When you are a little kid your parents hang the moon and although you may have your ups and downs, and the teenage years, you always see your parents as invincible. Parents never think sickness will impact their kids and kids never imagine their parents getting sick.
Candace Gillanders is a newlywed, has three sisters and her parents Ron and Joy Walker just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. Life seemed perfect.
In May of this year Gillanders and her family got the news that her mother Joy had stage 4 advanced gallbladder cancer.
Gillanders met with me at her place of work and told me about being a newlywed, her fundraiser for the cancer treatment room at the High River Hospital and her mom’s fight with cancer.
Can you tell me why you decided to shave your head?
Gillanders: When my mom was first diagnosed with stage 4 advanced gallbladder cancer, the first thing I said to her was, if you have to shave your head I will shave mine.
I was planning my wedding to my now husband (Jason) and I told my mom I have to wait until after I am married before I could shave my head.
I was talking to my husband Jason, he suggested if I was going go to do it no matter what, why not raise money at the same time.
My mom is my world. My husband and I want to have kids soon and when we do I hope to be half the mom to my children that my mother is to my sisters and me.
Where will all the proceeds go and how much have your raised so far?
Gillanders: Right now my mom is in the hospital in Calgary getting treatment and any free time my family has we go up and spend it with mom.
It would be nice for us and all families dealing with cancer to have their loved ones cared for in a cancer treatment room in High River.
To date we surpassed my goal of $10,000 and have raised $11,500. My sisters thought I was crazy setting my goal at $10,000 and to be honest so did I.
The support from friends and family has been amazing. On Nov. 30, when the guys are shaving off their Movember moustaches, I will be shaving my head.
It’s only hair, it will grow back.
This is a small thing I can to raise awareness and money in hopes that others going through what we are can stay closer to home. High River is an amazing community and I am so proud to have been born and raised here.
The fact I have surpassed my goal in such a short amount of time is a testament to how amazing this town is.
How can people donate to your cause?
Gillanders: I have set up a page on gofundme/movemberheadshave.com You can also donate directly to High River District Health Care by going to their site www.canadahelps.org.People can also donate after Nov. 30.
Are you the only one in your family shaving her head?
Gillanders: I am the baby in my family. My older sister Sharon is shaving her head along with me and my other sister Crystal will be cutting eight inches off of her hair and donating it.
My mom’s sisters Bev and Betty are also raising funds and shaving their heads. My amazing hair dresser Cortney Faubert is donating her services on Nov. 30.
It will be an emotional day for all involved.
My mom will be doing the first cut.
I am sure there will not be a dry eye in house.
I am so lucky to have an amazing husband who loves me no matter what, and if I look half as beautiful as my mom did when she shaved her head I will be thankful. I will be rocking new hats.
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