By BLACKFALDS LIFE STAFF
Blackfalds mom Heather Mones is fighting the battle of her life – to live to raise her two children – after she was diagnosed with Stage III colorectal cancer earlier this year.
She has remained strong, facing cancer with courage, determined to survive. But everyone reaches their breaking point, where they are overwhelmed by the struggle.
“Four weeks ago my hair started to fall out,” said Heather. “I messaged my best friend (Jen Gordon) to tell her the news. I was having a pretty big pity party.
“Within 20 minutes I received a video of her and her four children pledging to shave their heads with me. Just like that my pity party was over. They weren’t asked to do this. They all selflessly volunteered. It made shaving my head much easier.”
Jen said when Heather was diagnosed with cancer they talked about dreams that may never be fulfilled, hopes that everything will turn out alright and worries about the treatments she would have to undergo.
“As a mom of a then five-year-old and newborn baby she was worried Bailee wouldn’t even be old enough to remember her. She was worried Pat would be a single father, she feared Braden’s reaction to seeing her so ill throughout chemo and radiation, she had financial concerns. As a best friend I felt helpless, how can I ease her pain? What can I do to help? Fundraise, watch the kids, just be there.”
When Heather started to lose her hair Jen knew that was something she could help with.
“I told her I’d shave mine if she lost hers. My kids knew my plan. So when she sent me a photo of a handful of hair and I told my kids she was losing her hair, my 10-year-old Cadence replied ‘so when are we shaving?’ My nine-year-old Jaidyn and seven-year-old Mira had a few questions about whether their hair would grow back; would it grow back the same colour? But they too joined in without ever being asked. My five-year-old son, TJ only said he wished ‘my hair was as long as that one time so I could donate too.’ Of course I told him he was welcome to shave off what he has in support too. We brainstormed and I realized if I inspired them, we could raise some awareness and some money for the Canadian Cancer Society, inspire others and donate our hair to Locks of Love.”
Locks of Love makes and donate wigs to children who lose their hair for any reason.
“The kids set a goal of raising $10,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society and we’ve set out to do just that. They’ve sold Freezies at the post off for donations towards the cause, they have canvased door to door and they are posing for all of our Facebook posts.”
Cancer is also something that Jen and her family know all too well.
“We have had a rough year with cancer this year,” she said.
Jen’s family lost their Opa to cancer in January, her uncle was re-diagnosed with cancer only weeks later and then Heather. In 2014 Jen’s dad had kidney cancer almost five years to the day after her uncle had it. She, along with all her siblings have to be tested as it’s genetic.
“Thankfully, both my dad and uncle were able to have surgery to have a nephrectomy and were given the all clear. My sister had a routine check-up and results for a biopsy came back positive for cancer about the same time as dad was battling. She was able to have day surgery to have hers removed. Uncle Brad’s lung collapsed while playing with one of his grandchildren in December, which is how they discovered his cancer had come back in a new place as Stage 4. We found this out shortly after Opa’s passing.”
“We’ve had a lot of family die from cancer and we don’t want any more to die,” said Jaidyn.
“We’re doing it for Heather,” said Mira.
Jen’s sister is helping and together they want to raise $15,000. So far they have raised $4,000.
The Gordon family will shave their heads at their home on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. with their cancer fighters and survivors there to support them.