A local family is giving back to the organization that helped them during a medical crisis with their daughter last year.
Andrea Purcell is thankful for the financial help offered by Nelson Friends of the Family when her daughter Paige, now 3½ years old, developed a brain tumour. She has organized a silent auction on Facebook in support of the organization.
“I just want to give back to Friends of the Family for the next family in need,” said Purcell. “I never thought my child was going to have a brain tumour. And heaven forbid someone else has something happen to their child… I just want to accumulate money back into that fund.”
While Purcell and her husband had some support for family illness through their employers, it didn’t cover all expenses. Friends of the Family supported the family during two visits to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for the removal of a massive tumour growing on Paige’s cerebellum, pushing on her brain stem.
“That little bit of money helped a lot — even though it wasn’t much it, it was still a lot in the whole grand scheme of things,” she said.
There are already over 50 items listed in the silent auction with more donations coming in all the time. Purcell is pleased with what she has on offer.
“What’s really amazing is people are actually coming to me saying they want to donate and I haven’t even approached them,” she said. “I have been blown away by the response from our community. Blown away.”
Life is much different for Paige today compared to how sick she was a very short time ago.
This time last year, the little girl started to get progressively sick with constant headaches and by last fall, Purcell carried around a collapsible dog dish because she never knew when her daughter would have to vomit.
“It was the extreme opposite of this little kid I have now who’s filled with piss and vinegar like every 3½ year-old should be,” she said.
Paige skied 40 days at Whitewater this winter.
“The ski hill was our savior this winter, our escape,” Purcell said.
Paige also just came home from a trip to Mexico with her family; a trip funded by Make a Wish. After coming out of surgery, Paige asked if she could go to Mexico to stomp sandcastles on the beach, be serenaded by a mariachi band and have a visit with Grandma in Cancun.
“So often throughout the trip she would randomly say, ‘I’m so happy, Mom,’” Purcell said, still getting emotional about the whole ordeal.
“It helps us as parents to come to some level of closure about her brain tumor — and time to celebrate Paige’s life. The joy brought to my daughter through her wish will always be remembered.”
The silent auction starts May 27 at 7 p.m. and runs until June 3 at 7 p.m.