have anything happen for many years. Or it could reoccur again in a couple years. So, I mean percentages, they are just numbers. I just figure every day is just one step at a time. Just get through one thing and enjoy the good days when you get them.”
The wine at the end of the tunnel
“One thing I’ve found tough is not having a glass of wine, I actually really miss my glass of wine, I really do. So when this is all over I’ve got a bottle waiting that I’m going to get on my deck, I’m going to take a picture of my bare feet, and I’m going to have my glass of wine and I’m going to be enjoying it. That’s what I’m looking forward to.
“I’m just happy to have my family and my friends and people, just the support. Just knowing that if I do go out in the street, it’s like how’s things going? If I say tickity-boo, it’s like right on! Because that’s how I feel regardless, I can’t be down for very long.”
Pay it forward
Debbie says she has a simple message to everyone who contributed in any way to the fundraiser.
“Thank you, it was awesome, and pay it forward. Just pay it forward to anybody you know, a stranger in the street if they don’t look like they are having a good day, just even give them a smile, because you don’t know what they are going through. Just pay it forward, definitely, and everyone who helped should be very proud of themselves, because it’s an awesome thing to do.”