Young family battles cancer

This is my sister in law Kelly Paget and the love of her life Mark Phillips.

Kelly and Mark have been living through a year that brings new meaning to the phrase “when it rains it pours.” From a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer to a house flood, septic system failure and everything in between, it has been one setback after another for this sweet young family.

Kelly (31) baby Georgie and Mark (30) live in Fenwick, Ontario. This is their story...

Last March, Kelly and Mark gave birth to their very first child, a beautiful baby girl named Georgie. A couple weeks later, one day after Kelly’s 31st birthday, they would receive devastating news. Kelly was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer; triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer. Kelly was to start chemotherapy immediately. At a time when most first time parents are juggling with sleep deprivation and the needs of a newborn baby, Kelly and Mark were lunged into a world of night sweats, bed ridden sickness and the ever looming threat of a terminal illness. But they are fighters and Kelly dealt with this the way she deals with everything. She rolled up her sleeves and dove in head on, calm and collected but mission oriented; she was going to fight this with everything she had! Over the next few months, Kelly would undergo 8 rounds of chemo, a radical modified mastectomy and 25 rounds of radiation. For any of us who encountered Kelly and Mark during this time, you wouldn't have known they had the weight of the world on their shoulders. They were always smiling and trying to enjoy the milestones of their new baby. They have done an amazing job keeping a level of normalcy for Georgie and their success is evident when you meet this amazing little happy baby! Their beautiful little girl lights up the room with her presence.

If things weren't stressful enough they were hit with another blow. In the middle of Kelly's treatment, one night when getting up to feed Georgie they were greeted with ankle deep water in the kitchen; their house had flooded! They would later discover that in addition to the kitchen having to be ripped out, the basement was also destroyed. Overall, the damage was so extensive that Kelly and Mark were forced to pack the baby up and move in with her parents for the next 3.5 months while Kelly continued her treatment. The nightmare continued during the renovation process, as they would learn that outdated building materials in the ceiling and the entire septic system would have to be replaced.

Mark spent the majority of his 4 months parental leave working tirelessly on the house trying to get it to a point that was safe for Kelly and Georgie's return, and with the help of some family and friends they were able to return home just before Christmas. Unfortunately Kelly's health had deteriorated over this time, so much so they were forced to renovate the house to turn the dining room into their bedroom, as she could no longer climb stairs due to the many side effects of the treatment.

Despite recently undergoing additional forms of chemotherapy and radiation, Kelly's cancer has now spread into her liver, skin and lymph nodes. Given Kelly's resistance to chemo, treatment is now limited to trials, which may or may not be an option depending on timing and eligibility.

 At this point, considering her treatment options, Kelly has limited time with a prognosis of a year or less. It is important to keep in mind that regardless of that prognosis, everyone is still hopeful that a trial will work. Miracles can and do happen. That being said, as I am sure anyone reading this can appreciate, this is a very difficult time for Kelly and her family. Kelly’s wish is to spend as much time as she can with her beautiful family.

Both Kelly and Mark are unable to work and no longer have enough money to pay the mortgage on the house. As a result, they need to complete the flood repairs and sell the house ASAP.

As Kelly’s health continues to decline, her family needs to be there to support her and focus on her health rather than help with home repairs. With this in mind, they desperately need to hire contractors to complete the jobs so the house is ready to sell. The decision to sell is a must, because even if they could meet the mortgage and the costs to run this house right now, it will be too large for Mark to run on his own with Georgie in the long run. Their financial resources have been completely exhausted given the house repairs; additional medical costs associated with Kelly’s care and reduced income. This is where we can come in!!

We are reaching out to everyone and anyone that can help ...let's help two of the kindest, most generous people out there...let's help Kelly and Mark embrace the time they have left together with Georgie without having the added stress of how to pay the bills or how to repair their house. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read their story and for doing what you can to help. Please note: For those of you who want to help but dont have a credit card or would prefer not to use one, email transfers can also be sent to [email redacted] Mark and Kelly will continue to post updates on the status of the house and Kelly’s health.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead


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