Tara is a 44 year old mother, spouse, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, friend, co-worker and CANCER SURVIVOR. She is engaged to the love of her life (Jenn), a dedicated mother to their almost three year old son (Chayce), and she needs our help.
17 years ago Tara was diagnosed with Carcinosarcoma – a rare and aggressive form of cancer. At the age of 27 most people are just beginning to live their adult life, and Tara was beginning to go to battle and fight for hers. When she received her diagnosis she was given a 5% survival rate. The odds were stacked against her but Tara chose to fight, and she fought hard. Despite lengthy hospital stays, various surgeries and intense radiation, she never let the darkest of days and lowest of lows overshadow her courage and positivity. In March of 2004 she got the news she had been praying for - she was cancer free. She had been given a second chance at life and was determined to live every second to the fullest, not taking any moment or opportunity for granted.
Fast forward 16 years later, and Tara had done exactly that. One thing she explored was her love of travelling. During these travels she made sure to give back to those in need, especially children. Kids have always held a special place in Tara’s heart. Notably, two of her favorite trips were to Africa and Honduras, her most treasured memories are visiting the children in the villages; seeing their abundance of joy and watching them appreciate the beauty and simplicity in life spoke to Tara’s heart.
Tara was living the life she had dreamed of; 7 years prior she had met her soulmate Jenn and together they had created a family of their own. Most importantly, she became a mom. Being a mom is something Tara never thought she would experience due to her previous cancer treatments, but Tara doesn’t let cancer get in the way of making her dreams come true.
Sunday, October 18, 2020 was a regular, relaxing, football Sunday – Tara’s favorite. In mid-September Tara told us, “Every single Sunday is football Sunday! My door is open – we will be here, don’t ask. Just text and tell me you’re coming so I make sure there is enough food for all of us”, and the plans for this Sunday were to be exactly that. Later that afternoon she had an onset of stomach cramps so the day ended a bit shorter than usual. The past few weeks she had been cramping on and off, and although she had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the following day, nothing was deemed to be a serious concern. The symptoms she had been experiencing were relevant to IBS – a diagnosis she had received a few years earlier.
As the evening went on, Tara’s stomach cramps turned into severe immobilizing pain that warranted a trip to the emergency room. Still, no one could have imagined that by the end of the night Tara and her family’s life would be completely changed.
A CT scan was conducted to determine the cause of the severe abdominal pain. The results were devastating and confirmed the worst. 6,072 days after being told she had beat the odds and was finally cancer free, she found herself back in this unimaginable nightmare.
Tara has been diagnosed with a rare spindle cell sarcoma. It is present in her liver, bowels, stomach and abdomen area. There is no definite cause for this type of tumor, however it can sometimes occur as a result of previous radiation treatments. Thus, the treatment believed to have aided in Tara having a second chance at life 16 years ago, could now be the cause of her having to fight for her life again.
The most common treatment for this form of cancer is surgery to remove the tumor. This is not possible for Tara as the tumor is too large and has metastasized to other organs. At this point the most viable treatment is chemotherapy, but due to the large amount of damage that is currently present in the liver, she is only able to undergo partial chemotherapy treatments. Other treatment options are being explored, but as of now there has been no comparable alternative offered to her.
Statistically, the chances for a full recovery are slim, but Tara is a fighter and for the second time, she is going to fight. She has proven the statistics wouldn't get in her way before, and now she is going to do it again. This time her focus is not only on doing this for her, but also for her family.
Tara has a full team of supporters alongside her and we know the financial impact this journey will have on their family is staggering. We need to keep them as energized and positive as possible and alleviate the everyday stress they are facing as best as we can. Any donations received will go directly to the family to be put towards any medical costs incurred, as well as offset the cost of daily living. We do not want them worrying about anything they don’t need to. Their main focus right now needs to be Tara getting the care she needs, by any means necessary.
Despite the devastation that has come, Tara is willing to give it her all. She is an incredibly strong and resilient woman, but now more than ever she needs your prayers, love and support. This, coupled with the medical care being provided to her, the positive mindset and her willingness to persevere, Tara will beat the odds. She has shown us all once before that cancer doesn’t stand a chance. Tara and Jenn are the first people to offer help to someone else, and the last people to ask for it. That is why I am asking you, to please help Tara and her family throughout this journey. Together we can all help Tara tackle cancer!
- Dwayne MacDougall
- Mandy Bastien
- Rory Farnan
- Chad and Jill Wittig